Malawi ‘Policegate’: Implicating Mutharika, Karim equals mob justice

Amidst the hullabaloo that has engulfed the country following the leaked document allegedly from the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), someone said Malawians are fond of passing judgment on fellow Malawians without looking at the proper merits of the issue at hand.

President Mutharika: No wrong doing

He equated the current ‘Policegate’ saga to the mob justice practice popular in the late 90s and early 2000 when it was enough to just shout “thief” in order to have people  to descend on anyone they did not like with mob justice.

Many innocent people in our cities, town centres and even the villages lost their lives to the mob justice, which spread like wild fire that time. It was, in fact, safe for suspected thieves to seek refuge at police stations than to be caught by a mob. People knew that the likely consequences with a mob was a burning vehicle tyre around one’s neck and inevitable.

It was common for all ‘thieves’ to run to police stations for protection whenever they were chased by a mob. It was total lawlessness.

That time it was also clear that our police had also somehow lost control of the situation, and no sane Malawian would want to go back to that dark era of our history as a country, the Warm Heart of Africa.

To say that the leaked report has created so much buzz on the social as well as mainstream media is an understatement. Every Jim and Jack now thinks they have the right to wake up and comment or shout “thief” because everyone else is doing it.

Quite a majority of people now think they are capable of throwing a salvo or two at the alleged culprit because it seems to be fashionable to do so. With this kind of practice, we could be going back to the sad mob justice days of the late 90s.

The principles of natural justice demand that all sides to an issue or argument must be heard in order to cultivate facts to arrive at a fair decision acceptable by all sides.

But the way President Peter Mutharika, the governing DPP and Zameer Karim of Pioneer Investments have been tried, judged and crucified by the court of public opinion has just been frustrating and plain unfair. It is akin to the mob justice days of the late 90s when kangaroo courts roamed down the streets, and did not allow people to be heard. This is not right and we will not progress as Malawians if we continue down this path.

Pioneer Investments was registered in 2008, and Zameer Karim has been at the helm of the company for 11 good years. The company has been operating smoothly, and in conformity with accepted corporate governance rules and best practices. There was not a time over the organization’s tenure of operation that it was found to be on the wrong end of the law, and it is not about to do that now.

Like any well-meaning corporate entities, Pioneer Investments responded to a tender invitation from Police Department to supply ration-packs. Its bid was the one found to be particularly responsive because the price that the company offered was much lower than the rest of the companies that responded.

The fact that the company was awarded the tender should therefore not shock anyone because this is normally how government procurement works.

The business environment is also often dynamic. Companies the world over, including in Malawi, operate in a complicated and intertwined global village where events taking place a world away can affect economies in another continent sometimes in a profound manner.

In order to mitigate against such contingencies, an allowance for adjustment is always often provided for in public procurement to avoid losses, and it was perfectly in order for Pioneer Investments to adjust the price of the ration packs in light of prevailing economic variables.  There was nothing illegal.

All over the world, donations to political parties are allowed and Malawi can never be an exception. All political parties in this country receive donations either from local or international benefactors. In fact, our laws in this country do not forbid anyone from donating to any political party in a manner they deem fit.

Zameer Karim is a Malawian of Asian origin, and just like all Malawians, he is entitled to political thought and to belong to any political party of his choice.

If Karim believes in the ideology of the DPP and felt like helping the party to advance that ideology, he was well within his human rights boundaries to donate to the party that he loves. No one could stop him.

The DPP was also within its boundaries to receive the donation because it is not illegal for political parties in this country to receive a donation of any amount from anyone.

Again, it is not stipulated in the DPP constitution about how it should operate its bank accounts or indeed how it must manage its finances. That matter is left to the leadership of the party to create a financial management framework that they think would best serve its interests.

By creating an account and making Mutharika, as President of the party, the sole signatory the DPP has done nothing illegal and was perfectly within its legal boundaries.

The party has simply crafted a perfect management framework that it thinks will better serve its interests, specifically about its headquarters building project.

The usual hypocrites and later-day naysayers should, therefore, not take this as an opportunity to act ‘holier-than-thou’ when in real sense they are engaged in real and more heinous financial malfeasance than the one they are allegedly trying to moralize against.

The social media is a good thing because it helps in the sharing of information, particularly now when we are living in the digital era of informed societies.  However, the social media can also be an anathema to democracy in that some people have taken advantage of the medium to peddle hate and to inflame situations.

This is wrong and all well-meaning Malawians must not allow this to happen. It must be the duty of all of us to be our friend’s keeper so that we promote just societies; we must not use the so-called ‘policegate’ to peddle lies or promote vested interests based on narrow political agendas.

President Mutharika and the DPP did nothing wrong to accept the donation, neither did Zameer Karim by making the donation to the party. There is nothing illegal about it, nothing at all.

