The National Anti-Corruption Alliance has challenged political parties in the Tonse Alliance to make public all agreements they entered into, as an assurance that the new government will not shield partners who need to be prosecuted.
In an interview yesterday, the alliance chairperson Moses Mkandawire said the move is essential because political alliances sometimes become breeding grounds for crime, whereby those who broke the law in the past enjoy protection from due prosecution by sympathetic government partners.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM Party–fielding their leaders Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima as presidential candidate and running mate respectively–went into a pact with seven other parties which ousted Democratic Progressive Party’s Peter Mutharika in the June 23 poll.
Stressing that political alliances have suffocated justice before, Mkandawire called on the nine Tonse Alliance parties to come in the open with their agreements made before winning the June 23 fresh presidential election.
He said: “What we have seen previously is that sometimes politicians go into signing agreements that aim at protecting one another, instead of advancing the interest of the common good. “We don’t want the government to be shielding all those who have looted public resources.
“Some people rush to join parties that have a higher chance of winning elections and make agreements, just to protect themselves. We don’t want that kind of system because it promotes impunity.”
Mkandawire stressed that the culture of transparency has to start at party level to ensure that people who go into government go with clean hands.
Commenting on the matter, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said the agreements are open to public scrutiny, adding that the President has made it very clear that he will not shield anybody in the fight against corruption.
“Whether somebody is in Tonse Alliance, or not, if they have wronged the law, the long arm of the law is going to take its course. That is a commitment from President Chakwera.
“The public, including this alliance, should judge the President based on the commitment he has made,” said Mkaka, who is Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On her part, UTM Party secretary general Patricia Kaliati, who is Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, did not pick up her phone when called to comment.
Meanwhile, University of Malawi political scientist Mustafa Hussein said the anti-corruption alliance is justified to call for the disclosure of the agreements.
However, he said it is up to the Tonse Alliance to decide whether to make the agreements public, or not.
Said Hussein: “There is need for balance between transparency and confidentiality. It is an agreement between partners and they have the right to privacy.”
The anti-corruption alliance members include Malawi Law Society, Youth and Society, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation and Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod.
The Tonse Alliance government has firmly committed to fighting against corruption and other crimes in the country. Already, several people have been arrested for suspected crimes like corruption, murder and office abuse under the previous government.