‘Yes’ Malawi corruption getting worse, President Mutharika admits

Malawian President Peter  Mutharika  has responded to the claim by Britain’s  High Commissioner Michael Nevin that  corruption in his country is “worsening” by admitting that it is.

President Peter Mutharika speaks to people at Ntcheu Bus depot: Corruption seen to be worsening

President Peter Mutharika speaks to people at Ntcheu Bus depot: Corruption seen to be worsening

In a newspaper interview, Nevin who leaves the country at the end of a four-year tour of duty, warned that rule of law could be permanently undermined by failure to arrest those who break the law.

Malawi government official spokesperson and Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati rejected the perception that Malawi’s corruption is worsening.

But Mutharika  conceded that the country has become significantly more corrupt when he addressed a whistle-stop political at Ntcheu rally on his way from Blantyre to Lilongwe.

He said corruption and fraud continue to affect the country’s development efforts.

“Thirty per cent of donor money goes into the drain through corruption and fraud practices by both government and civil society organizations and we cannot develop with such undesirable practices,” he said.

Basically, Mutharika agreed with  Nevin that corruption is getting worse and vowed to root out the vice.

He reiterated his call for the spirit of hard work, integrity, patriotism, unity and honesty.

It is estimated that about 35% of government funds have been stolen over the past decade in systematic looting of public coffers by civil servants, private contractors and politicians, a scandal christened ‘Cashgate’.

Malawians have always known that corruption is rife in the country. But the sheer size of the Cashgate scandal, both in terms of the amount and the wide number of people involved, has shown how deeply rooted the problem is.

The University of Malawi’s Blessings Chinsinga recently pointed out that: “Efforts to root out corruption do not stick because the existing institutional milieu makes it almost impossible to introduce changes that can effectively stamp out corruption.”

The observation is instructive in that Cashgate  spans two political administrations. Malawi was led by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004 and the scandal unravelled on the watch of Joyce Banda in 2013.

Fertile ground for corruption

A number of factors contribute to the current state of affairs.

There is no clear distinction between a party in power and government activities in Malawi, unlike in established democracies. In Malawi, the party in power is the de facto government.

In Malawi, a party in power calls itself boma (a government). Ordinary Malawians look at abuse of state resources by those in power as acceptable. It is almost impossible to tell a party in power from the government.

Even more serious is the fact that political parties in Malawi are not mandated to declare their sources of funding. This breeds corruption and fosters abuse of public resources.

Another contributing factor is that after 21 years of multiparty democracy, governance in Malawi remains heavily centralised. The central government has been reluctant to relinquish some of its powers. The President makes even the smallest of decisions and undertakes mundane tasks that should be reserved for line ministries. This encourages a system of patronage.

Lastly, government contracts, tenders and board memberships all go to sympathisers of the party in power and not necessarily to the best bidder or the most competent applicant. Government sympathisers or ruling party members get contracts regardless of their levels of competence.

This unfairly benefits the incumbents and weakens opposition parties. Businesspeople are afraid of funding opposition parties because they could lose state contracts and other business opportunities.

Scale and depth of corruption exposed

Malawians have always known that corruption is rife in the country. But the sheer size of the Cashgate scandal, both in terms of the amount and the wide number of people involved, has shown how deeply rooted the problem is.

The involvement of the country’s political class in the scandal is in stark contradiction to their penchant for standing on political campaign podiums promising to fight corruption with all their might.

There is an unwritten rule in Malawi that successful businesspeople align themselves with the governing party in order to protect their property and gain more contracts.

Malawi is still learning to cope without support from donors and the jury is still out on whether it has learnt anything from its biggest scandal. A recent article in African Arguments underlines the hopeless feeling that Cashgate has left among most Malawians:

“Malawi’s self-enriching officials need to know they will be judged not just by an imperfect judicial system, but by generation upon future generation of their compatriots.

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34 thoughts on “‘Yes’ Malawi corruption getting worse, President Mutharika admits”

  1. Nabetha says:

    Thank you Mr president its only a problem acknowledged that we can attempt to solve!! Thank you for removing the politicking mask for once. If we can have five cabinet ministers thinking like this we are on our way to deliverance from this cancer.

