Former president Joyce Banda has added her voice to calls for President Peter Mutharika to resign to allow those who carry the hopes of Malawi people take over after claims that he and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) received about K145 million ($195,000) from a contractor supplying food rations to Malawi police.
Mutharika’s spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said President Mutharika had done nothing wrong after the leaked Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) report went viral on social media.
But Banda in quotes reported by international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) asked Mutharika to do the right thing and resign.
“When a president is not involved looting or shady deals he or she does not hesitate to instruct arrests of those involved… he should therefore respond to Malawians call to step down,” Banda is quoted as saying.
She said Mutharika cannot continue in office.
Banda, who is seeking the nomination of her People’s Party to contest for presidency in polls due in May 2019, joined civil society organisations, main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) for the president to resign.
The former president’s party secretary general Ibrahim Matola described DPP as “a club of professional[s]– who have been plundering public resources” since the time of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
“They accuse us [PP] of Cashgate, but we did our best to bring all wrongdoers to book. We never shielded anyone. And here we have a leadership which is [allegedly] benefiting from Cashgate, how can he fight corruption? Let Malawians speak against this in next year’s elections,” said Matola in quotes reported by local newspaper, The Nation.
Banda has also accused the Mutharika administration’s failure to arrest any individual in connection with the K236 billion Cashgate.
She was embroiled in the Cashgate—the plunder of public resources at Capital Hill exposed under her watch in 2013— but the former president has made statements clearing her name from the scandal.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi, who is also the official government spokesperson, said institutions such as the Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have responsibility to investigate and prosecute and “it is not up to the President to ask them to do that.”
Malawi will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in May 2019 at a time when corruption cases have recently rocked the country’s politics.