Malawi President Banda, gigantic potholes ahead!

Preamble:

Shocking information is coming up revealing just how deeply President Bingu wa Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led administration was mired in corruption, contrary to the song of “zero tolerance”.

A lot of dirt is and will flow. In confidence and without pre-empting others, I have been made to believe that a lot of information is surfacing. And one can only hope that the Malawi media will do the needful.

But, where should I start?

The July 20, 2011 Demonstrations are as good as any point to start. Although in all honesty, the fraud goes back further than that.

I will begin with the obvious, and what is already known as evidenced by the untimely death of the murdered whistle-blower, Robert Chasowa (RIP).

President Banda: We are watching how government will conduct itself in the award of contracts.

After the 20 July demonstrations, another mass demonstration was planned for August 17, 2011. At the eleventh hour, it was called off by some Civil Society leaders citing “security concerns” and that the police did not have enough rubber bullets.

Information later emerged that some Civil Society members had been bribed with MWK 5 million each, graciously provided by Mulli Brothers Limited, to call off the demonstration. Robert Chasowa and his associates also provided additional insights on the devious means used by the DPP government.

The allegations of high level bribery were refuted on both side – but unconvincingly. Sadly for the truth and the light, Robert Chasowa died before telling his story.

The PAC Ultimatum:

After the historical March 14, 2012 Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Indaba, the same idea – to corrupt the leaders – was revisited by the DPP politburo. At a high level meeting it was resolved and agreed that bribes be paid to PAC Officials including some members of the clergy.

For this purpose, a taskforce chaired by Goodal Gondwe was set up. Other members were Sidik Mia – retained and serving the current government as a Minister, Binton Kutsaira, Nicholaus Dausi, Yunus Valentine Musa and Henry Musa.

The brief for this task-force was to fundraise for this round of bribery.

The taskforce was successful and MWK 50 million was raised. This MWK 50 million was paid to some influential members of PAC and, again, some civil society members who reminiscent of Judas Iscariot sold their souls to the devil and betrayed their holy conscience.

The result was that PAC Resolutions, when they came out from the PAC Boardroom, were a far cry from the recommendations made by the delegates at the convention.

Who were the donors of this round of corruption?

Donors for this venture were what I will, from now onwards, refer to as the fertilizer cartel.

These are companies that have, over the Mutharika Administration’s tenure – been providing fertilizer for the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) – and these donations were paybacks and guarantees for future business.

Naming and shaming:

As always, I am not one to hesitate when I have solid evidence.

And I will dare, without fear of repercussions, to go ahead and name and bring to shame these thieving fertilizer barons; who provided the DPP the wherewithal to corrupt PAC Officials.

Contributions  were collected as follows:

  • MWK 10 million from Abdul Master – Nyiombo Investments
  • MWK 10 million from Jimmy Yianakis – Farmers world;
  • MWK 5 million from Dipak Jevant – Sealand Investments;
  • MWK 5 million from contributed Mapeto Wholesalers;
  • MWK 5 million from Karim – Kukoma Oil;
  • MWK 10 million from Mahesh Patel – Export trading; and
  • MWK 5 million from Simama.

What next?

After the money had been duly distributed, a meeting was set with the PAC members and the result was what we all saw: watered down resolutions minus the ultimatums.

Betrayal of the highest order, and from the least expected quarters: from men of the collar!

Probably this is why the Almighty decided to intervene, after all who and what else would have saved the ordinary man and woman in village?

Enter Verbal Diarrhoea:

Unfortunately one Patricia Kaliati, with her penchant for verbal diarrhoea, spoke too soon and too early. In fact, she spoiled the deal, the trust and broke Omertà by telling all and sundry that the clergy and some PAC members were demanding money from DPP.

Members of the clergy were angry. It was not that they had demanded money; they had actually been offered – out of the blues – scones huge scones to shut them up. Of course in the final analysis it does not matter, but who said there is honour among thieves?

Nevertheless they demanded an apology from the highest quarters – and the story reached the apex of the DPP.

 

Bingu’s last morning:

The late President Bingu wa Mutharika, upon learning Kaliati’s lack of discretion, simply lost it. This was on April 5, 2011.

Mrs Kaliati will one day, in this life or the next, tell the story of how the late president shouted at her, dressing her down on top of his voice, on the morning of the unforgettable April 5, 2011.

Enter the new president:

The fertiliser mafia have since already met President Joyce Banda and one can safely assume that the tender 2012/13 farming season featured highly on their agenda.

For the record, they apologised and told her and the entire nation that they had no choice but to do business with President Bingu wa Mutharika and his cronies because they were threatened.

This is total baloney.

Potholes ahead:

The fact is: this cartel, plus Mulli Brothers Limited, destroyed President Bingu wa Mutharika and unless President Joyce Banda is steadfast, she will fall into the same trap.

If President Joyce Banda needs added motivation to:

1.      resist the huge sums of money they may already have offered, and

2.      get to the bottom of these revelations (which using state resources should really be a piece of cake);

she should be aware that the donor community plus the same intelligence sources that helped thwart a coup on April 6, 2011 are watching.

And watching they are not only the fertiliser subsidy tender currently in progress but how this new government will conduct itself in the award of government contracts.

If the same corrupt people and their corrupt businesses continue calling the shots, then nothing will have changed and for sure, the donors will throttle the aid taps again.

Can Malawi risk going down this road again? Or to drive the point home, can President Joyce Banda afford to be associated with corruption? Yes she could, and is she did, like Zambia’s ex-President Rupiah Banda, who failed toi reign in corruption, her presidency would be short, very short.

No two ways about it.

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