  2. Magede Si Wandale (Is He Still Alive) says:

    Koma masiku ano bwanji ma comment akuchepa pa forum ino. Only 20 comments on an important issue like this. Previously this could have had in excess of 100 opinions.

    I am studying this trend and trying to establish if is the case of Nyasa Times kuyambakutha ngati makatani or Bwampini’s support waning.

    Where is team Magede Si Wandale to come and defend their beloved president APM.

  3. The Patriot says:

    Akweni mukamva mukuti bwanji? Manyazi bwanji? Just yesterday a certain loud mouth was in town disputing the observation by the outgoing ambassador of the UK to Malawi. And today, the big man himself, the Professor has vehemently agreed with Mr Nevin about the worsening corruption in our beloved country. This is a proof beyond rsasonable doubt that Akweni is a pathological liar!

  4. Mwananyanian says:

    Koma abale (ladies and gentlemen), am I missing something so stark according to most of the comments; or am I simply illiterate?
    I suppose most comments are made in good faith, but I really see no clear contradiction or inconsistency between what was said by the President and by Ms Kaliati, separately.
    Nevin said corruption is getting worse in this country, but he gave NO evidence. Ms Kaliati, like everyone else, admits there is widespread and unacceptable level of corruption: She just DID NOT agree with Nevin that corruption is getting worse – without Nevin giving any metrics. And APM DID NOT say corruption is getting worse. He mentioned 30%, a statistic long accepted, as the corruptly diversion factor. Nothing new here – but still, UNACCEPTABLE.
    Then the reporter throws in a “35%” figure relating to Cashgate, casually I must say, right above “Fertile ground for corruption” section.
    Then readers (or are they really?) chastise APM and Ms Kaliati both for admitting the fact that corruption exists. But it’s anybody’s conjecture if it is getting worse.
    There is no easy way to fight corruption in poor countries, like Malawi, Kenya and Ghana; not even in no so poor countries like China and India. Even the rich countries, they have NOT eliminated corruption. The resources corrupted are big money – many times Malawi’s GDP – and may involve but fewer individuals. Still, it is big money. And they haven’t eliminated, and do not intend to eliminate corruption. It is a human tendency from greed etc.
    Nobody in their right mind, except for the thieves themselves, can defend corruption here. And nobody is.
    And so, this fight is a long term project, no less. And patience is a virtue in this regard. We are in this together, abale.

    1. Mathanyula says:

      Hahaha Mr Man school me on this one.. Widespread and getting worse is there a difference?

  5. PATRIOT says:

    PETER,unless you don’t comprehend the wording,”HIGHLY EDUCATED”,please revisit it and you will find that,Peter’s education has not resonated with his poor leadership.Bakili Muluzi was unlettered so to speak,but he led the nation with deligence and sense of patriotism.He had his own shortcomings,but not as worse as Mathanyula’s,who will go down in history as worst President in line with rogue Hastings Banda.Peter,come to your real self!!!

  6. Careless Police says:

    Thank you Mr President for admitting a problem. Next how do you deal with the problem. Arrest these thugs some have clear evidence. Just arrest them. If you do others will learn a lesson and stop. It is getting worse because all DPP governments till your admission now have been denying that there is no corruption. Thus this habit has accelerated even during PP era !

    If you start arresting wrong doers even in your party things will change just like that we will vote for you en mass but now at this pace I can’t .

  7. Winston Msowoya says:

    Finally,the King of corruption has succumbed to his own evils.Step down forthwith,you have betrayed the trust of your sleeping voters.What do local chiefs have,to involve in corruption? Malawians,it is high time we ignore voting tribalistically or Mwana wa kwathu,this is the ramification.As long as we don’t ditch this uncivilized tendency,we shall continue to live in the cacoon of self-deception.You vote for a qualified Chewa,you have voted for a Malawian,you vote for a capable Lomwe,you have voted for a Malawian and if you voted for the hated Hinya,you have voted for a Malawian,what is a problem there? This mishap,effectively involves everyone of us,not only the so-called Hinyas.I wonder why is Mathanyula is sticking to such useless embeciles as prostitute Kaliati while we have down to earth brilliant Malawians who can do the job intelligently.Muthalika and his gang of mafia,have disappointingly failed to rule and the more they are in power,the more our nation slides to quandary.I hope we have learnt a vivid lesson and we shall keep in our active minds when we go to vote in 2019.

