‘Corruption in Malawi stinks’: Prof Lumumba calls for independent ACB

Professor Patrick  Lock Otiento Lumumba, a renowned anti-corruption activist from Kenya,  has advised that the country’s graft busting body  should be operating in a free, fair and credible manner if corruption is to be eliminated.

Prof. Patrick Lumumba from Kenya making a presentation at the conference(C)govati Nyirenda. Mana

Lumumba, who is Director at Kenya School of Law and once served as director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission before he was removed under controversial circumstances, was speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday as a panellist during the National Anti-Corruption Conference.

He said corruption should be fought “from the top” and bringing to justice all those named in corruption reports to deter other would be offenders.

In his presentation on ‘Corruption: the bane of Africa’, Lumumba said corruption stifle development and that is one of the key drivers of under development in all societies and it has also been responsible for the breakdown of society’s moral fibre destroying all sectors on its path.

“In the countries where there is political will there is also lack of institutional strength. The most important thing about fighting corruption is to have leadership from the top. The tone must be set by the President,” he said.

“Then it is set by leaders of institutions such as the Judiciary, the Legislature and all the leaders and all the institutions,” added Lumumba.

The Kenyan said all citizens have a role to play in the fight against corruption.

Lumumba said he told President Peter Mutharika to be in the lead to fight corruption and that “he must be a crusader.”

He proposed the establishment of a special corruption court to speed up prosecution and disposal of graft cases.

Lumumba also said education can be used “to redeem the upcoming generation that 18 years from today there will be  a generation which does not indulge in corruption.”

The National conference has been organized  by government to seek views from all stakeholders on how corruption can be eradicated.

But critics say “it’s too little too tale.”

In an editorial comment of leading daily newspaper, The Nation, the paper said the conference does not look like the tool that will provide the pathway to tame corruption which is endemic in the country.

The paper also backs the idea of an independent Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is “under the  armpits of the Executive, which is  itself perceived as ill-equipped to fight the vice going by the country’s standing on the perception index internationally.”

It pointed out that the theme of the conference ‘Corruption in Malawi: Freality or perception’ is a misnomer.

“With the high levels of corruption domiciled in the country, especially in public institutions, we should not be wasting our few resources debating whether the vice exists in the country,” said the editorial comment.

It stated that corruption in Malawi “stinks”.

“We long put on the shelf to gather dust the Corrupt Practices Act and the National Anti Corruption Strategy – the two key tool we should have ably used to deal with corruption if there was a strong political will to do so,” reads the comment.

And the paper reported the findings of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs that most Malawians see the fight against corruption  as lacking action because not much is being done to investigate suspected corrupt individuals in corridors of power.

In the paper, ‘The Fight Against Corruption in Malawi’,  the ministry said it discovered that Malawians also feel that politicians use the fight against corruption as a tool to victimise opponents.

It also revealed that political parties’ funding is a fertile ground for condoning and promoting corrupt practices.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu  speaking at the conference on Thursday said his ministry has been carrying out consultations on how the country can fight corruption and this afford an opportunity for stakeholders to voice out their views and input in the fight.

The Minister said Conference; the first of its kind in the country symbolizes government’s commitment to ensuring that there is a corruption free society.

ACB Director Lucas Kondowe said much as the Bureau has operational independence, it lacks financial independence making it one of the major challenges in the fight against corruption.

Lumumba said he “sympathies” with ACB boss, saying the graft-busting body “can only be the lead agency, not the resolver of all problems.”

He said the role of ACB is “prevention, investigation and prosecution” but that is as far as their powers go.

However, Lumumba said “corruption must be fought on the basis of sound laws and sound institutions.”

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24 thoughts on “ ‘Corruption in Malawi stinks’: Prof Lumumba calls for independent ACB”

  1. akanyeramtsetere says:

    we dont need a kenyan to lecture the corruption vice in malawi we r knowledgeable about it. let him help his tax payers in kenya. our has enough learned fellows, wamva?

  2. Luka says:

    Clearly, the ‘public service’ attracts the wrong kind of people. We need to sit down together and consider what we can do to make it attractive to the right kind of people, and unattractive to the wrong ones.

