Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) have said they are mobilising Malawians to stop clicktivism on social media and go from “tweets to streets” demand for President Peter Mutharika’s resignation, saying the Malawi leader and prevent the mass protests if he responds in person his alleged involvement in the Malawi Police Service (MPS) fraud.
A leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) document indicates that Mutharika was involved in a K2.3 billion MPS and Pioneer Investments supply deal, where he pocketed K145 million received from the supplier into a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) account for which he is the sole signatory.
One of the civil society leaders Gift Trapence said the civil rights leaders met over the weekend when they agreed that should the President fail to respond, massive protests should be organised.
“We have given him ample time to respond otherwise we will be back on the streets,” said Trapence.
The HRD also called for an amendment to Section 91(2) of the Constitution which provides a sitting President immunity from prosecution.
However, spokesperson of 13 opposiiton parties ,Kamuzu Chibambo, who is also People’s Transformation Party (Petra) president, said calling for Mutharika’s resignation was a non-starter because he has already pleaded innocent.
Chibambo who is a practising lawyer said their only hope was for members of Parliament (MPs) to move a motion of impeachment in the House.
ACB has been investigating a Malawi police food supply contract, worth around 2.8bn kwacha that was awarded to a firm owned by businessman Zameer Kareem, called Pioneer Investments.
The report alleges that the head of finance of Malawi’s police, Innocent Bottomani, and Karim had “connived” to award Pioneer Investment a contract to provide 500,000 food ration packs.
Days after the contract was signed, Pioneer Investment allegedly asked for a change to the agreed price from 2.3bn kwacha to nearly 2.8bn – the report says the change was fraudulently approved by Bottomani.
When Karim was paid for supplying the food ration packs in 2016, he allegedly deposited 145m kwacha into a DPP bank account that is reportedly managed by President Mutharika.
Both Karim and Bottomani have denied involvement in the alleged fraud.
President Mutharika has since accused the international donor community of trying to recolonise Malawi by sponsoring some CSOs to destabilise his government.
Mutharika claimed he is aware of how money is changing hands between members of the donor community and some CSOs on a “mission to destabilise” his government..
Responding to accusations that the CSOs are being sponsored by donors to destabilise the country, Trapence laughed off, saying to the contrary, it was Mutharika who was destabilising the country.
“This is just to divert people’s attention. He should just respond to issues that we are raising,” he said.
He said the CSOs have always fought for good governance, transparency and accountably.
US ambassador Virginia Palmer and British High Commissioner Holly Tett have given the CSOs the diplomatic backing that they play an important role in providing social services and in helping to hold governments and development partners to account
Nyasa Times has consistently been reporting about the e interest claim controversy by Pioneer Investments until the local press picked it up which prompted a public inquiry by the parliamentary oversight committee and then the ACB launched its investigation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :