MCP asks PP to apologise for ‘Cashgate’ deaths

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has asked the ruling Peoples Party (PP) to publicly acknowledge that it is killing people through plundering of public resources for self-enrichment causing  lack of medication in public health facilities country wide.

An audit British firm showed this week that k13 billion (about $30 million) was stolen in six months from April to September in 2013, during President Joyce Banda’s second year in office.

That equates to more than one percent of the economy in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Kabwila: PP's cashgate is causing death
Kabwila: PP’s cashgate is causing death

MCP spokeswoman Dr Jessie Kabwila  said the cashgate is causing more misery as hospitals have been turned into mortuaries due to lack of medication as money has been stolen by PP officials.

“The last research that came out stated that 17 people were dying every day at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), multiply that with the cashgate days and all hospitals and health centres nationwide; I don’t think there is a calculator enough to document that,” Kabwila said.

Kabwila’s demand for an apology  follows PP’s assertions MCP is a party of full of atrocities and that it will resort to the same once in government.

But PP has described MCP’s demands as shallow and narrow.

“This only shows their weakness as a party without substance hence do not deserve a response,” PP deputy Spokesperson Ken Msonda said.

Kabwila said MCP has acknowledged its past mistakes, unreservedly and apologized profusely for the human rights violations, loss of lives it is responsible for.

“But, PP must remember this is our past. This is the new and reformed MCP. We have asked for forgiveness on this issue and want to emphasize that these atrocities happened in a one party state.

“It is fact that more innocent lives have been lost due to the conduct (atrocities) of the post-1993 ruling parties. What is more troubling, which PP must acknowledge, is that they are killing even more people through cash gate,” she said.

Kabwila said PP must remember that key people in its fold were in the old MCP.

“The first gentleman [Rtd Chief Justice Richard Banda] needs to take responsibility for MCP’s dark past as he was Attorney General. His wife, the PP president [Dr Joyce Banda] herself was our member, too.

“Instead of pointing fingers at a reformed MCP, the most democratic today, a party currently championing servant leadership; the PP leadership should focus on apologies for the role of the first gentleman and its president in old MCP’s mistakes.”

Meanwhile, rights groups are launching anti-government protest vigils Thursday to press for quick action after an audit revealed the cashgate scheme.

“The vigil is the launching of a series of civil disobedience processes to be rolled out in Malawi,” said Lucky Mbewe, spokesman of the Grand Coalition for the Defence of Democracy and the Constitution, which represents more than 200 local and international organisations.

Activists re demanding full disclosure of “all suspects” for the sake of “transparency and accountability”.

The government has not released names of those accused in the so-called Cashgate scandal, for fear of prejudicing ongoing or future trials. There are 68 civil servants and business people already facing trial for graft.

“We want to register our concern with government’s handling of Cashgate,” said Mbewe.

Amid calls for Banda to resign, the rights groups are also concerned that $15 million in proceeds from last year’s sale of the presidential jet have “not been fully accounted for”.

“All we want… is to have a government that is accountable to its people,” said Mbewe.

Information Minister Brown Mpinganjira said the money was used to buy military equipment and staple maize for starving Malawians.

The series of protests are aimed at pushing for a “responsive and accountable” government where leaders “rule and govern by the laws of the land without impudence and arrogance”.

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