Governance activist and fierce critic of President Peter Mutharika, Z. Allan Ntata has put out a challenge to Malawi leader to debate him one-to-one on matters of corruption and governance.
Ntata was legal adviser to the President’s elder brother, Bingu wa Mutharika, who ruled the country from 2004 until his death in April 2012.
He has turned to be a fierce critic of President Mutharika and the Head of State has since dragged him and Nyasa Times to court for defamation.
In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Ntata sent a provocative message President Mutharika by challenging him to a one-on-one debate on matters of corruption.
But Ntata stated that the Head of State will chicken out the debate judging on the way he has been coy to face parliament’s Question’s Time political grilling.
“Just like any patriotic Malawi who wants to see Malawi going places in deed and not just via rhetoric, I would love to engage President Peter Mutharika in debate on corruption issues in his administration that need to be urgently addressed,” Ntata told Nyasa Times.
Ntata said he “doubt” if Mutharika will have “the guts” for a head-to-head encounter with him.
President Mutharika through his Press Secretary Gerald Viola said Ntata is leader of “a few disgruntled individuals” who were ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) campaigners.
State House labelled Ntata as a “frustrated” individual who is on a mudslinging campaign against the President and his special aide Ben Phiri.
But Ntata shot down the accusations, saying he has a job and is “enjoying immensely”. He also said he turned down an offer for a job from Mutharika.
Ntata said he takes a “frustrated failure” tag as an “honour in recognition of my humble contribution to the effort and voices of those crying for good governance in Malawi and honestly, I am looking forward to the day when history will vindicate me.”
He pointed out that late president Bingu wa Mutharika could not hire him as his legal advisor if he was a failure when he had his brother, now the President, a law professor.
“Why did late Bingu hire a ‘failure’ like me, when he could have been simply getting advice – for free – from his brother? This – in itself – speaks volumes,” said Ntata.
He argued that if indeed he is a failure, “why is State House and government machinery wasting time (and resources) responding to a failure?”
On the defamation suit by the President, Ntata who is a UK trained barrister, said he has learnt about it through the media but will decide on what action to take if he is served with lawsuit if it “merits any defence or not.”
But on debate, Ntata challenges Mutharika to meet him any time, any place, anywhere.
- Here is part one of the interviews Thom Chiumia (TC) of Nyasa Times had with Ntata:
TC, Nyasa Times: Would you debate His Excellency President Prof Peter Mutharika openly on matters of corruption and governance?
Ntata: Just like any patriotic Malawi who wants to see Malawi going places in deed and not just via rhetoric, I would love to engage Pres Peter Mutharika in debate on corruption issues in his administration that need to be urgently addressed.
But recalling how President Peter Mutharika buried his head in sand when summoned by parliament recently, I doubt if he would have the guts to debate with me.
TC, Nyasa Times: State house claims you’re a frustrated failure, what’s your take?
This is a standard accolade that failed states or states heading in that direction, ascribe to any voice of reason.
If you know the history of Malawi, you will be aware that there are many well-meaning Malawians, dead and alive, that were once denigrated as motivated by “frustration” or “jealousy” but are now held in high esteem.
I therefore take this “frustrated failure” tag as an honour in recognition of my humble contribution to the effort and voices of those crying for good governance in Malawi and honestly, I am looking forward to the day when history will vindicate me.
Having said that, for the record I want to say this again, I have a job I am enjoying immensely and have never asked Mutharika for a job. On the contrary, I turned down a job that he offered me.
Talking about failure(s), you may be aware that late President Bingu wa Mutharika, knowing very well that he had sibling supposedly well learned and versed in law, chose me as his legal advisor.
The question therefore is: why did late Bingu hire a “failure” like me, when he could have been simply getting advice – for free – from his brother?
This – in itself – speaks volumes.
And let us, for argument sake, say that I am indeed a failure, why is state house and government machinery wasting time (and resources) responding to a failure?
TC, Nyasa Times: Are you ready to defend the lawsuit by Mutharika on defamation?
Ntata: I have heard about this lawsuit through the media, the very media that Mutharika so loves to despise. With respect to what my course of action will be, I will decide whether this lawsuit merits any defence or not when I have been served the documents and details.”
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