Former minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda who escaped jail after acquittal in corruption-related charges regarding the 2017 maize procurement deal from Zambia, has won in the ongoing governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) primaries.
Chaponda is incumbent member of Parliament (MP) Mulanje South West Constituency and despite no longer being DPP vice president for the South, he remains the party’s strongman.
His constituents in party electorate endorsed him to be the candidate in the May 21 2019 elections.
Chaponda, who is heading some key committees for DPP strategising for the elections, was set free after the Zomba Magistrate Court found he had no case to answer in corruption-related charges regarding the 2017 ‘maize-gate’ scandal.
The former minister said he had always maintained that everything was done in the best interest of Malawians in view of the dire food situation the country faced when he was minister.
“Unfortunately, this matter was greatly politicized and the facts were twisted as part of a systematic and vicious smear campaign against me. Notwithstanding the attempts to tarnish my name, ” said Chaponda.
Chaponda was arrested on July 19 2017 alongside Rashid Tayub, one of the directors of Transglobe Produce Export Limited, and Grace Mijiga Mhango, a businesswoman and also chairperson of the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi (GTPA). They were all acquitted.
Malawi President Peter Mutharika ordered an investigation into a $34.5 million government maize order, after a Zambian opposition leader said he had seen documents showing Malawi had been charged $345 per ton for 100 000 tonnes of Zambian white maize worth $215 a ton.
In Blantyre City West, incumbent DPP legislator Trasizio Gowelo floored a one-time MP for the constituency Bertha Masiku.
The incumbent legislator for Ndirande Malabada, Aaron Sangala trounced his opponents to book himself a ticket to run again on DPP’s ticket.
While MP for Blantyre City Central Themba Mkandawire lost the primaries to Chipiliro Mpinganjira on Friday.