Malawi President Peter Mutharika has vowed to prosecute corrupt people regardless of their status and pledged to pursues the Capital Hill cash-gate scandal and bring justice without shielding any “master”.
Mutharika in his inauguration speech bat Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Monday said his government would fight corruption in all its forms with commitment and vigour.
“Fellow Malawians, in the last 12 months or so, there were a number of crimes committed against the State for example the infamous cashgate scandal,” noted Mutharika, a law professor aged 74.
In the speech which was broadcast live on State radio MBC and private station Zodiak – also streaming online- the President said the cashgate investigations which his predecessor Joyce Banda started “will be pursued and concluded justly.”
Said Mutharika: “Malawians are waiting to know who did what. Malawians need their plundered resources paid back. Malawians need justice delivered and no one should blackmail the state by saying this is witch-hunting.”
He said his government will make sure to press ahead with tracking down culprits in the Cashgate scandal which the noted has soiled the country’s reputation.
President Mutharika said he swore to defend and protect the Constitution of Malawi and uphold the rule of law, saying he will live according to the oath.
“But let me make one thing clear. The law must be left alone to do its work whenever crime is committed. We should never again arrest anyone and hunt for the crime later. We should never again punish those we don’t like because they hold a political view different from ours. The age of using state instruments of justice to deal with our political opponents is gone. Let us not confuse the pursuit of justice with political vendettas,” he said.
President Mutharika said the Police, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Directorate of Public Prosecution and other security and law enforcement agencies are now “free to operate independently but, professionally.”
He said: “We will fully arm the Anti-Corruption Bureau with human and financial capacity to do its job without the interference of the executive.”
The Malawi leader warned that he will pursue a zero-tolerance stance to corruption even on his cabinet ministers.
“In service to the nation, I will not tolerate one day more if a Cabinet Minister or civil servant takes what does not belong to them. Next time you see a cabinet minister arrested, do not be surprised. My cabinet shall live up to this principle of being accountable to the people,” he said.
Mutharika stressed that wrongful self-enrichment will have no place in his government.
“I want this message to be very clear even before I appoint my cabinet. If what anyone wants is to become rich instead of serving Malawians, then do not come into my cabinet. When I appoint you, please just say ‘No’! Today, I hereby draw a red line against corruption, theft of public funds, and I am prepared to draw this red line with my blood,” said the Head of State.
Mutharika said he has launched a government that must be accountable to the people.
“The central principle of democracy is that everyone must be accountable to someone else. The rule of law follows to ensure that we are all accountable to the people and the law,” he said.
Mutharika defeated Banda, but inherited a prodigious burden from her and his late brother Bingu, whom she replaced in the presidency when he died in office in 2012.
The new president’s first task is to try to convince donors, led by Britain, that they can safely resume their aid programmes.
The donors have funded 40% of Malawi’s budget, but much of the support is frozen due to the “Cashgate” corruption scandal and arguments about governance issues which became worse under Bingu Muthariku’s administration.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :