The Tonse Alliance-led administration’s war on institutionalised corruption shows no signs of slowing down following arrests of some high-profile individuals from the DPP accused of looting public resources during the previous regime.
Considering the shocking and disturbing revelations of misappropriation of public funds that have come to light since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) fell from power, Malawians should expect more arrests.
It seems government was in free-fall with APM at the helm. If the recent cement saga is anything to go by, it seems APM’s aides abused every iota of power afforded by their proximity to the former head of State to plunder government coffers.
If we are to believe the former president, he was unaware that his aides were illegally using the privileges of the presidential office to import billions of kwacha worth of cement duty free and swindle Malawians of hundreds of millions of kwachas in the process.
State President and Tonse Alliance leader Lazarus Chakwera last week accused the DPP-led administration of misappropriating about K1.3 trillion in the past five years, based on a report from the Auditor General’s office.
Naturally, the DPP denies any wrong-doing. If we are to believe DPP vice-president for the Southern Region Kondwani Nankhumwa, no member of his party was complicit in fraud, rather, it was inefficiencies in government Ministries Department and Agencies that led to the loss of funds.
Nankhumwa reiterated the DPP’s stance that the current spate of arrests is just a political witch-hunt to persecute the party’s membership. The Tonse Alliance leadership vehemently denies this.
At face value, there is merit to both sides of the argument. No one in their right mind can deny that some members of the DPP were directly complicit and benefitted from corruption and theft of public resources.
There is enough evidence against them to justify the arrests, cases in point the cement saga and the controversial food rations deal where APM allegedly pocketed K145 million. If the DPP is truly innocent, then the accused in the party should prove their innocence in court.
Nevertheless, the Tonse Alliance led administration seems to be milking this moment to achieve its own political ambitions.
The Tonse Alliance has used every opportunity afforded by the revelations of plunder by the previous regime to create the impression that all the blame for the past 26 years’ looting of public funds can be laid at the DPP’s feet.
From the rhetoric coming from the Tonse Alliance camp, one would think that all the people who stole from the government are from the DPP. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
For starters, some part of Cashgate—another gross misappropriation of public funds—occurred during the People’s Party regime and some prominent members of that regime are accused of directly profiting from it.
Second, some of the former top DPP lieutenants who are accused of plundering government resources during the past regime broke ranks to form the UTM Party and are currently serving in the current administration.
It is for this reason that the Tonse Alliance administration would like to repeat the mantra that once we get rid of the DPP, we will be on course to eradicate institutionalised corruption until Malawians start believing it to be an undisputed fact.
It is a line of reasoning that will divert attention from the corrupt individuals within the Tonse Alliance and help them evade prosecution without taking anything away from Chakwera’s alleged total commitment to the anti-corruption drive.
The mantra also gives Chakwera the basis to remove suspected DPP sympathisers from government positions.
If the DPP and everyone within it is deemed corrupt, no one would raise any eyebrows if they are removed from their leadership positions in Government ministries, departments and agencies and replaced with people more sympathetic to the Tonse Alliance.
Unfortunately, that is the kind of politicking that Malawians would like Chakwera to do away with. That is why about 59 percent of Malawians voted for him and the vision of an inclusive Malawi. n