  • Kelvin Masambo is a social and political commentator based in Blantyre

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in this article are those of the author

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Nabetha
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Nabetha

Children are being stoned to death even this day but you dare to speak as if the practice is history!! Very annoying article! Your masters are known for storing cartons of money in their houses instead of creating rehabilitation houses for juveniles to reduce juvenile criminality! Let them enjoy stolen money and wait to seen their great great grand children get stoned to death sooner or later then they will know the real feel of mob justice. REMEMBER WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND. Political positions are but for a short while, If you think I am kidding ask Sadam Hussein,Hitler,… Read more »

Panganani
Guest

I beg to differ. I can honestly not state that Piooner Investments have been operating following good corporate governance rules since incorporation in 2008 as alluded to in the article. I find this line of thought faulty. PIONEER investment is the same company that was involved in tendering and SUPPLYING FURNITURE FOR THE CHIEF SECRETARY AT MK67M.Secondly, that a party- which a corporate body, could be allowed to open an account with only one signature is means that the account into which the alleged donation was deposited is not a party account-which to me is common sense. My inference therefore… Read more »

David
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David

People like you! the author of this article are the ones supporting corruption and ruining Malawi in the long run. Nyasatimes must be ashamed for sinking so low like this. No one is passing judgement on your corruption masters. People are free to express their opinions. They can speculate as they wish because they are looking for answers

Nabetha
Guest
Nabetha

I am in total agreement with you please nyasa times stop endorsing some of these sh…….hole articles written by sick minds after they have been given sikono/ chibinladen. Don’t perpetrate suffering of ordinary Malawians in favour of the corrupt few!!!

Kyala
Guest
Kyala

It is people like you the author that perpetuate and support corruption in the country. Unbelievable what you say. Haven’t you noticed that every corrupt thieving dpp person when caught with bribe or fraudulently acquired money claims that it is dpp party money? And all us foolish Malawians fall for it. After that the money is shared amongst themselves. Everyone who is serious about killing corruption in Malawi wouldn’t have followed the so obvious poor governance and lack of proper accountability that dpp, peter and pioneer did in this deal. It is a joke the way dpp manages its finances… Read more »

Mofolo
Guest
Mofolo

From this week you will see articles like these every where include in social media. DPP and state house are busy recruiting spin doctors to write articles and comments backing Peter on police gate and are paying handsomely for such articles and comments. I was approached two days ago but I refused.

Samuel
Guest
Samuel

Show me the way my friend I am also ready to write. Why are you voiceless on this loud crying baby who got cashgate money through the sale of a house.???????????KkkkkkkkkkYour hands are not clean.

Chikoka
Guest
Chikoka

The writer is naive!

Waku Gauteng
Guest
Waku Gauteng

Surely in a country where corruption is a big problem head honchos need to uphold rules of corporate governance. In the absence of the law it does not make it right for one person to be the sole signatory of an organisation. It makes the organisation the breeding ground for dubious commercial decisions. The writer of the article does not fully address the problem at hand. The problem at hand is that Malawi is riddled with politicians that are high on stealing and that needs to be addressed. I will also argue that if that is left unchecked we will… Read more »

Manyozo
Guest
Manyozo

i own a business myself and am a sole signatory in all the bank account of the business, nothing strange with that lol

ndangodutsamo
Guest

the Author whatever you call yourself – your are sick.
Your article shows that there is no corruption in the world – the word corruption in your mind should be deleted. /
shame for making foolish arguements.

Chikoka
Guest
Chikoka

The article was writer by a DPP supporter. The writer is defending corruption

Suarez
Guest
Suarez

In a democratic world everyone is entitled to their views and opinions. The author is right to mention that he has expressed his views. To those of you calling this article rubbish and useless, shame on you. You are the very people that are killing democracy in this nation.

We should tolerate other peoples views and opinions.Variety is the spice of life.

Jojo
Guest
Jojo

Democracy comes with responsibility. If someone kills another person in cold blood then a writer comes defending the killer as a way of expressing their opinion, that would be utterly nonsensical. Kusapota ababa chifukwa ngantundu wathu, corrupt or no corrupt, is what is killing democracy. Mediocrity and foolishness should not be tolerated in the name of defending democracy.

Kyala
Guest
Kyala

Yes, democratically, everyone is entitled to their views but does that mean all views are right or correct? The view of supporting or glorifying corruption or malpractice, is that right or good for the country? Similarly all of us are entitled to freedom of speech but we have to be careful with what we say because we can be sued if we make false allegations. But it is still freedom of speech. The corruption here is so blatantly obvious, please don’t defend the indefensible. Cash gate being repeated all over again as some of expected it to continue under this… Read more »

TzzKa
Guest
TzzKa

Like Bingu said, Malawians are only warm-hearted to foreigners, Ndiife ankhanza kwa a Malawi anzathu. Our thinking and mentality is so dangerous that even in the next 200 years we wont see any positive strides. We enjoy when our neighbour zamuonekela, thats why kuli mau oti “Neba uziona”. Our neighbours naturally are our enemies. Regardless how you look at it, our mindset will hold us back forever we all have a mob mentality thinking and so far it has not benefitted us, look at how we hate each other in the communities. The only thing that a Malawian is capable… Read more »

Sekanawo
Guest
Sekanawo

What ever u call urself ur worse than a man who has stoneheart, ur more than a monster! How could do shielding this pathetic illuminati blood suckers regime!? Do u really have any i dear what ur defending!? Yes everyone has the right to express his/her view that’s absolutely true, but u need to see the argument first before u get ur ass involved! Coz this is serious issue and let me remind u that only this tym u and me can take action is now coz after next year if nothing get done now! 17+ million Malawian will continue… Read more »

Chikoka
Guest
Chikoka

Tiye uko iwe. Mbuzi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You want us to be smiling at corruption. Malawi is still the poorest country on earth even by 2017 statistics. One reason is because money meant for the poor goes into corrupt politicians like ambuyako a Peter Mutharika.

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