Human rights defender Timothy Mtambo has asked President Peter Mutharika to act on both Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa if they refuse to resign for their roles in the acquisition and distribution of the contentious K4 billion to members of Parliament (MPs).
Mtambo, who heads the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), said in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that they are calling on President Mutharika to “as a matter of urgency, give an explanation to Malawians as to how he, as CEO [Chief Executive Officer] for the country, approved such a malpractice.”
He said Malawi was in intensive care unit and that people must rise in patriotism to save it from death.
“Each passing say brings with it fresh and painful evidence of the swindlers we have in government. We are at a loss to understand how the opposition in Parliament would leave it just like that and see the leading ministries of this malpractice go free despite committing this huge accountability blunder in history,” reads a statement by Mtambo.
The CHRR boss also accused leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera for acting as an accomplice to government thieving in the payout and later condemn it as hypocritical.
“Instead of standing with the people, the opposition has opted to enter into an evil pact with government, The country is left in confusion as to what is the hope for this country if both the opposition and those in government are the same,” bemoaned Mtambo.
Mtambo said Chakwera “must know that it is wrong to legalise evil and that two wrongs to not make a right.”
Meanwhile, Concerned Citizens group told a news conference that it supports the call made by Chakwera to demand that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigates both Finance Minister Gondwe and Minister of Local Government Nankhumwa.
He said in paving way for the investigations, the two ministers should honourably resign.
Chairperson of the concerned citizens, Phillip Kamangira, said Chakwera as leader of opposition should equally be held accountable, saying he together with opposition lawmaker should have rejected the “funding by-pass” to be shared among all MPs.
“Malawi Congress Party would have rejected the vote and allocate [the money] to other equally important votes such as health or education,” said Kamangira.
The government purse-keeper Gondwe has admitted that the K4 billion was not budgeted but was “an experiment” outside the local government mechanism following complaints of abuse.
“It is a legitimate experiment at new funding modalities for local councils. Our formula was to fund projects identified by the area development committees (ADCs). I think as a country, we should look for other ways of funding local councils because you have complained that CDF [Constituency Development Fund], LDF [Local Development Fund] or DDF [District Development Fund] are being abused. So, we are looking at other ways, we may come to Parliament and say why can’t you make this universal,” said Gondwe.
Some civil society organisation have since asked government to rescind the decision of sharing the K4 billion or face legal implications.
Mzuzu-based youth rights activist Charles Kajoloweka, described the transaction to allocate the funds to MPs unbudgeted as an organised form of corruption aimed at rewarding certain politicians.
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