A group of civil society organisations (CSOs)has resolved to hold nationwide demonstrations to force President Peter Mutharika to fire Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
The CSOs also want the President to discipline other government officials implicated in the Zambia maize procurement scandal.
The decision follows Mutharika’s reluctance to heed calls from the CSOs, Malawi Law Society (MLS) and other citizens to fire Chaponda in the wake of revelations by the commission of inquiry and a joint parliamentary committee that probed the maize importation issue.
According to the two inquests, Chaponda ought to be investigated for his suspicious role in the whole saga.
Centre for Development of People executive director Gift Trapence said CSOs are worried about the manner in which Mutharika is handling the issue.
He claimed failure by Mutharika to fire the beleaguered minister is an indication that the President “wants his allies to be above the law.”
“[Both] reports are faulting the minister and other officials. So, we are worried that the President is shielding his friends. He is putting them above the law. This is not what the President committed to do when he was being sworn in.
So for us the next step is for Malawians to demand the President to take action. We cannot live with this impunity.
“The application of the law should not be selective. We have seen that the behaviour of the President is to shield his friends to make sure they are above the law. The law should not only target the poor and Malawians should come
forward and demand for accountability from the President. We are for mass demonstrations because we cannot live with this impunity,” said Trapence.
Meanwhile, political scientist Joseph Chunga has said it has become a trend to let scot-free people who deserve to be taken to task.
He said there are so many cases, including the infamous Cashgate, where people have called for action, but nothing has been done.
Chunga also wondered if demonstrations will bear any fruits, saying he is yet to appreciate a demonstration that has turned around things.
“There is low activism on the part of Malawians and the end result of demonstrations is not really there. The solution to the issue rests with the prosecuting agencies. There is need for agencies to clearly investigate the matter and see that justice prevails, but as the issue stands, everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalirani did not pick our calls when The Nation sought his comment on the matter.
The commission of inquiry appointed by Mutharika said Chaponda’s involvement with Transglobe in the deal was suspicious, recommending that the Anti-Corruption Bureau must investigate him.