* Our own bulldozer! Congratulations!
* What you did as Ombudsman let it continue at ACB
Though her appointment as the new Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General is subject to the approval of Parliamentary Public Appointments Committee, the general public is overly satisfied with the choice of Martha Chizuma made by President Lazarus Chakwera.
According to Secretary for Justice and Solicitor General, Reyneck Matemba — himself the immediate past ACB director general — there were 37 individuals who applied for the job from which 10 were shortlisted for the interviews and the best three candidates were chosen.
From the three, President Chakwera has chosen Chizuma, who was the Ombudsman of Malawi where she created a niche as a tough as teak public officer.
Congratulations from the public poured in for her, saying she deserves it with Richard Gondwe describing her as “our own bulldozer”.
Robert White said: “Her determination to fight ills of this world make her exceptional. She has the qualifications and expertize, it’s now up to us Malawians to fully utilize and support her. Game changer.”
Zohra Matundu said: “Uku ndiye kubwera uku (this is the best decision). Lets do this Madam! What you did as the Ombudsman let it continue at ACB! Same way! Changu chake chimodzimodzi (the same vigor as at the Ombudsman. Well deserved — keep up the awesome work! More grace to you.”
Scollastica Kachikwati said: “All thieves take cover! Well deserved appointment, congrats.”
Martin Luwinga appealed to Malawians that Chizuma needs total support for her to clean up the country of corruption, fraud and abuse of office while Patrico Kamtambo said “all the corrupt enterprises have every reason to get worried because they did not see Martha coming”.
MacDonald Chibwe said: “She is the pride of our land and may God give her wisdom and capacity to serve the nation with integrity while Stuart Chirambo advised her to persevere since she has gone into “a highly politicised and protected environment, but I am hopeful she is going to do her best. God be with her.”
“We got this one right!” said Lugede Chiumya “and surely, with support, we could be talking of some level of transformation”.
Edgar Kapiza Bayani said Chizuma raised the bar as Ombudsman and the expectations are high “but surely we trust in your abilities and have all hopes you will match the demands of the office of the Director General of the Anti Corruption Bureau. Count on our goodwill and prayers”.
Ned Wa A Poya said: “Ohoo. Hokoyo, take cover. Her name is Martha Chizuma — woman with a brush, a broom which is reaching every corner. Removing dirty under the carpet. She calls a spade by its name. The definition of integrity. Proud of this daughter of Malawi.”
While Onjezani Kenani — whose ‘CoVID Response Private Citizen’ initiative has been awarded by Great Britain’s Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth — said: “In the last few days, the nation has expressed shock and anger following the release of the audit report that has shown how the K6.2 billion national Covid response funds were abused.
“Perhaps what has shocked Malawians more is not just the plunder itself, since we all have become used to stories of rampant corruption for three decades. Rather, the most frustrating thing is that on 23rd June 2020 — just 10 months ago — millions across the country rose early in the morning to stand on long queues to elect a new leadership.
“We did so because for months we had been told that things would be different; we were promised good governance and that there would be serious attempts to end corruption.
“The audit report, however, has shown that corruption is alive and well, and that there seems to be no serious effort to end it. There is a business-as-usual attitude with no respect to public resources.
“The promissory note we were given is worthless. The promise of hope that we had is now confronted with the grim and sober reality that the fight against corruption appears to remain no more than a mere lip service.
“Malawians want answers on why and how at the peak of the CoVID wave, when their relatives and friends were dying in large numbers and suffering was everywhere, government officials — who were trusted to serve the people — abused the very resources that were desperately needed.
“During this tragic time, Malawians rushed to contribute whatever they could to limit the impact of the CoVID pandemic. I have in mind a man from Dowa, who contributed K1,000 — he said it was the only amount he could manage.
“I recall a woman who donated K75,000 as a way of mourning her brother who had died of CoVID. Malawians scrambled to help one another because they were aware that in the hospitals, there was lack of basic tools and equipment that were required to fight CoVID.
“At the time, there was no sign that the K6.2 billion the government had released in August 2020 had made any difference. This is a betrayal of trust and failure of leadership in a time of need.
“We Malawians have to pause and reflect. A small oxygen plant able to generate oxygen costs $40,000. Twenty-eight of them could have provided sufficient oxygen for each district. That is K900 million.
“Remember the entire country has two small plants (one at Nkhata Bay and another at Phalombe) and two big plants, at Kamuzu Central and also at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospitals.
“A Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machine – used to treat conditions that affect your breathing — costs between $1,000-$2,000. Our hospitals had none. Twenty per district could have been less than K450 million.
“A basic ventilator costs less than K5 million in China. We could have afforded 20 per city and five per district. All this could have cost us no more than K2 billion. The K6.2 billion could have been adequate for an effective response to Covid, had it been used for its intended purpose.
“I am sure many Malawians will now reflect on how many deaths that could have been prevented. To be clear, I remain immensely proud of the ife-tokha-patokha philosophy that we Malawians demonstrated by coming together to rescue the situation on our own, but I am bringing this up to underscore the fact that perhaps our effort could have been better channelled elsewhere, if the K6.2 billion had been utilized in an effective manner.
“Going forward, I guess I would be speaking for many if I said Malawians expect real and visible change in the fight against corruption. Each and every single suspect — without exception — should be arrested and tried for their role in plundering the K6.2 billion. On our books, we have the enabling laws to recover money and property from those who enriched themselves through thieving.
“With regard to the fight against corruption in general, the appointment of the highly principled and hardworking Madam Martha Chizuma as Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau is a good start.
“In her capacity as Ombudsman, Madam Chizuma has defied all challenges — including being starved of funding, suffering a public campaign of personal abuse and threats in the past. Despite this, she has been relentless in the fight against corruption in all its forms.
“To show the nation that we are serious on corruption, we should use her professionalism, zeal and focus in a way that benefits our country. Her office should be appropriately funded and fully staffed.
“She should also have authority to oversee the financial crimes unit and must be free from political influence. I also hope she will have adequate security and protection.
“I – and I am sure millions of other Malawians – remain hopeful in the words of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, who, during the campaign, said that corruption would not be tolerated under his administration, and that neither he nor his team would shield anyone from prosecution.
“I also remain confident in the words of Vice-President Dr. Saulos Chilima, who told Malawians that jails would be emptied of petty thieves who stole chickens, so that big thieves who plunder national funds should fill them instead. I have no doubt that Malawians are expecting to see real action on corruption.
“I hope the leadership will take this case as an opportunity to restore some confidence in our government. That confidence will be restored by demonstrating that culprits are punished and what they stole from the poor to enrich themselves is taken away from them and given back to the people.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :