Chizuma saga; DPP calls on Chakweras administration to resign with immediate effect to pave way for an interim government 

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) contends that the arrest of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Martha Chizuma confirms what the opposition party has maintained “all along” that President Lazarus Chakwera “is leading a government that is clueless, incompetent, undemocratic and corrupt”.

In a statement from Namalomba on Wednesday, day after Chizuma’s arrest and subsequent release on bail, the DPP accuses Chakwera’s administration under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) that is has — “for the past two years — tried to divert attention to its incompetence and cluelessness by arresting innocent Malawians without any basis”.

“Chakwera’s government has completely lost the trust of Malawians to govern,” says the party. “It is not an instrument of protection but oppression for Malawians.”

Thus the DPP demands for Chakwera’s administration’s resignation “with immediate effect and pave way for an interim government that will conduct fresh elections in 90 days”.

On the events surrounding Chizuma, the DPP — just like other high profile civil society personalities have expressed including the US Ambassador to Malawi, David Young — says it is incredulous that “Chakwera and his government have expressed ignorance of this legal and brutal arrest”’ describing it as “a lie”.

“Malawians should know that such an arrest of senior public officer cannot be effected without the approval and sanction of the President, Minister of Homeland Security and the Inspector General of Police.”

I am ready to serve my country.

The DPP likens the SWAT-style of the arrest to the “brutality and fear that became part of our daily life of struggle for multi-party and democracy in the one party rule of the MCP”.

“We are told that a group of armed police officers took siege of her house in the wee hours of that Tuesday — with guns and tear gas canisters blazing, descended on her while asleep, bundled her into their trucks and drove 40kms away to Namitete.

“Like a convicted criminal, she was forced to kneel down, mocked and ridiculed by police officers on duty. Her crime, as we understand, is because she touched on the nerves of some senior people in the Tonse Government at the apex of looting billions of Kwachas in this country,” says the Party.

Meanwhile, a statement is circulating on social media, purported to have been posted by MCP Member of Parliament for Lilongwe South, Peter Dimba — in which he alleges that “there is another ‘boma’ (government) that has hijacked our Boma and is running the show.

He said: “Boma ndilodabwa kuti boma lamanga mayi Chizuma’ (government is surprised that it has arrested Chizuma) struck me yesterday. It sounds simple and hilarious but it is complex and saddening.

“Now that the dust has settled and our eyes are clear, it’s important to take a serious introspection. The statement above simply means there is another ‘boma’ that has hijacked our Boma and is running the show.

“This ‘boma’ is not what Malawians wanted when they defied all odds and matched in the streets to oust DPP. This ‘boma’ is not what the 5 Judges risked their lives for when they delivered that award-winning verdict on the landmark elections case.

“The ‘boma’ that arrested Martha yesterday seems to be more powerful than the real Boma we are part of. This ‘boma’ has so much power that at 3am, they could kickstart the Govt. machinery, drive this heavy machinery to Martha’s compound, mobilize 40 police officers and arrest Martha like they were arresting Osama Bin Laden — without considering the political consequences.

“And to drive that Govt machinery at 3 am, this ‘boma’ knows where the Govt machinery is packed and also has access to the keys of this machinery.

“I have come to discover that this is the ‘boma’ within our Boma that is responsible for the daily drama and scandals that are an embarrassment to our President, a disgrace to us, the Party members and a disservice to the Nation.

“This is the ‘boma’ that is undoing what the real Boma is doing and forcing us to take 2 steps backwards after taking a step forward. This is the ‘boma’ that is making decisions like they are Std 3 dropouts without any critical analysis and environmental scanning.

“This ‘boma’ has captured our intelligence/NIS and turned it into a machinery for rumour mongering and gossip and not a service for timely, correct and relevant intelligence information for effective running of our Govt.

“This ‘boma’ is run by 4 or 5 or 6 people, some of whom were not there when MCP was in the bush fighting a guerrilla war against DPP and therefore don’t even care whether we lose or not as a result of their silly decisions.

“I am glad that His Excellency, the President has instituted a commission of inquiry to burst this ‘boma’ for their actions are treasonous, and we expect more heads to roll.”

Meanwhile, fierce commentator on Malawi’s social and political matters, Onjezani Kenani has honoured Peter Dimba “for his incredible leadership of the Legal Affairs Committee, and indeed on behalf of his committee, as Personality of the Year”.

Kenani justifies this stance, saying every year, his page — which has a ledge following of equally fierce critics of the country’s social and economic shortfalls — names as personality of the year a public institution official, whose work has had a tremendous impact on transparency, accountability and good governance.

He wrote: “The runner-up this year was the Ombudsman, Ms. Grace Malera, whose fearlessness in reversing illegal appointments makes the Office of the Ombudsman remain a true defender of the public’s interests.

Grace Malera, Malawi’s Ombudsman

“Ms. Malera ruled that the appointment of the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief Executive, Mr. Henry Kachaje, was illegal, since his qualification — a Master’s degree from a bogus institution called Azteca — was obviously fake.

“The matter is in court, but with that decision the new Ombudsman sent a strong notice to the government that her office was not going to let any maladministration go unchallenged. The Ombudsman later in the year also reversed the appointment of Ms. Helen Buluma as Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company of Malawi, a decision the government initially wanted to disregard, only to have everything backfire.

“Despite the brilliant performance by the Ombudsman, this page also took a close look at the work done by the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, which took an unprecedented step in the history of our nation by taking away powers from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

“Since October 2021, when the Zuneth Sattar corruption scandal came to light, the DPP has given the impression of doing everything within his power to prevent justice from taking its course. He, for example, withheld consent to prosecute, without justification.

“Initially he told the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament that the request for consent from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was half-baked. When the ACB appeared before the Committee to explain its side of the story, the Committee was left in no doubt as to which office — between the DPP and the ACB — was telling the truth. As a result, the Committee decided to enact a law that took away from the DPP the powers to grant consent, making the ACB a bit more independent as a result.

“We are deeply grateful to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament, under the leadership of Honourable Peter Dimba, M.P., for stepping in decisively to rescue the fight against corruption, which could have been gutted by the DPP’s actions.

“Committee work is group work. It is difficult to single out an individual. Honourable Ashems Songwe, for example, showed tremendous courage in the process, as did the rest of the Committee. But everything rises and falls on leadership.

Chairperson Peter Dimba

“If the leader of the committee did not have the drive and the passion to clean up the country, everything could have been gutted. On 21 July, for example, Honourable Peter Dimba made the following speech in Parliament:

“’The laws give the ACB the powers to prosecute corruption cases with one hand, with the other hand it withdraws those powers by empowering the DPP to withhold consent.

“’Madam Speaker, that doesn’t have to continue. You’ve read newspapers, I think over the weekend, in which the DPP continues to deny the ACB consent to prosecute corruption cases. For how long Madam Speaker is this going to continue in our country?

“’Today we can decide, Madam Speaker, whether to repeal the CPA and disband ACB – because if we say we’re fighting corruption using the ACB, then we’re lying to ourselves, Madam Speaker.

“’Today we can decide: Let there be no ACB in Malawi. Let everyone steal the way they want. Let everyone loot this country the way they want. Let foreigners come into this country, loot our resources, go to UK and buy properties the way they want. And let our people continue to suffer. Let our people continue to wallow in poverty because of corruption.

“’But the people of Lilongwe South are not going to be part of that. Because I’m here representing a woman without shoes in Malingunde who is having difficulties accessing drugs in hospitals because some few people — not many — have looted this country over the decades. We must put this nonsense to an end today.’”

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