  3. Ikwechi says:

    How stupid are you Malawians? Am a Kenyan working for an international NGO here in Malawi. Actually there is no serious corruption in this country compared to Kenya. Lumumba has never ever put a dent on corruption in my country because successful elimination of corruption does not depend on orators but leadership. Singapore got rid of this scourge through effective leadership by its Primeminister. Malaysia did away with corruption through good leadership by its first prime minister but when he retired the new guy made things worse. Cash gate was just under USD35 million which really is peanuts. In Kenya where Lumumba and myself come from every year it’s in excess of USD2 billion. In little Rwanda it’s not through an Anti Corruption body that corruption was defeated but through Kagame’s leadership. The European Union is one of the most corrupt institutions ever created together with the UN. However since they don’t beg it’s ok. In Malawi you people seem to miss an important link that of the private sector. Without being racist, the Malawi private sector is dominated by Asians who it’s well known are the most corrupt people. They know that Malawian public servants are grossly underpaid and therefore they corrupt them. This is one of the main drivers of corruption in Malawi a public service that subsists even at the highest levels of its leadership. In addition since as long as you belong to the ruling party you can’t be touched a culture of impunity develops. If a public servant holds a lavish wedding at the lake and spends unexplained millions its ok in Malawi as long as the best man is a step son to president Mutharika. Why really bother spending money on a conference when the solution is simple. Effective leadership. As for Lumumba please please Africa does not need orators to end corruption. Help my motherland Kenya to end corruption not through drama.

  4. winston msowoya says:


  5. Chalume says:

    Abale, let us not paint Lumumba as delivering anything new to us. Have we not known all along that we need an ACB that is independent? There is something else we need to change, and only we can change it: come to terms with the way corruption is degrading our society and make a real commitment, inspired by a need to develop our country, and end corruption for the improvement of life for all Malawians, and not just those from one tribe.

  6. Richard Soko says:

    The problem in Malawi is lack of decisive leadership. Peter Mutharika has demonstrated the contrary

  7. The Liberals says:

    cry for your selves and those coming after……

  8. falliot says:

    fighting corruption in Malawi is very fundamental ,if we as Malawians are to develop….Several laws have been drafted, several conferences have been conducted, organization such anti corruption bureau has been established about 20years ago inorder to fight corruption…. We all know that corruption is bad.Secondly as a nation we should accept people have ability to do corruption, not becoz its good, but becoz they see some advantages in doing corruption though ,the advantages are for individual interests other than public interests…
    These are some of the most important facts/articles of curbing corruption…..
    @@@@@:Our education curriculum right away from primary school level should teach Anti corruption as a subject…like the way we teach our children that murder is an offense punishable by law.Our syllabus should include a thorough definition of corruption,,elements of corruption,,, types of corruption,, causes of corruption, levels of corruption i.e ….from individual level to institution levels, who is a major prayer in corruption, negative effects of corruption, procedures for fighting corruption, who fights corruption, anti corruption tools for government,anti corruption tools at local government levels, anti corruption tools at societal levels, special constitution guiding anti corruption practices, prosecution of corruptin cases, biasing in fighting corruption, gender bias and corruption, who is the torch bear ,taking oath of office to fight corruption (president of a country). what will happen if a leader is corrupt, sharing of power of arms of government versus corruption. Politics and corruption,,, fighting corruption in political institutions…. if such curriculum is to be included, and adopted, multidisciplinary stake holders should be incarcated into such establishment,… permanent act should be endorsed to fight corruption from higher levels to grassroots. But young generation should be taught to believe that corruption is bad,,its a sin.After 20years from now it means we will ha a generation less corrupt, ready to fight corruption…

  9. alungwana says:

    We treat corruption as a government system. This is too bad. Malawi can’t develop. We need the leadership of integrity.

  10. gwenyethe says:

    As a country we are retrogressive because we have smiled at corrupt tendencies. And as long as we are not ready to hold the corrupt by the balls we should forget about development. Look at the quality of the so called tarmac roads that people are bragging about. Corruption is so stinky in Malawi like a fish that lies dead on the shores of the lake for two months. I don’t even see tangible political will to curb corruption. Now that the corrupt are being shielded by authorities entrusted to fight corruption, it remains with us that corruption will be on the increase each passing day. Politicians are the godfathers of corruption. They talk about it while they continue to perpetrate it. They are not ready to fight corruption if their political parties are involved . In fact ruling parties have a deliberate approach to corruption to enrich themselves while funding activities of their parties. So all this talk about ending corruption from leaders is merely empty rhetoric aimed at fooling electorate that they mind about corruption when in actual fact they are the corrupt themselves.

  11. telling corrupt idiots to fight corruption????? akakhala bwampini nde anachita kunena kale kuti “ine lero ndasangalala kwambrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrri kuti a oppposition agwa nawo yoti ACB ikhale independent” no wonder chaponda maize is still freely roaming in the streets of this poorest nation on earth led by his excellency bwampni!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Mbuyee Gwawala says:

    Why inviting a Kenyan Corrupt Prof. to address the corruct audience? The solution is eliminate the corrupt using shariah law.

