Member of the Malawi Civil Society Led Black Economic Empowerment Movement (Mablem) Taskforce have backed business magnate Leston Mulli for going to court on his claim of K8 billion interests from government, saying he has a right to seek justice.
Some civil society organisations (CSOs) have been questioning Mulli’s claim following the July 20 2011 protests which damaged Mulli’s companies—Sunrise Pharmaceuticals and Chombe Foods.
Following events of July 20, 2011, the two companies sued government for damages due to the destruction of their property during the demonstrations and were awarded damages amounting to K3.1 billion.
However, Mulli is now allegedly seeking to be paid an additional K8 billion in interests on the initial amount already paid.
But in a statement dated August 27 2018 signed by chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba and coordinator Fryson Chonzi, Mablem query the wisdom in questioning a person’s right to the courts
Argues Mablem in part: “While CSOs are at liberty to take any matter to the courts its mind baffling that the same CSOs would want ACB [Anti Corruption Bureau] to investigate an individual who would want the same courts to help when aggrieved. The case in point is about Mulli Brothers claim for interest on funds held by the State. Mulli compensation claims would not have been paid in the first place had the state responded favourably when the court ordered so.”
In its statement, Mablem says as a business person but also a Malawian, Mulli Brothers limited and its owners have the right to access justice when they feel the actions by the state injured them in one-way or the other.
“It is our considered opinion that any person in Malawi has a right to seek justice and relief from the court when feeling aggrieved. This does not matter whether the demands are ridiculous in the CSOs analysis. It is up to the courts to make determination of the same.
“What is sad is that the CSOs would want to assume that by Mulli Brothers asking relief from the court, and then they are being corrupt. Again this is despite the fact that the matter is before our courts which puts the Judge at an awkward position in all fairness as his decision may be affected by the ‘assertions that the claim is frivolous!’ Yet he has to be seen to have done justice in all fairness,” reads the statement.
Mablem says if any individual feels that any claim, such as Mulli is not in the best interest of Malawi, the constitutions guarantees the citizens be it individual or corporate to join cases as friends of the court when they feel the process may not be fair “as opposed to making sarcastic demands and starting portraying the courts as being compromised.”
The group cited an example of the George Chaponda corruption case, where most people cried foul on the outcome when he was cleared in Maizegate scandal, yet no one has shown interest to join ACB appeal case.
“We are further baffled by the attitude of some NGOs and Individuals who continue to portray the courts as being compromised anytime they make a ruling and decision that does not favour their position,” said Mablem in the statement.
Mkwezalamba and Chonzi also head the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and Forum for National Development (FND), respectively.
The two accuses CSOs under the banner of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) that they have adopted an attitude that every person and including the courts must agree with their reasoning and anything to the contrary sounds compromised or underscores corruption.
“Failure to respect the Court decisions on Chaponda case, the Lake Malawi Water Project Case ruling, Mulli Brother’s K3.1Billion compensation as well as the determination by the High court on the fact that Some applicants and NGO’s do not have a mandate to bring to court a matter of Criminal in nature on behalf of Malawians. These are some of the examples where CSOs impunity in failing to respect courts just because the ruling did not favour their thinking.
“However, its mind baffling that when the same courts rules in favour of the CSOs wishes like the case of the DPP Blue Night, they are upheld not to be compromised. We fear this is a wrong precedence being set,” reads the statement.
Mablem also says it has noted what it terms the HRDCs unnecessary mistrust towards the ACB and undue influence on the anti-graft body’s work.
Mkwezalamba and Chonzi issued a statement a day after another group calling itself concerned civil society organisations led by Prophet Amos Tchuma accused the HRDC of having lost direction, arguing the planned anti-government protests on September 7 will not address the challenges Malawians are facing.
Meanwhile, HRDC has accused Mablem members and the Prophet Tchuma led CSOs of being government agents and paid to derail good governance.
“These people are lost. Any institution must be held accountable, be it the courts, ACB, government or the Malawi Human Rights Commission,” HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo.
But Mkwezalamba denied being bankrolled by government, saying they were just checking their fellow CSOs conduct on governance role in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :