For the past four weeks Malawians from all walks of life have been expressing fury that while they were wailing and gnashing teeth with excruciating poverty due to the poor economic policies of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, he was in turn amassing and stashing a fortune home and abroad to the obscene levels of K61 billion.
We, at Nyasa Times, expected that Bingu’s heir, Peter Mutharika and his DPP, would commit an act of penance and show some semblance of contriteness before Malawians for him to stand any chance of winning them over to achieve his now battered ambition to claim the State House during next year’s election.
To our shock and dismay, Peter Mutharika is exhibiting none of the above traits and instead he is acting like a spoilt child, arrogantly accusing government of trying to grab the property of his brother by demanding K5 billion as tax from his deceased estate.
The State collects tax from all deceased estates in Malawi and the late Bingu wa Mutharika one cannot be an exception to be tagged as deceased property grabbing as Peter Mutharika is regrettably suggesting.
As for the other State institutions such as the Anti Corruption Bureau showing interest in the late Bingu wa Mutharika estate, they are merely doing their job for which Malawians pay them to check such things when they go wrong.
When everything is said and done, Peter Mutharika must simply accept that it is merely outrageous and suspicious for his brother’s wealth to shoot from a mere K150 million in assets when he ascended to the presidency in 2004 to a mega K61 billion by last year when he died.
This comes as no surprise for a president whose government sat on the Law Commission recommendations and a bill of an enabling Act to operationalise and tighten the Declaration of Assets constitutional provision for many years as that would have stopped him in his tracks as he was amassing his vast fortune.
Today, it is arrogance of the highest order and a shameless deep sense of elitist entitlement for Peter Mutharika to imagine that Malawians and government would just sit back and watch as his family enjoys this ill-gotten wealth for fear of being accused of property grabbing.
Until and unless there is evidence to the contrary, Bingu’s wealth is suspicious and must be probed. This cannot be done unless State institutions such as ACB and the courts are left free to their own devices to do their job on the late Mutharika’s estate.
But we have a simple piece of advice to Peter Mutharika. At best he can try to distance himself from his brother’s obscene wealth if at all he still cares about his ambition of one day ruling Malawians. At worst, he can keep his mouth shut which would stop angering Malawians further than the K61 billion which his brother amassed using the position that they gave him when they voted him into power in 2004 and 2009.