Malawi’s renowned human rights activist Timothy Mtambo has faulted President Peter Mutharika’s continued silence on the controversy that saw First Lady’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust and Mulhako wa Alhomwe collect money from National Aids Commission (NAC), citing his mute as suspicious.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, the CHRR boss, who is also the spokesperson of the 13th January nationwide demonstrations organized by civil-society groups, indicated that Malawians were still disturbed to-date that President Mutharika and his government [through the Ministry of Health] had decided to remain “silent” on such an important matter like “NACGATE” which was doing more harm than good to his government’s image locally and internationally.
“Why is the President quiet? Does it mean that NACGATE scandal is of no ultimate concern to his government’s professed efforts towards reduction of HIV and AIDS in the country? Why is the President not condemning the act, and calling for swift action in the matter? queried Mtambo.
According to Mtambo, President Mutharika’s continued “silence” may be interpreted by the general public as consent to NACGATE especially considering the media-related propaganda launched by his government against Beam’s refusal to return NAC money and other governance and economic concerns.
“The President’s silence on the matter is making a lot of noise, and to a greater extent his silence may be implied as consent to the malpractice. Yes, such conclusion seems to be well backed up when you see the deep commitment and vigilance Peter Mutharika’s regime has attached to media-related propaganda on both state and its privately controlled media establishments against human rights defenders who have decided to expose NACGATE, and in the process arousing more questions than answers,” argues Mtambo.
State House press office said presidential aides such as Dr Collins Magalasi and Mabvuto Bamusi have been making public comments on the matter and that it did not necessarily need the Head of State to speak himself.
Mtambo also took a swipe to brush off accusations by critics of the street protests.
“Allegations that our planned 13th January 2015 national demonstrations are a rushed one are totally misplaced, and only indicates lack of objectivity on such persons.
“A background of a series of press statements on the subject calling for action, followed by a 7-days ultimatum for the implicated parties to respond and refund the money coupled by a strategic slating of 13th January 2015 (4 weeks after the lapse of the 7-day ultimatum) just to give room for a possible engagement towards the total refunds of the money can never be said to be a rushed idea,” argued Mtambo.
Added Mtambo: “It is beyond reasonable doubt that there was no any political will from the implicated institutions let alone Mutharika’s regime to engage the CSOs concerned with NAC-gate, that is, if the arrogance we have received from NAC, BEAM and Mulhakho Wa Alhomwe is anything to go by. If anything, staging the demonstrations immediately after the lapse of a 7-day ultimatum in mid-December would perhaps arguably be said to have been a rushed idea.”
He said the CSOs feel they have “exhausted all the necessary channels” on the issue, saying the street protests shall also provide Malawians the platform to air out the prevailing governance and economic concerns apart from NACGATE.
“No government-orchestrated propaganda will stop us from this path of reason,” said the outspoken Mtambo.
He said the activists are “more than determined” to fight their cause to the very end in the interest of all Malawians and human rights for all.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :