On Monday we are all ears, as the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament (PAC) presents what Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda would call a detailed report on how each member rated Martha Chizuma, who appeared before the committee for confirmation as director general of the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB).
Chimwendo on Wednesday proposed that the committee presents the report before President Lazarus Chakwera presented his second State of the Nation Address (Sona). Chakwera showed dismay for the committee to reject the ‘strong warrior’ in the fight against entrenched corruption.
The proposal came after there was an uproar from some quarters feeling the committee had just acted in bad faith as it appeared Chizuma would just walk into the park to ACB. They argued that her work as Ombudsman showed she was fit to be at the helm of the graft-busting body.
But others feel it was not obvious that Chizuma would stroll to the office. They argue that the committee has previously rejected some public officers that were seemingly the people’s darlings.
It is indeed queer that nine of the committee members rated Chizuma one out of 25 while the other nine rated her 25 out of 25. Such a coincidence shows there must have been an invisible hand, or hands that influenced their decisions.
It is clear that politics was at play here. Personal interests ruled over national interests.
The lesson one can draw from all this is that time is ripe that such important events, that require transparency, should be televised. Those raising eyebrows are not entirely wrong to do so because this confirmation was supposed to be clear as crystal.
The committee has done it before. We all saw how it grilled and put to task Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) commissioners when the Constitutional Court asked the committee to investigate the competence of the commissioners in the botched and tippexed 2019 presidential elections.
We all saw how some commissioners banged doors in anger and how some members of the committee walked out when challenged. In the end, we all drew our conclusions on whether or not the commissioners slept on duty.
But then, presenting the report is one thing, but what happens next is another thing. It is clear that we are in a fix. If the report proves that the committee members were fair and just on Chizuma, will the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) call off the decisions to hold demonstrations on Tuesday?
If the committee report will show holes, then someone must certainly answer for it. Trying to influence the appointment of the top dog in fighting corruption is fixing of the highest order.
In that case, the first job for whoever becomes the ACB director general should be to investigate and bring to a logical conclusion the prosecution of those behind such bribery.