One of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) founding members and former cabinet minister in the Peter Mutharika administration, Henry ‘Mtengowaminga’ Mussa has said he is the latest victim of a calculated smear and mudslinging campaign by suspected political enemies who have been publishing falsehoods to tarnish his “good image”.
Speaking to Nyasa Times on Tuesday in Blantyre, Mussa claimed a certain individual who uses Gogo Gowoka as a pseudonym on Facebook and other social media platforms “but his real name is Upson Mkandawire”, has been publishing articles that Mussa allegedly borrowed funds amounting to K40 million from Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDEF), now called the National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF), and that he has defaulted on payment.
In one of the said Facebook posts that Nyasa Times has seen, Gogo Gowoka claims that Mussa got a K40 million loan from NEEF and that “he has not paid back even K1,000”.
However, a NEEF official said the Gowoka’s allegations are baseless as Mussa does not owe the organization such an amount of money. He, however, admitted Mtengowaminga Mussa was a guarantor for some youths from Chiradzulu East where he was an MP. The youths got the loan(s) but far less than K40 million in total, which they used to buy fertilizers for their farming business, according to the NEEF official, who preferred anonymity.
“Since he was the guarantor, we have engaged him all along to recover the loan(s) and, indeed, there is a balance, which is far much less than what the Gowoka gentleman is alleging,” he said but could not be drawn into divulging further details.
Mussa, seemingly distraught, said the allegations published by Gowoka “and others” are unacceptable, uncalled for and libelous.
“These allegations are false and malicious. They are a defamation of my character. I am consulting my legal team to map out the way forward with regard to how I am going to defend myself and protect my integrity as a grandfather, father, husband, businessman, Christian as well as politician. Obviously, I am taking legal action against Mr. Upson Mkandawire alias Gogo Gowoka,” said Mussa.
Last week, police in Lilongwe arrested a man over a Facebook post in which he allegedly advised Malawians to regularly check their bank accounts as money was being stolen in financial institutions. Ignatius Kamwanje was arrested over a Facebook post that money had gone missing at the National Bank of Malawi.
Kamwenje also claimed that there was a cartel that was stealing money at the bank leading to four arrests. The bank then reported the matter to the police, as they said the claims were untrue, leading to Kamwanje’s arrest.
Attempts to speak to Mkandawire or Gogo Gowoka proved futile as his number was perpetually out of reach.