A few questions: Muckraking on Malawi Pres Mutharika’s declared wealth

If it is necessary sometimes to lie to others, it is always despicable to lie to oneself” -W. Somerset Maugham

Does anyone out there really believe Prof. Peter Arthur Mutharika was a billionaire in any currency before he became His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi?

President Mutharika: Billionaire

President Mutharika: Billionaire

Unless, of course, he or his aides were calculating his money in the defunct ZimDollars!

I honestly expect Peter himself to be the first to correct this insult on Malawians’ intelligence because there was definitely a terrible calculation faux pas on Peter’s Assets Declaration forms.

Look, Chris Tukula does not need to fly to Washington DC to verify that something was terribly wrong with Peter’s declaration papers. Even dons at Ivy League universities in the States do not earn the ‘celebrity’ figures that Peter allegedly left idle in some account somewhere in the US.

Ok, ok, someone would say Peter’s earnings ran for over 40 years and were not limited from his humble university salary. True that, he might have indeed been minting money on the side from academic papers or books he published, consultancies or speaking tours.

But, if truth be told, the amount of royalty one earns from publications or fees from speaking tours comes from name-recognition. With due respect, Peter had no name, as it were, before he became president to earn top dollar from his publications or speaking circuits, if any.

Besides, it was not like Peter was in the business of just keeping his money waiting to show it to one Chris Tukula when he becomes president. He was using his money to raise a family – maintain a wife, raise four kids, put them through high school and college.

He also said he bought a house and still maintains it in the US. And after long hours pumping constitutional law into students, he needed his favourite cigar and a tot or two of whiskey to loosen up his tired brain. All these definitely needed money.

So how could he afford to have idle money sitting pretty in some account in the US? A normal person earns and uses money. His eccentric brother-economist would have advised him that idle money is actually expensive for you still have to pay taxes on it!

So call me a cynic but I need some serious convincing to believe the buffoonery in someone who had billions of idle money – be they dominated in kwacha or otherwise stuck in some dormant account somewhere in the US – to embarrass themselves into grabbing a grossly under-valued Malawi Housing Corporation hovel.

Remember that run-down house, by his own description, Peter clung to in Nyambadwe even when it was exposed that the under K6 million he forked out for it was less than even a third of its conservative value?

And, by the way, he bought the house at the give-away K6 million and today he declares its value at only K7 million. How? In a prime area like Nyambadwe and after he pulled down the original structure and put up a better one, he must be the first one to have a property that does not appreciate in value. Or is he trying to crookedly keep in line with the undervaluation he made when he robbed it from MHC?

In fact if Peter were indeed a silent billionaire and was honestly tricked into buying that house in that prime area at less than a third its real value, he should have apologised to his poverty-stricken countrymen, claimed his payment back and bought land somewhere and put up a mansion of his choice.

But, no; the old professor selfishly and fiercely fought to hang on to it, even saying he grudgingly paid the less than K6 million because the house should have gone for much less. Now, that does not sound like someone who has a cool billion sitting untouched somewhere!

I really do not understand the hedonistic excitement of someone leading a globally-certified poor country to flaunt imaginary wealth. If I were Peter and I really had such obscene wealth stashed somewhere, I would be embarrassed to lead a country where spending a dollar a day is an impossible dream for over two-thirds of its population.

Has Peter not read about the life of the retired Uruguayan leader Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica?

I know teachers the world over, be they university professors or primary school ones, are not the best paid professionals. Peter needed to win some rotary to afford to have such idle money even if he taught at a Washington college for over 40 years.

By the way, I have noticed Peter is increasingly becoming parsimonious with the truth nowadays. For example, he claims that when he took a sabbatical from his college to advise his brother-president on constitutional matters he did it gratis? Really?

If this were true one would think he was sustaining himself on his US money. How come then both his US and local bank accounts became fatter, if not idle, over the years when he has just been a cabinet minister for less than five years and a president for less than a year? What illegal business was he involved in? Surely for one to work for free and still maintain a fat bank balance one must be into smuggling ivory to the Far East or one must be buddies with Mexican drug lords.

By the way, if Peter were indeed frugal in how he manages his wealth there was no way he could have been busy grabbing MHC houses in Blantyre or mayoral ones in Lilongwe. Indeed he could not have allowed his wife to threaten the National Aids Commission into irregularly funding the launch of her private trust.

And have you forgotten how he was embarrassed into grudgingly putting off an 80 percent pay hike? That behaviour is not consistent with someone who has billions he has nothing to do with sitting idle somewhere in the US.

Oh, one more thing: if he gave up his Green Card as a sign of undivided patriotism why does he not close his US accounts and transfer his billions here? Does he not have confidence in our good old kwacha?

I know some people will say it is not only Peter whose assets have been published. Does it mean the other leaders’ declarations have no issues?