  8. Sowazi says:

    My friend Emeneka wayowoya makola. Walasa nyani tchende.

  9. VYOTO says:

    THE LEADER HAS OBJECTIVELY SPOKEN WITH MATURITY THIS TIME AROUND AND SHAMED THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON, MADAM KALIATI AND THOSE OF YOU WHO BLINDLY CRITICIZED THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONERS STATEMENT ON HIGH LEVELS OF CORRUPTION IN MALAWI.HOWEVER, LET THE PRESIDENT WALK HIS TALK BY REPLACING THE WEAK HEAD OF ACB, MR KONDOWE, WITH A STRONG CHARACTER WHO CANNOT BE EASILY INFLUENCED BY THE POLITICIANS,SOMEONE WHO CAN NOT BE EASILY APPROACHABLE BY THE DAUSI’S,CABINET MINISTERS AND THE LIKE.

    LET GOVERNMENT ALSO PROVIDE ADEQUATE FUNDING TO NAO AND ACB TO CONDUCTIVE OBJECTIVE AND INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS IN ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS INCLUDING EMBASSIES.LET GOVERNMENT STRENGTHEN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND PROCUREMENT CONTROL PROCEDURES BY ENFORCING THE AVAILABLE CONTROLS.

    LET GOVERNMENT PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT POSITIONS WITHOUT LOMWELIZATION POLICY IN MIND IN PARTICULAR CONTROLLING OFFICERS.

    CORRUPTION CANNOT BE FOUGHT WITH THE LIKES OF KAMPHASA’S IN KEY POSITIONS.THE CURRENT CHIEF SECRETARY, MR MANGANI HAS SOMEHOW DEMONSTRATED THAT HE IS AN EXAMPLE OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT POSITIONS.

    AS PART OF WALKING THE TALK ON FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION, MALAWIANS ARE WAITING FOR THE OUT COMES ON THE FILES THAT AUDITOR GENERAL SUBMITTED TO ACB MORE THAN A MONTH NOW ON THE DPP S SEVEN ROTTEN MINISTERS.THERE IS A GREAT RISK THAT THE SEVEN ROTTEN MINISTERS WILL OR HAVE ALREADY CONTAMINATED OTHERS IN THE GOVERNMENT SYSTEM? DO WE HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL DPP MINISTERS START SHOOTING EACH OTHER, THE KASAMBARA WAY?????????NO NO NO!

    LASTLY PRESIDENTIAL THREATS TO MALAWIANS WHO ARE EXPOSING CORRUPT MINISTERS MUST STOP BECAUSE THAT IS BACKWARD WAY OF FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN A WHOLESOME MANNER.

  10. avide says:

    “…..scandal christened cashgate”. Reporter spare Christ The Holy One from your vocabulary when writing about theft of public funds. Dont abuse the word “chritening” in your article. u can use the words, ‘named or called or popularly known as…etc. GIVE CHRIST THE GLORY HE DESERVES

  11. Diondro says:

    Now the President is talking. 101 % of the Boma people are abusing their positions as we speak/write. If you were to investistigate, u will find that they are all building mansions and cannot explain the source of income. It’s shocking and happening on the ground. The country is going backwards coz of this killer disease called corruption.
    Please cash gate but build us decent schools for our kids. Decent hospitals and we’ll equipped with medicine.
    Descent roads. All we need is decent life for all not for a handful.
    You are not in those position to abuse but to help us.

    Please hear the cry of Malawi.
    People are dying who shouldn’t.
    Please help Malawi.
    Please Bwanas, slow down, look where this once beautiful country is going.
    The Country is chocking and crying for help in a weak voice.
    Help! Help ! Help! Is someone hearing mother Malawi ? HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP!

  12. Chimunthu says:

    Patricia Kaliati would swear that black is white to defend APM and the DPP government. Nothing she says is of value or worth listening to. She is ignorant and clueless and needs to go back to school.

