Cashgate: Major dent on JB’s credibility, says University of Malawi political expert

University of Malawi political professor Boniface Dulani has noted that the infamous Capital Hill looting of public money christened as cashgate has been a major dent on the credibility of President Joyce Banda’s government two years it has been in power.

Dulani, who is based at Chancellor College in the eastern city of Zomba was commenting on the findings of survey carried out by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, and National Democratic Institute in 11 districts in the country to gauge citizen perception of key issues and elections.

The survey has revealed that cashgate and the way government handled the matter is a concern to the electorate.

President Banda : Has called cahsgate as a national tragedy and heartbreaking
President Banda : Has called cahsgate as a national tragedy and heartbreaking

“Although so far she has not herself been implicated, the scandal has created, at worst, an impression of a government that is weak and vulnerable to being taken advantage of by corrupt individuals, some of whom have been very close to the presidency,” Dulani is quoted in the Weekend Nationnewspaper commenting on the survey outcome.

“Although the government has tried to portray the scandal as a demonstration of its commitment to fighting corruption, this message has not gotten much traction,” he told the weekly.

Dulani, however, said some opposition parties such as Democratic Progressive Party and United Democratic Front could not make political capital out of the cashgate because they also had major corruption scandals.

“Thus, as much as I think cashgate is going to impact on the elections, I doubt it is going to have such a decisive effect on Joyce Banda’s election chances,” he said.

“On the other hand, the issue of economic stabilisation might work in Joyce Banda’s favour. After a period of economic collapse, her government has managed to stabilise the economy, taking it away from the free-fall of the last months of late Mutharika’s government,” he added.

According to the paper, the  focus-group research was conducted at Chintheche Town in Nkhata Bay, and Mzimba in the Northern Region; Lilongwe Rural, Ntcheu, Salima, Mchinji in the Centre; and Machinga, Balaka Town, Thyolo, Mwanza, Nsanje in the South.

They conducted the public opinion research using quantitative methodology in November 2013 covering four groups of people aged up to 25 and seven groups of above 25 years. There were six males and five females in each group.

Some electorates blame Banda for hiding behind the fact that there were revelations that cashgate started in 2005 and demand vigorous investigation, firings, arrests and repayment of money stolen while others are disappointed with quick releases  through bail of suspects, according to the survey.

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