“Mr Ntata, What is more important to you: Preserving the law or the political status quo? Are you blaming the police for doing the duties? Are you suggesting that the so called opposition political activists should be free to break any law and police should not arrest them?” late Bingu wa Mutharika – 28th March 2012
Following the current controversy around the motivation of Z Allan Ntata to take President Peter Mutharika Administration to task on governance issues, against a background where there is no clarity on Ntata’s own role in the bad governance that preceded the death of late Bingu wa Mutharika; when confidential memos chanced my way, I was and am still hesitant to table them for public consumption for four reasons.
Firstly, State House stuff like this – imprinted CONFIDENTIAL – is not something that one should float on the web for no good reason.
Secondly, it is not every day that an inquisitive soul like me, just comes across confidential stuff like this.
Thirdly, there was no way I could get State House to verify or disown these memos without exposing my sources.
And finally, knowing African governments, this could – for all I know – be a fabrication to “deal” with Ntata – who is now just a step short of being declared “enemy” of the state or to use a technical term: a persona non grata.
The issue at hand:
Caught up in this conundrum, this author decided to chat with the purported author – Z Allan Ntata, and quiz him on the validity of the memo and if indeed the manual inscription thereon is attributable – without doubt – to late Bingu, who as we all know, cannot defend himself.
“If you are out to describe the truth,” said Albert Einstein, “leave elegance to the tailor.”
This is exactly what this author wants to do now, having dispensed with the technicalities.
Unlike social media posts where anyone can get away with anything, let us approach this with sober minds in quest of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, based on documented documentary evidence.
Welcome to this series of Malawi Confidential memos, or if you want, Malawi Leaks by Garvey Karvei.
Our goal for this current exposé is to determine IF Z Allan Ntata is advocating for good governance – in which case all Malawians should support him because the motherland will benefit;
IF, as the State House alleges, Ntata is just a “frustrated” attention seeker, one worthy of all the ridicule you can muster.
The test of the pudding:
All truth is said to pass through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, before it gets accepted as being self-evident.
The challenge that the public and I am facing is that Z Allan Ntata’s assertions have been embraced and ridiculed with the same intensity.
As we speak, he now needs to pay attention to a civil suit from President Peter Mutharika.
The question is: can Z Allan Ntata redeem himself in this court of public opinion by making a case that can be accepted as being “self-evident” via this memo?
Or to put it better: can the dude be trusted?
A season of arrests
October 2011- Osman, Mayaya and others arrested
In October 2011, police arrested five civil society activists – Habiba Osman, Billy Mayaya, Brian Nyasulu, Ben Chiza Mkandawire, and Comfort Chiseko – on charges of “holding an illegal demonstration.”
The five were taking part in a small, peaceful demonstration outside parliament, calling on President Mutharika to hold a referendum, resign, and hold an early election.
February 2012 – Kasambara arrested
On February 13, police arrested prominent lawyer, Ralph Kasambara, and five of his security guards in Blantyre, after the guards apprehended three men allegedly carrying a petrol bomb at Kasambara’s offices.
Police charged Kasambara and his guards with assault. Several days earlier, two national newspapers had published interviews in which Kasambara criticized President Mutharika’s record on human rights and governance, and called for his resignation.
While the guards were immediately released on bail, Kasambara was detained for several days before being let out on bail. The three men who attempted the attack were released without charge.
Source: http://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/2012/02/17/malawi-rapidly-becoming-police-state-unlawfully-detains-ralph-kasambara/ “Malawi Rapidly Becoming Police State; Unlawfully Detains Ralph Kasambara”
March 2012 – John Kapito arrested
On March 9, 2012, Malawi’s State House, the President’s office, issued a statement warning journalists and human rights activists that those who insulted President Bingu wa Mutharika faced prosecution and up to two years in prison.
On March 16, police without a warrant arrested John Kapito, the then Chairman of the government-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission and a prominent critic of the government’s human rights record in Lilongwe, the capital, accusing him of possessing guns and seditious materials.
Police conducted an extensive search of Kapito’s home and car, apparently did not find weapons or the materials, but nonetheless charged him with possessing “materials with seditious words,” and undocumented foreign exchange. He was later released on bail.
