DPP fend off pressure to fire Chaponda over corruption charges: ‘Presumption of innocence’

Former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda remained under pressure from campaigners anxious to oust him from his position of vice-president (Southern Region) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) but  has said he is not going away.

Chaponda (left): I am not going away, I am here as DPP vice president

Chaponda, the Ivy League trained lawyer turned politician—alongside two businesspersons Rashid Tayub of Transglobe Produce Export Limited and Grace Mijiga Mhango, who also chairs the Grain Traders and Processors Association of Malawi—were arrested in connection with alleged corrupt practices during the procurement of maize at the height of a food shortage crisis that gripped the country last year.

He is answering three corruption-related charges linked to the controversial procurement of maize from Zambia.

There has been  calls for President Peter Mutharika  to remove Chaponda from the position  in DPP to send a clear message to Malawians that the party does not condone corruption. And DPP strongman Kondwani Nankhumwa, who took over from Chaponda as government leader in Parliament, is backing the move as he strongly believes  it is awkward for President Mutharika to have someone suspected of corruption deputising him

But Chaponda said his court cases on corruption-related charges remain a private matter to him and cannot be discussed.

Chaponda said he is not leaving his DPP vice presidency post as the party’s National Governing Committee (NGC)  has not discussed his issue “and I have attended all meetings.”

DPP spokesman Francis Kasaila also said Chaponda need “presumption of innocence” and will be allowed to hold his position as second-in command in the ruling party.

However, commentators argue that  though Chaponda remains innocent until proven guilty, in the court of public opinion, he may be looked at as the poster child of everything that is wrong with the ruling DPP.

“Innocent or guilty, Chaponda—fairly or unfairly—is being portrayed as the microcosm of the leadership rot that the DPP has bestowed on the country and its resultant under-development,” wrote newspaper columnist Ephraim Munthali.

Blantyre-based political analyst, Vincent Kondowe, who says keeping Chaponda on the  powerful vice-president of DPP is raising questions on the seriousness of the ruling party  in the fight against corruption in the country.

“DPP is still recognizing him as the party’s Vice President for the South which is raising questions on how serious the party is in the fight against corruption.” Kondowe told Radio Islam.

“Here we have got a head of state who has been always maintaining he would strive to fight corruption and here again we have a governing political party which has been always maintaining that it would strive to fight corruption. Keeping someone who is answering corruption charges is an insult to all Malawians and a mockery to governance principles,” Kondowe said.

He however observed that it is high time for DPP to remove Chaponda from the position to send a clear message to Malawians that the party does not condone corruption.

“I believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty by the competent court but the party has no option but to fire Chaponda on the position otherwise people may conclude that the party’s leadership knows something hence they are afraid that if fired, Chaponda will spill the beans that he was alone,” he added.

Mzuzu-based political analyst Charles Kajoloweka, who has been one of the vocal citizens against Chaponda in the Zambia maize imports saga, said politically the corruption case against Chaponda “becomes an indelible stamp of corruption on the DPP as a party”.

He said: “So, it is up to the party to redeem itself from this indelible mark of corruption. It should also be a reminder to President [Peter] Mutharika to demonstrate that he means what he says that his government champions zero tolerance of corruption.”

However, Kajoloweka, who is the executive director of Youth and Society (YAS), said Chaponda’s prosecution  also gives an opportunity to Mutharika and his party to stamp out corruption.

The former minister, who is Mulanje South West member of Parliament (MP), denies any wrong doing.

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Truth be Told.
Guest

I can see and read the comments here of these hired journalists to defend Chaponda and attack Nankhumwa without valid reason on him.

Keep on enjoying Chaponda’s money but the law will still catch on him for his corruption involvement on maize gate.

Keen Observer
Guest

Not guilty until proven guilty by the court of law. So presumption ndiye ndi ambiri 9ngoganiziridwawo.build a strong case against him , all those who have got evidence must come forward with the evidence so that he can not survive in the court of law otherwise if the National Prosecution Authority doesn’t have a strong case against him then azathera kumulipira atawasumira.

Mtumbuka wa DPP
Guest

Kajoloweka and friends should know that divide and rule wont work on us.Chaponda is our VP for the south and we will support him all the way.Nsanje si Umuna DPP WOYEEEEEE

MiriMiri
Guest

Ngati kuchoka kwa Chaponda kuti kuyakitse magetsi ndiye achokedi.Koma ngati wina atenge u Vice president ife zausilu ayi.Nthawi yandale tilibe

Cosmus Chirwa
Guest

Soon or later we shall find out the truth.For now Chaponda is not guilty so leave him alome

Chimwemwe Msonkho
Guest

Why should he be fired? even a kid knows he will win his case.Zomakamba nkhani zopanda umboni za Chaponda zithe 2017.Tikumvana?

Chicco Chintali
Guest

So Chaponda should step down or be fired because greedy Kajoloweka watumidwa kuti atero? very funny indeed. Akuleka kusiya nankhumwa? akuona ngati milandu yake ija naye tinaiwala? zina osamaziputa dala.

Magede is wandale
Guest

The CHAPONDA i know and the chaponda i read in the media are totally different.The man is hardworking and very generous.I know him from the days of being director of research, to being foreign affairs minister.Some of us do understand why Mutharika is still keeping him as veep for the south.It wouldn’t be surprising to seeing Nankhumwa go and him staying. The only difference is that Chaponda is loyal, Nankhumwa is friends with Media period.

Angie bin khaled Omar
Guest
Angie bin khaled Omar

Chaponda is not guilty until proven by the court.For now let him be.APM Being intelligent and patient as he is , knows that thats why he is not firing him.Awa akajolowekawa nawonso atha kuchemelera zamathanyula ndi nzawo Trapence. A nankhumwawa amaona ngati angakhale president iwowa?hahahahahahahahaha

Mozesi Chiwengo
Guest

Ndizosabisanso kuti Chaponda was framed koma ana achepa.Mulungu si munthu.chitsiru chotchedwa kajolowekachi chatumidwa.Zisiyeni inu si a DPP.Pangani chanu chipani

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