    1. Buyelekhaya says:

      I understand she’s is a holder of a degree in Finance and Investment Analysis. May be she should be deployed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry! KKKKKK

    2. Denesio Bisika says:

      Kaliati is a fool she said is no curry prion in Malawi now her president admit that it is true now Kaliati tell us

  13. Kenkkk says:

    Now you are talking Peter. Thank you very much for admitting that corruption is still going on. That is the spirit and you should now act against corrupt people in your party and others in the country.

    Shame to your fellow dpp bootlickers who were castigating Nevin for speaking the truth. Now your head is admitting it.

  14. The Analyst says:

    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O
    Kaliati is simply a package of shame!
    . . . Truth is, in any normal country, Kaliati can never be a minister of anything; coz she lacks not only manners, but also wisdom or intelligence and common sense.
    . . . But since Malawians often mistake talkative people for intelligence or wise or able people, its not surprising that she has been a minister for too long to even remember how long.
    . . . Otherwise, its embarrassing to want to save your boss by telling lies, and have the boss dismiss your lies.
    …………………………………………………………………………………..
    This said, APM’s admission does not make him any different from these street and fly-by-night ministers.
    . . . You see, knowing that your house is burning and doing nothing about it; has the same effect as not knowing that your house is on fire. Corollary, if APM’s just acknowledges that corruption has worsened and continues to do nothing about it (as he does); is no different from not admitting that corruption has worsened (as did Kaliati).
    . . . Thus, APM can do great justice to this country by looking as his acknowledgement as a step towards confronting the vice practically. Otherwise, he has thus far, crystal-clearly demontarated to be the most disinterested participant in this topic of curbing corruption; and this, is not helping anybody.
    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O

  15. Fisi Nicholas Harry says:

    These are corrupt people. The best the international community can do to help us is to block them traveling abroad.

    There should be a travel ban to all cabinet ministers in this report until they prove their innocence before a court of law.

    We urge foreign governments to intervene. A girl child in Nsanje has no education because of this inhuman corruption, resulting in her being an easy target for sexual molestation – disguised as traditions.

  16. Eugene says:

    Just step down Bwampini you Midnight Six thief

  17. ngalamayi says:

    This could be a turning point: if the president puts his actions where his words are, maybe Malawi can turn a corner and move towards a better place. But that must start with the 7 ministers, rooting out corruption from the very top and moving down through the civil service, police… The president should watch Magufuli closely: he IS bettering the life of his people. Why should Nevin break UK laws to ‘repatriate’ Malawi’s missing funds, if the UK is where they are, when the Malawi government doesn’t even investigate?

  18. Central says:

    I got very angry to hear the president telling chiefs at Phalula in Ntcheu to refrain from corruption when there is literally no action from his office these chiefs can learn from!

    Sincerely everybody is now aware the presidency is shielding corrupt people! As such I believe no sane local person can take what the president is saying because the involvement of his cabinet and friends for instance in the scandals that he very well knows and shields is indeed in stark contradiction to the president’s penchant for standing on political podium as he did in Ntcheu because people have all the evidence that there is nothing he is doing other than shielding wrong doers. Sincerely what message is government sending to chiefs on the alleged corrupt 7 ministers, those owning K6.1 billion MSB toxins loans, those who plundered K400 million World Bank money, those who got K1.6 billion Sterling MSB loan etc etc. So far what has the president done on these and many other issues!!

    Please don’t take Malawians for fools!! Mr president stop the nonsense!! Don’t give us a shirt you cann’t put on!! Your actions of tolerating corruption means you love it, and is in itself an encouragement to many !!

  19. UDF says:

    APM agreeing with Nevin yet Patricia is opposing Nevin this means Patricia is opposing his boss

  20. peter says:

    This man will go down in our history books as a highly educated but shamelessly clueless president Malawi has ever have! There is great discrepancy between his academic achievements and his practical achievements as a leader of a democratic Malawi.

  21. Vyaluta says:

    MBC has to be close today waste of tax payers money stupid reporting

    1. Achimidzimidzi says:

      I totally agree with you. MBC TV must be the worst TV station ever existed in the world. I noted the following when I watched MBC TV news a few days ago:
      -the news and reports are mostly exaggerated.
      -The presenters are not confident in front of a camera. You may mistaken them to a statue
      -They do a lot of editing to come up with a program or news.
      -they personalize everything.