Speaking on Kapito’s arrest, Sisonke Msimang, Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) said:
“John Kapito was arrested because he has criticised the president and taken the government to task – and to court – over some of its more undemocratic and unconstitutional measures.
The authorities have been trying to silence Kapito for months with public threats and intimidation but he has continued to exercise his constitutional duties and speak out – and so they have now had him arrested on these trumped up charges.” http://www.osisa.org/law/malawi/malawi-human-rights-commissioner-arrested
March 2012 – Atupele Muluzi arrested
On March 20, 2012 the BBC posted the following report.
The son of Malawi’s former President Bakili Muluzi has been arrested following two days of political violence in the capital, Lilongwe.
Atupele Muluzi, then 34, was charged with inciting violence, according to a police statement.
His arrest followed police firing tear gas as he was about to speak in Lilongwe, and this sparked a violent reaction in which a police station was burnt down.
Today, Hon Atupele Muluzi is none other than the Minister of Home Affairs in Pres Peter Mutharika’s cabinet.
Genesis of these arrests:
Increasing political intolerance, dictatorial tendencies, shrinking space for civil society and economic hardship following a donor freeze meant that late President Bingu wa Mutharika was reeling under growing pressure from the opposition, civil society, and donors.
To quell dissenting voices, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) strongmen persuaded former Inspector General, now State House Comptroller Mukhito, to arrest anyone who was seen to be a prominent critic.
Ntata – the lone ranger?
At some point in one’s life, you feel like a lone crusader fighting for what’s right when everyone around you seem to have gone bonkers.
Speaking to this reporter, Ntata says that before the arrests commenced, the issue was discussed at a Presidential special meeting which was attended mainly by the DPP politburo and this meeting was the point he felt the odd one out.
He tried – in vain – to convince President Bingu wa Mutharika and the entire politburo that arrests would not solve anything.
He was roundly condemned and contrary to his counsel, the arrests increased.
Atupele’s arrest – the straw that broke the camel’s back
Atupele Muluzi’s arrest was the match in the powder barrel and on March 21, 2012 immediately after Atupele Muluzi’s arrest, Ntata wrote this memo to his boss, the late Pres. Bingu wa Mutharika.
Reading the memo, ones sees that Ntata was unequivocal that while he did not condone the breaking of the law by anyone, he strongly felt that the Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Legal experts’ opinion should be sought before these arrests were effected.
Ntata was against the growing culture and practice of leaving the likes of Wakuda Kamanga and Francis Mphepo to be issuing instructions to arrest as if they were authorised – under the Laws of Malawi – to do that.
The response from the late president is inscribed on the memo for you and for posterity to see and judge.
“Mr Ntata, What is more important to you: preserving the law or the political status quo? Are you blaming the police for doing their duties? Are you suggesting that the so called opposition political ‘activists’ should be free to break any law and police should not have arrested them?”
This was Bingu wa Mutharika retorting on March 28, 2012.
As everyone can see, for his troubles, Ntata secured yet another of the many presidential reprimands he usually got for his advice.
He has, it appears, since graduated summa cum laude from mere reprimands. Today he draws defamation suits!
Over to you:
According to one George Lincoln Rockwell, a revolution is a spectator sport where the majority sits in the stands, watching the factions fight.
At the end of the fight, they choose side with the team that is winning.
And having read this memo, (should you want copies for closer scrutiny, email: garveykarvei(at)ymail.com) it is now your turn to make informed decisions.
To the best of your judgement, based on this one piece of of the jigsaw (more will be coming in this series), is Z Allan Ntata:
- a) Advocating for good governance and piling the pressure on President Peter Mutharika to “save” him (APM) and Malawi from the architects of his brother’s downfall– in which case all Malawians should support him?
- b) Is Ntata just a frustrated attention seeker – worthy of all the ridicule you can muster?
You are the jury, and you are free to double as judges.
When everything has been done and said, what Sri Chinmoy crooned: Ignorance is an enemy, even to its owner and knowledge is a friend, even to its hater; seems to aptly sum up the tale of Z Allan Ntata and the presidency he invested in creating.
I will see you all in the next sequence of this exclusive exposés. Do not browse away.
- Feedback: garveykarvei(at)ymail.com