The answer is simple: Peter is our current leader and has to lead by example. If his declarations leave a lot to be desired and he gets away with it, what moral ground will Chris Tukula and his team stand on to go after the others?

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Kumbukani
Guest
Now that the statehouse has started making amendments to APM’s declaration, what will the dunderheads (who were saying that those of us who were questioning his declarations were jelousy)say? They will again sing the song of supportig APM that it was a mistake? Stupid bootlickers!! For me even the face saver of claiming that people did not read properly does not make sense! It is clear they are trying to reduce the figure knowing quite well that the truth will catch up with him. The lame excuse they are presenting and the new claimed figure are just another cause for… Read more »
VYOTO
Guest
NOW WE ARE TOLD THE $8 MILLIOM WAS MEANT TO BE $2 MILLION,THANKS TO CRITICAL MINDS OF THE RAPHAEL TENTHANI TYPE.MALAWI NEED MORE OF THE TENTHANI’S IN OUR SOCIETY OTHERWISE SOME OF THESE THIEVES WILL BE LIVING IN A FREE WORLD.IF WE ARE TO GO DEEPER WE CAN DISCOVER THAT ALL THE CASH THAT THE LEARNED PROFESSOR PETER MUTHALIKA HAS DECLARED MAY BE OUR TAX MONEY THAT HIS LATE BROTHER STOLE FROM US.THAT IS WHY SOME OF US WERE AGAINST THE MUTHALIKA POLITICAL DYNASTY WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY CAPABLE AND TRUST WORTHY MALAWIANS WHO DERVE TO BE TRANSPARENT AND… Read more »
cleo bonny
Guest

My name is Cleo Bonny. Google it optionally. I have read all your comments. And you friends are brilliant. However I’m still curious to read more. How much does a lecturer in Malawian university earn these days? By Cleo Bonny Reading Ambassador. Thank you

Bibida Mutu
Guest
Which Malawians are being insulted by seeking clarification from this jealous guy, the hater of Muthalikas? Does it mean APM all along has been lecturing only? Was he not practicing his law profession? If our local lawyers look dazzled in glory of cash what more with APM who had been practicing abroad? I know you disgruntled PP supporters all what you have to do now are poking fun in APM’s nose. There is nothing like DPP supporters here but we have to write things basing on facts. The law states that they have to declare their assets full stop! What… Read more »
Malawian
Guest

This article is based on assumptions, hallucinations, tribalism and jealous instead of facts. Remember it is said that assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups. Therefore the author of this article and all your supporters can you give us facts to counter Peter’s estimation of his wealth. Otherwise as it stand it is a worthless, salt-less and meaningless article. I rest my case.

Kadauluka Kadzatera
Guest
A Chingolophiyo mwangowonetseratu kuti you are not learned enough to understand the declarations that Mutharika made. The example you are giving of Mulli having grown from banana selling to a business empire is not an applicable analogy. You are either a blind follower of Peter or you are too dull to follow things. If you go through the declarations of Peter, you will not hear of business interests that were or are generating money for him. He declared very many things (if not too many!) whose financing was from his pensions and one wonders if this is indeed genuine. The… Read more »
pointex namandwa
Guest
What Raphael Tenthani has written is without basis. First of all, having $8 million in a foreign bank account is not something that should raise eyebrows. Moreso for somebody who has been in living in the US for more than 40 years working and earning dollars. There are people who do petty jobs in the UK and SA [kuseta anthu ndi kugulitsa mafuta pa filling station] but come to Malawi with millions of pounds/rand and property worth millions as well. Besides that, have we also considered that the dollars seem to be more in kwacha terms because our local unit… Read more »
Wanga ndi yemweyo
Guest
Koma a Chingolopiyo ndiye mwalemba! The unfprtunate part of it is that you have missed the whole point . My unsolicited advice to you is, read Raphael Tenthani’s article again (the whole of it!), withdraw your comment, and start all over again. Maybe then you will be able to present a comment that will make sense in relation to the article. Don’t just read the first few paragraphs and then rush to comment. The issue here is not about who you support on the political scene. It is about the truth, regardless of who is concerned. Anyway, keep it up… Read more »
Atate with Kamphongo wa kwa Masikini
Guest
Atate with Kamphongo wa kwa Masikini

Tenthani why do you think with your bottoms? Use your head please.

Yokwiya
Guest
If our president is as rich as he declared why can he not invest in Malawi. Why keep money abroad yet we want to woo foreigners to invest here? We are failing to construct a hotel in the lake region and we want foreigners to do it for us. Malawians lets wake up. These politicians are there to milk us. They are taking the dollars out at the expense of our development. Look at mama Joice. Where is she? She has also amassed money that she is spending on her gallivanting escapades. The people who can develop our country are… Read more »

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