It never rains but pours to former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda as calls demanding his dismissal from his position as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president responsible for its Southern Region stronghold, has been sounded.
A fresh call comes from a Blantyre-based political analyst, Vincent Kondowe, who says keeping Chaponda on the position who is answering corruption charges in the court of law is raising questions on the seriousness of the ruling DPP in the fight against corruption in the country.
“You are aware that in July this year the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) arrested Dr Chaponda on allegation that he was involved in the dubious maize purchase from Zambia. And despite the arrest, DPP is still recognizing him as the party’s Vice President for the South which is raising questions on how serious the party is in the fight against corruption.” Kondowe told Radio Islam.
He said being silent on Chaponda is a mockery to principles of governance.
“Here we have got a head of state who has been always maintaining he would strive to fight corruption and here again we have a governing political party which has been always maintaining that it would strive to fight corruption. Keeping someone who is answering corruption charges is an insult to all Malawians and a mockery to governance principles,” Kondowe said.
He however observed that it is high time for DPP to remove Chaponda from the position to send a clear message to Malawians that the party does not condone corruption.
“I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty by the competent court but the party has no option but to fire Chaponda on the position otherwise people may conclude that the party’s leadership knows something hence they are afraid that if fired, Chaponda will spill the beans that he was alone,” he added.
Chaponda is answering three charges of corruptly performing public functions, misuse of public office and possession of foreign currency contrary to section 25A (1), 25B (1) of the Corrupt Practices Act and Regulation 25A(1) of the Exchange Control Regulations Act respectively.
Mzuzu-based political analyst Charles Kajoloweka, who has been one of the vocal citizens against Chaponda in the Zambia maize imports saga, said politically the corruption case against Chaponda “becomes an indelible stamp of corruption on the DPP as a party”.
He said: “So, it is up to the party to redeem itself from this indelible mark of corruption. It should also be a reminder to President [Peter] Mutharika to demonstrate that he means what he says that his government champions zero tolerance of corruption.”
However, Kajoloweka, who is the executive director of Youth and Society (YAS), said Chaponda’s prosecution also gives an opportunity to Mutharika and his party to stamp out corruption.
The former minister, who is Mulanje South West member of Parliament (MP), denies any wrong doing.
He reportedly hired 15 journalists from different media houses to help clean up his image in light of the corruption scandal, known as Maizegate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :