Malawi in governance crisis, says law scholar: ‘K4bn MPs fund unconstitutional’

Reputable legal expert Chikosa Silungwe has said the  decision  to share the K4 billion rural development funds among all the 193 constituencies from  “budget by-pass” is  unconstitutional and warned that if Treasury was to proceed with the disbursement of such funds to the District Councils it risks facing legal action.

Chikosa Silungwe: Sharing of the K4bn unbudgeted funds is illegal act

Government said it will distribute the funds to all the 193 constituencies following pressure from the opposition members of Parliament (MPs) and other stakeholders who accused it of flouting procedures in acquiring the resources.

The alleged government’s dishonest course came to light last week after it emerged that government had allocated K40 million each to 86 MPs allegedly as a reward for voting against the Electoral Reforms Bills last December.

However, during Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) program “Mphepo Zinayi” aired on Sunday, lawyer Silungwe said it was misleading for some quarters to suggest that the fact that MPs had agreed to share the K4 billion amongst themselves targeting all 193 Constituencies meant that nothing could be done on the matter to rectify the illegal act, arguing that the Parliament’s concensus on the issue was illegal and unconstitutional.

Ndalama zimenezi sizovolemezeka malingana ndimalamulo adzikolinu. Kugwirizana kunachitika pakati pa aphungu ndikolakwikapamalamulo a dziko la Malawi (Whatever consensus or so-called approval MPs had on the K4 billion was illegal and unconstitutional in as far as our laws in Malawi are concerned.”

“There was no law which was passed to support the K4 Billion as per the constitution, Finance Management Act and Public Audit Act.  If there was no law passed to support the deliberations of K4 Billion and how it would be administered, then any agreement made by MPs across political divide on the issue was illegal and unconstitutional,”said Silungwe, a legal consultant, author and former deputy Law Reform Officer at Malawi Law Commission.

Silungwe said that the ball was now in the citizens and civil society groups to demand accountability on the issue by amongst other things petitioning Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) or seeking Judicial Review in Court in order to examine government and Parliament decision on the matter and also suspend any disbursement of such funds as the K4 billion was illegal money.

Taking his turn in the same program, Catholic Commission for Justice (CCJP) National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana said that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government and the entire Parliament had conducted themselves in this K4 Billion saga was a betrayal to the nation, and showed that their sole motivation in the whole saga was to pursue their personal or party interest rather than public interest.

The observation was shared by another panellist Beatrice Mateyu, an activist, who further faulted government for failing to follow the procedures in how it had handled this issue.

A governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali told the program that the K4 Billion dubious fund scandal had only amplified the existing notion that “we have a crooked government – a government that cannot be trust – which is hell-bent at enticing the Opposition and others to join – as accomplice – in pursing selfish agenda rather than public interest”.

Added Munthali: “Malawians must wake up and practice active citizenship. The problem we have in this country is that people love their political parties more than their country. As such, you see MCP and DPP supporters justifying their political leaders in the whole saga. Consequently, these politicians continue to loot our tax payers money. It’s time we started to agree on what is in the public interest.

“Without beating about the bush, it is clear that the whole K4 Billion dubious fund scandal was not about bringing about projects but rather rewarding patronage and also for political campaign in readiness of 2019 elections,” said Munthali, a former National Secretary of the Ethics, Peace and Justice Commission (EPJC) and National Advocacy Coordinator for Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR).

Munthali warned that if the K4 Billion scandal issue was not pursued to the end it had the potential of creating a bad precedence.

“It would be like we have legalised contravening of government procedures as well as public theft. We should take this as a serious governance crisis which we must be addressed as a matter of urgency”, added Munthali.

Meanwhile, Civil Society organisations in Malawi have renewed their calls for President Peter Mutharika to fire Finance Minister Goodwell Gondwe and Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa for the role they played out in the scandal warning that if their calls continue to fall on deaf ears they will seek legal redress and will mobilise Malawians for nationwide demonstrations.

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Reputable lawyer? My foot! Za ziii…

Does this mean that only the DPP MPs voted in favor of the MK4Bn? I am asking because the clean opposition MPs could have easily turned the tables in parliament – but how many of the opposition MPs voted against such a fund? We need the statistics before we can condemn DPP all through, neither should we applaud DPP for giving in to the scandalous demands of the MPS in parliament. We are not happy because this is coming against the backdrop of many cases of misappropriation of funds at district council level. Everything should be done by the voters… Read more »
Reputable legal expert Chikosa Silungwe has said the decision to share the K4 billion rural development funds among all the 193 constituencies from “budget by-pass” is unconstitutional and warned that if Treasury was to proceed with the disbursement of such funds to the District Councils it risks facing legal action. I can make a prediction Chikosa Silungwe. DPP will go ahead and disburse the funds amongst the 193 constituencies (against the law as stated) and nothing and I say, nothing will happen to any of the affected politicians. They will create another (bigger) scandal and all of us will chasing… Read more »
Listen and Love
Regime Change now. It’s now or never. This party in government must be immediately removed by THE PEOPLE OF MALAWI. With unity of purpose, nationwide continous demonstrations we must clean up government from massive plunder and looting of funds by these freebooters. DPP is a group of gangsters who are obsessed with irresistible impulse and irrational urge to steal tax payers money. They now connive with the opposition to invade and terrorise public funds at large scale to tear the country into pieces like vicious hyenas. Now is the time to clean up the government from money robbers. Let us… Read more »
Matsinya Pachipumi
Peter Mutharika ndi chithuza chozaza ndimafinya, chabweretsa fever muMalawi muno, I feel ashamed to be called a Malawian as a Nation we are going nowhere!!! our leaders are very old with selfish ambitions on top of that they act like adulidwa mitu even a simple reasoning is very challenging to them. Malawi Dzuka!!! wakonona mokwana!! This government is taking one step ahead then 20 steps backward. Peter Muthalika cant you pitty for Malawians??? acting like you have never been outside? cant you see what is happening in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Botswana kodi simungasilireko abale inu????? If malawi was a child then… Read more »

We have inept DPP leadership, who just want to enrich themselves and their relatives, all problems Malawi is facing, the root cause is DPP. Talk of blackouts, we’re still experiencing continued loadshading, no drugs in hospitals, low education standards etc and yet our president akuima pachulu kuti zinthu zikuyenda bwino — zowona?????


Santana, u’ve spoken my mind


Peter mutharika is a curse to Malawi. All what he knows is just talking about rooting out corruption and yet he has cajones to act. If he can’t act on this very straight forward issue then he has no business staying at state house. This guy is simply a liability to Malawi and Malawians the earlier we accept that this peter is a worst of time the better for the future of this country. The guy is irritatingly inept .


Zoona zokhazokha.

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