  22. Vyaluta says:

    it means Kaliati Patricia has to resign for her shameful statement

    1. KKKK. Not in Malawi where tribal connections are cementing government structures!

  23. Kaikaga says:

    Zopusa basi,kuteroko mwati ndale zake zikhale zimenezo zomationetsa ngati mukusemphana zolankhula A president ndi Kaliati kungofuna kudziphimba ngati kuti mukuchitapo kanthu?Basi ifeyo tizitchoka nanu khosi kuti mukuyesetsa kuthana ndi corruption?
    Zipanga inuzi tsiku lina zidzakhala poyela ndithu kaya ndi lero kaya mawa koma zidzaonekela ndithu.
    Ndipo zidzakupatsani mantha inu nomwe polimbana ndi chikumbu mtima chanu, pomwe munkadzitcha munthu wa bwino mutavala kolona pofuna kukola mitima ya anhu kuti akuombeleni mmanja.
    Koma poti tsiku limero mwini chilungamo adzakhala pompo, kudzakhala kovuta kuyimika chala mmwamba ndikuvomeleza dzina lanu litatchulidwa ku anthu omwe akuoneka kuti zao zada.
    Ine yanga ndi mantha, ndikamaona anthu omwe akumamwalira chuma chawo chitakhala phee osawapulumutsa,inu ndiye chanu mwachukonza kuti chidzakupulumutseni?
    Kudziunjikila chuma pamene anthu ena akuvutika inuyo ndithu kumtima mbeeee!!
    Malawi!!!!
    Malawi!!!!
    Malawi!!!!
    NDAKUITANA KANGATI????

  24. Gerard mapanga Phiri says:

    Admitting that the corruption is getting worse is the right step to the right direction, rather than brushing off everything.

  25. Tozer Tsono says:

    So, simply put the Mutharika cabinet sees double on corruption. Kaliati sees no corruption. Her boss see corruption. Who does she speak for? According to her, do nothing because there is no corruption. Her boss, His Excellency, President Peter Mutharika sees corruption and is fighting it without the assistance his Hon. Minister Kaliati and whomever she represents. If the cabinet can’t agree on what to say how can they devise effective means to uproot corruption? Kaliati gives the president, her boss, a No Confidence vote on his fight against corruption. The majority of Malawians are suffering from the corrupt ways of few individuals. Violent crime is on the rise because the police lack resources to do their work, thus are committed to their barracks. Malawi is collapsing from the rot introduced by a small number of individuals. To remove corruption, remove the immunity for ministers and the president. Citizens are equal under the law.

  26. Gogodasi says:

    If the President has admitted that corruption in Malawi is rampant why was Kaliati sending tirades to British High commission, Nevin claiming that he had exaggerated the situation? The President is also indirectly agreeing with Kalua about the same and the best thing he can do to save his face is to suspend the 7 rotten Ministers. Being a politician and having a platform (MBC) to voice your views does not mean you should be saying anything before reason. Malawi has 17 million people and all these people are not fooIs and are more intelligent than our current crop of Ministers. Now, is it not a shame to Kaliati when her boss has agreed with Nevin and Kamlepo? Akulu sananame, wamisala anaona nkhondo. Kaliati, Kudontoni and Mchacha must apologise Kamlepo Kalua, otherwise the President must fire them for misleading Malawians with wrong information.

    1. Emeneka says:

      Zitsilu ndamalawi. If you know for sure that corruption is getting worse what have you done about it as citizens? Kumangolankhula popanda kuchitapo kanthu is worse than stealing. Do you know that even a dead person can rule Malawi because its people are dead? Anthu amantha kwambiri. As for Nevin he is just an ugly idiot. UK banks keep a lot of our stolen monies. Most Asians mentioned in cashgate are British citizens. Why cant Nevin work hard to repatriate our money back to Malawi? He cant because our money funds the British economy which pays his salary. The British are just stupid people with an exaggerated ego.

      1. Alfred Minjo says:

        Yowoya chomene nganya! Takumuongani……

    2. May our president also misled them for expressing ignorance of corruption when he addressed pipo in Salima: just thinking

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