Two questions on Malawi leader JB assets declaration: Editorial

We note with apprehension that the wheels of the PP administration machinery have gone into an over-drive lately, trying to out-smart each other in announcing to anybody who cares to listen in Malawi that despite having early reservations, President Joyce Banda finally declared her assets early this year.

First to wade in waters was the old-age political strategist, Brown Mpinganjira, who blamed the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) for not telling Malawians that the President had finally seen sense in declaring her assets early this year.

Then sensing trouble, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Willie Samute was very quick in confirming to the press that Banda’s new assets declaration documents were deposited with the Speaker of Parliament.

Without wanting to be outdone in the whole scheme of things, Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu corroborated everything to us on Tuesday that President Banda declared her assets this year.editorial

But this apparent eagerness to declare to Malawians that JB has complied with Assets Declaration constitutional provision should not dupe anyone as the President and her minions know that Malawians are at the moment in shock and furious that while their poverty was getting worse by the day, former the late President Bingu wa Mutharika was busy amassing billions at their expense.

Unless these overzealous officials eager to queue up and to talk about the President’s declaration tell Malawians how much wealth she has amassed and not instead pass the buck to Speaker Henry Chimunthu Banda, it is all empty political propaganda aimed at hoodwinking the people to paint her as better deal than her wayward and greedy predecessor.

Yet all this does not come as a surprise to us. These officials know better than to be told that there is no law in Malawi that forces them to reveal how much the President has declared just as much as there is completely nothing on our books that empowers citizens to demand any information from their government.

And so, unless the Joyce Banda administration goes one better and facilitate the passing of these two laws in Parliament, we, at Nyasa Times are not impressed by the latest Machiavellian underhand dealings on the matter which smack more of politics than a real attempt to deal with an issue that is of great concern to Malawians.

If the Joyce Banda administration is sincere and means well on the matter, then they have two questions to answer to Malawians. Firstly, why did it have to take the revelation that the late Mutharika stashed a cool K61 billion before the President and her officials could tell the nation that she has declared her assets? And secondly, how much does she own?

Only honest answers to the two questions coupled with tangible movements on the laws to empower Malawians to know whether their leaders are acquiring wealth dubiously or not will put the matter to rest.

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