  13. Trendex says:


  14. MNDAMBALA BOY says:

    Malawi my Country, are you serious that you need some one to come all they way/out side to tell you how to fight against corruption?
    Do you want to tell me that you don’t know what corruption is? ok you might know surely but to fight against it you don’t know?
    Do you think Lumumba can change anything in Malawi about corruption if we Malawians we don’t want to change?
    May be am missing something here,tell me, don’t we have people who has speak the same what Lumumba is saying to those who are in power?
    Tell me what is that special from Lumumba will enter into your ears and make you to change if you yourself you don’t want to change?
    Are you not telling me that Lumumba can be a good president in Malawi?
    By the way, how are you going to fight against corruption while you go on TV and Radios telling us that there is no corruption in Malawi?
    Lumumba has said something like top officials must be the first to change, is he talking about the President? if yes, do you want to tell me that the president and his Ministers they don’t know what corruption is? or themselves they are involved in this system?
    Corruption is the culture of small group of people or leaders in the society when people are in the blanket of poverty.
    Mr Lumumba, Malawi particularly,corruption is what making those who are in power to be them as they are to day!
    So Mr Lumumba i would just ask you not to waist your time with these unchangeable people called Malawians, they are like that, in fact they are corruption themselves!!!

  15. zoona says:

    Zovuta. Ndakhala ndilkulankhula za kuyipa kwa ziphuphu kuyambira 2003…ku Salima kwa ma TA onse 10, ku Ntchisi kwa TA Nthondo, ku Lilongwe kwa TA Khongoni, ku Mchinji kwa TA Zulu, ku Ntcheu, Nkhotakota, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka, Thyolo konseko ndimayenda pa njinga ya moto…mwina poti uyu wabwera pa ndege ndipo ndi Pulofesa. Lira mokweza dziko langa lokondeka.

  16. chilombo says:

    Much as i agree with the professor about our stinking corruption, Kenya is also one of the most Corrupt countries in world. I suggest he deal with his country’s corruption first. But this doesn’t mean ndikubakila corruption yathu

    1. gogo says:

      In fact he even attacks Kenyan Government.

  17. Zuze says:

    Fish rots from the head.

  18. thitherward wendo says:

    Law and Ordure

    In London, five hundred years ago, there were no sewage pipes, and people were employed to empty the toilets and dispose of the faeces. These people were referred to as ‘gong-farmers’. Their job was dangerous and disgusting. Much of their time was spent on their knees, scraping faeces from the sides of holding-tanks. Sometimes, they would find themselves up to their necks in s**t.

    Who are the modern gong-farmers? I suggest we might apply the name to members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau. It is their job to remove the filth from the public domain, and we should be clear about this: people who steal from the public purse and thus deprive our children of a decent education, and our grandparents of effective health facilities, are filth.

    Just as the early gong-farmers had to do an unpleasant and dangerous job, the same applies to our modern gong-farmers. Just as the early gong-farmers needed strength to get rid of ordure from their cities, so too do their modern equivalents. However, there is one important difference.

    Fifteenth century gong-farmers needed a strong back and a strong stomach. Today’s gong-farmers need strength of character. When you work with filth, it is difficult not to be tainted by it. When our gong-farmers fail in their duties, there are no overflowing toilets to point to their dereliction; there is no stench to assail our nostrils. The indicators are more subtle, but the consequences are, arguably, even more catastrophic for all of us.

    No doubt our latter-day gong-farmers are well-represented at the on-going National Anti-Corruption Conference in Lilongwe. I hope that they are inspired to approach their task with renewed vigor and determination. Moreover, I hope that they will be inspired by the example of their fifteenth century predecessors to roll up their sleeves and start shoveling that s**t in earnest.

    It takes a special kind of person to be an effective gong-farmer. This is no job for seat-warmers and time-servers. The modern gong-farmers must be driven by clear visions of what a corruption-free nation would be like. They must understand their own importance. If they do not succeed in their task, there can be no national progress. They must apply their powers fearlessly and without favor.

    Theirs is one of the most important vocations in the nation. If they do not feel up to the task, they should resign and make way for those who can commit. These Augean stables of ours need Heraclean s**t-shovellers.

    1. m sizini says:

      Alimentary, my dear Wendo!

  19. Chimanga says:

    kondowe…… show us what you have achieved with the little resources before asking for more…. You just cant show anything. Shame on you

  20. Richard Soko says:

    Hon Tembenu why invite a foreigner to come to tell you that Malawi is filthy with corruption? Why is Chaponda not yet arrested in a country where there is rule of law?6

  21. Mfulu says:

    To be aleader doesn’t mean that u are too wise n0! U have tu lusten tu thosecwhim u are leading sometimes , pita shud know that he can not win votes because of chaponda no! chaponda deserve be imporisoned for many cases he has ..but petercis shielding hm , is he very important than all Mwians?

  22. Mfulu says:

    Pita is afailed president , like how his brother was ,,so he is just following the same steps , Malawi will never develop untill we change the president

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