Hon Folks, watching MBC TV on Tuesday evening, it was refreshing seeing my old friend Nicholas Dausi sounding extremely concerned about APM flying commercial to an AU summit in Ethiopia.
He said on arrival at Bole International Airport, the plane landed far from the airport lounge and they sent a rickety minibus (maphokonyoli) for our president. I wonder if by saying all this, Dausi also wants to see a presidential limousine included to the jet package.
The Minister of Information said government would probe how the proceeds from the sale of the presidential jet Malawi bought during the reign of Bingu wa Mutharika were used.
Interesting, isn’t it because this has been the APM government’s song since assuming office in 2014. I wonder why it’s still a song in 2017, deep into the second half of its five-year term.
The JB government short-changed us by selling the jet, failed to account for its proceeds then use the same jet when the president wanted to globe-trot.
Any good citizen would applaud a system that does not bury impunity under the carpet. Indeed the JB government should also account for the 60 percent of the K24 billion Cashgate loot uncovered by a Baker Tilley forensic audit in 2013.
Testimonies of three convicts indicate the money was for PP’s campaign. What needs to be established is whether JB herself as head of government and party, or someone else in the party, was the recipient of the stolen public funds.
If wrong doing is established, that is betrayal of our trust and the law should take its course without let or hindrance.
That said, it’s not only the JB government with skeletons in the cupboard. Independent audits have revealed that before JB ascended to power Cashgate was already rampant and K236 billion is said to have been stolen from the public kitty through Cashgate between 2009 and 2014, a period of five years!
This is taxpayers’ money collected so government could provide its citizens with public goods and services. It was never meant to be stashed in anyone’s dirty pockets.
Dausi, as a Cabinet Minister whose salary and perks come from our taxes and is supposed to serve the country and not just DPP. He should also be interested in probing who pocketed that money and champion the call to bring all the bad guys, regardless of their status, to book.
Not only that; there’s also the issue of the K62 billion wealth former President Bingu wa Mutharika is said to have amassed within the eight years he was in office. When the figure was revealed by a valuer engaged by the JB administration, the DPP dismissed it as a politically motivated lie.
Yet despite that the DPP has now formed the government Dausi serves and that there’s the need to establish the value of the former president’s deceased estate if only for taxation purposes, the APM government has opted to bury its head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.
Why not engage its own credible valuer to set the record straight and tell the world the real value of Bingu’s wealth? Why is Dausi behaving like he has toothache when it comes to probing the past of his own DPP and its leaders?
It’s time our political leaders realised that Malawi economy is anaemic today—high unemployment, high interest rates, low investment, low donor confidence, frequent currency turbulence, low investment, the smallest GDP per capita—not just because of their warped policies but also because some, if not many, may have used public funds to satisfy their insatiable craving for hot money.
Dausi seems to acknowledge this fact, which is good. However, he shouldn’t think Malawians are stupid to buy the yarn that DDP under the Mutharikas has holier than PP ever was under JB. Give us a break, please.
- The article appeared int the Weeekend Nation on ‘Backbencher’ column