Chisi says end Malawi’s bail system for corrupt suspects: Hopefuls tussle over hospital user-fees

Three presidential candidates who took part in the  second of the three-part 2019 Presidential Debates at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) auditorium in Lilongwe on Tuesday agreed that there was deep-rooted corruption in government and called for tough measures to root out the vice.

Presidential hopefuls: Chisi, Kaliya and Kuwani
Chisi: Let us start treating corruption the same way we treat murder cases
Peter Sinusi Driver Kuwani of Mbakuwaku:  Corruption is hindering development
Rev Kaliya independent presidential candidate: We need political revolution

Moderator Grace Malera – former executive director of Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) – gave the panellists John Chisi (Umodzi Party), Peter Kuwani (Mbakuwaku Movement for Development-MMD) and Reverend Kaliya (independent) three topics of agriculture, education and corruption to debate.

Chisi, Kuwani and Kaliya unanimously agreed that there was deep-rooted corruption in government affecting all the sectors and needed reforms.

On his part, Chisi said there is need to end bail system for people arrested and facing corruption charges, saying they should remain on remand in custody.

“There should be no bail for corruption cases, “said Chisi.

“We need to start treating corruption like murder cases,” he added.

Chisi also called for “lifestyle audits” of senior politicians and public officials as a way of combating public sector corruption.

“We need leaders with vision, employment for all, education for all and justice for all,” he said.

On his part, Reverend Kaliya said there is need for a political revolution against the current system which is infested with disease of graft.

“There is a cartel of selfish politicians we must break,” said Kaliya.

He added: “We need to change political leadership.”

Kuwani also said he is against the corruption cancer growing in government and backed “lifestyle audits” to curb the scourge.

During the night, presidential hopefuls also discussed a politically emotive issue to introduce user fees in public hospitals.

Chisi, currently board chairperson of Medical Council of Malawi, denounced the user fees in public hospitals, saying “ it was DPP manifesto” that contradicts the Universal Health Coverage Policy, which recommends that countries should reduce the burden on households when accessing healthcare.

“We should do things differently,” said Chisi, promising that when he takes over power all health cases referred to hospitals abroad would be treated in Malawi.

He spoke about addressing the inefficiencies in the health system, which includes corruption and wastage of resources.

Kaliya, who spoke of plan to introduce ambulance choppers for medical evacuations, said he is  against hospital user-fees, arguing that such an attempt would disadvantage the poor.

“We have an impoverished population mostly in rural areas who cannot afford paying fees to be treated at hospital,” he said.

But Mbakuwaku’s Kuwani backed the hospital user fees, saying it could be a  solution to the struggling health system which runs on a shoe-string budget.

“Those who can, must pay. They should be in different categories,” Mbakuwaku leader said.

Kuwani said user fees in public health facilities will improve service delivery.

Governance expert and political commentator Makhumbo Munthali who was part of the audience at BICC told Nyasa Times that  Chisi and Kuwani had some interesting points that deserves special attention before the country decides whether to introduce user fees in hospitals or not.

“It is ironical to expect the very poor Malawians pay user fees when the issues such economic empowerment and growing levels of unemployment are not addressed as observed by Chisi,” said Munthali.

“We need to first to address this problem. As rightly observed by Mbakuwuka, it is weird to demand user fees in hospital when the quality of service delivery in hospitals remains poor,” he added.

The issue of user fees has remained sticky in the country. Available literature show that this emotive issue was partly the cause of the 1964 Cabinet crisis, when some ministers stood opposed to Kamuzu Banda’s suggestion to introduce public hospitals user fees.

On a lighter moment, Ras Chikomeni Chirwa, whose bid to run for presidency on an independent ticket was rejected by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for failing to fulfil requirements, including the K2 million nomination fees, was given the cheer by the handful audience as he entered the venue midway into the debate.

The finals series of the televised presidential debates will feature all candidates on Friday. President Peter Mutharika the flag bearer for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is running for a second and final five-year term in office, is shunning the debates.

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Hassan nkhata
Hassan nkhata
3 years ago

Corruption won’t end unless Malawians sacrifice their lives and take the law into their hands.That’s a day corruption will come to an end .I’m I the only one able to see a gang of thieves revolving around the corruption orbit so called politics .Malawians get up stand up for your right I’m looking forward to the day Malawians will march violently to residences of corrupt ministers and deal with them accordingly, for I have noted peace marches won’t help to stop corruption.A piece of advice to my fellow Malawians when you are march in protests pls don’t destroy your properties… Read more »

Alamu Pumani Mwakalamba K145 million anaba

The way we treat those in corruption leaves a lot to be desired in particular civil servants connected with theft. They should face disciplinary hearing and fired before taken to court to answer criminal charges for theft by public servant. They can challenge the dismissal in the IRC which decides cases on balance of probability rather beyond reasonable doubt criteria. This will see controlling officers taken to task. Imagine Kapinga is still on interdiction. The two senior police officers are on interdiction because of the weak MPSR. Balance of probability would take them out.

3 years ago

A waste of time to listen to them.

3 years ago

mutharika ndi mbalame
why shunning away

Kapado Chimuthawirenji

Is life-style audit of politicians not the same as declaration of assets? Since Tukula came into office how many politicians and senior government officials have declared their assets? Chisi is actually is flipping the other side side of the same coin which does not make it became 50 tambala when it was 10 tambala. Tukula is a Lawyer and and he knows what the law says about those who doe not declare their assets., but his organisation is as toothless as ACB on DPP politicians and senior government officials to a point that one mad and bankrupt Mzomera Ngwira said… Read more »

JJ Mbewe the Pathfinder
JJ Mbewe the Pathfinder
3 years ago

And if people don’t realize that a word CORRUPTION is the only word that is use by every single opposition party in the world to try and win power from the governing party then i guess people are more stupid than i thought. All over the world, corruption this and that, give them power, their opposition will also sing the same song about them. Tell me something better that you will do other than corruption.

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