I have followed the discussion regarding claims that our immediate past Head of State, late Bingu wa Mutharika, amassed wealth in the region of K61 billion. Taking the large chunk of the discussion is the barrage of condemnation the dead President has received posthumously. This persuaded me to go to the source of the information, which is the story in the Daily Times.
If my reading of the story is not mistaken, and I stand to be corrected, I noticed that the newspaper is quoting an evaluation of the late President’s estate by Mr Yeremiah Chihana, which he has sworn as an affidavit in the High Court of Malawi. I checked the meaning of affidavit in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. This is what it is defined: “Written statement that can be used as evidence in court, made by someone who swears that it is true.”
I am not a lawyer and am aware that in legal circles affidavit may have a different meaning from the ordinary English one. For this reason I will welcome the legal minds to school me in terms of the legal misunderstandings that may be exposing as I make my argument.
That said, from the English meaning of affidavit, the information with regard to late Mutharika’s wealth is simply speculative because it has not be contested and proven as such. It is in a statement that someone in the name of Yeremiah Chihana has made available to court to be considered as evidence.
Unless I am missing some information, the matter has not been settled yet to take for granted that late Mutharika was indeed K61 billion worth. If I am correct that this matter is not concluded, and if I am also right that it is only based on an affidavit of Mr Chihana, why is late Mutharika being condemned, and in some extreme cases even called a thief.
Unless I am missing something, I find the condemnation premature and despicable because they are not based on fact. Then it begs the question: why can’t we wait until the matter is settled, and then we can roar out our anger when it is proven as the affidavit claims? I may be wrong, school me.
I may also have to be helped by those with journalism expertise. I am told that reports in journalism must be based on fact, balance, fairness and objectivity. If this is true, does the report in the Daily Times pass these cardinals of journalism practice?
The headline of the story screams BINGU’s WEALTH EXPOSED, and when you look for the expose in the story, you find that it is a mere affidavit, which does not make the finding of the newspaper (that Bingu’s wealth has been exposed) valid. Simply put, what would persuade The Daily Times to conclude that Bingu is worth K61 billion when the premise they are using is not in itself conclusive?
To me, the wealth of Bingu has not been exposed because the basis for that conclusion does not exist. Further, I would be ready to express my disappointment with the professional handling of the story. It screams about something that does not cause alarm yet.
Assuming what the newspaper has written is true, how is society helping that the current President never to accumulate wealth that is startling? As Bingu is being condemned (based on the assumption) are systems in place to prevent those in the corridors of power from seizing opulence from means they can’t explain?
*The author is identified as ‘DPP’ and posted this comment on social mediaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :