Secretary General of the erstwhile ruling Peoples’s Party (PP) Ibrahim Matola irked the high-powered delegation of 11 officials from government to the sixth All-Inclusive Stakeholders Conference organised by Public Affairs Committee (PAC) in Blantyre when he said the Peter Mutharika administration was full of “professional thieves”.
Matola claimed Malawi has a “corrupt” government.
His comments did not go down well with the government delegation.
But there were more scratching attacks to government that followed.
In his presentation titled ‘corruption: its impact on social economic development in Malawi,” economist Henry Kachaje said there is “lack of leadership” as corruption is worsening.
Kachaje, who is also president of the Economist Association of Malawi (Ecama), said there are selected people in government who are benefitting from corruption and want to silence those rebuking the vice.
“It is interesting to see that there are people who were very noisy during the last conference, but are now quiet because they have changed sides (now with government). You wonder if their ideologies have changed, but no, that is what money can do. But you should know that some of us love this country so much and be assured we cannot be silenced.
“This country is poor and corrupt because it has no leaders,” he said.
In his presentation on public trust, Garton Kamchezera, a law professor at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), said Malawians have lost trust in government.
“There is erosion of public trust, evidenced by poor governance and lack of accountability,” he said.
Government had claimed that it had not been invited to the conference but the governance watchdog insisted they were invited and confirmed attendance.
And PAC executive secretary Robert Phiri said government asked for more representation at the conference and they allowed them.
At the meeting in Blantyre, government had a delegation which included presidential advisors Hetherwick Ntaba, Mabvuto Bamusi, Apostle Timothy Khoviwa and director of communications for State House Bright Molande.
Others attending the conference are senior cabinet ministers who include Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie Mhango.
Also attending the conference are ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary general Greselder Jeffrey wa Jeffrey, national legal advisor Charles Mhango, MP and regional governor for south Charles Mchacha as well as Ken Msonda a member.
PAC chairperson Reverend Dr. Felix Chingota challenged that the quasi religious organisation will not be stampeded to promote falsehood as it continue its watchdog role to proclaim the truth and held those in power accountable.
“We will not fold our hands because of castigations or mudslinging from some quarters and within ourselves,” he said
Chingota said government has been parading civil society organisations bankrolled from State House, and chiefs on the tax-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation to castigate PAC and the conference.
He said Malawi needs a new political architect to turn things around, saying the conference is for the larger good of the nation
“We are aware in modern times; children of darkness have become smarter than children of the light. However, truth and justice will prevail, PAC shall remain PAC,” Chingota said.
Fifty-three years after independence, Malawi, by most measures, remain not just one of the poorest nations in the world, but also an unequal society with a majority living below the poverty line while struggling with poor living conditions and disease and malnutrition.
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