President Peter Mutharika has sacked Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, but this has not calmed down campaigners agitating for justice to be done.
Centre for the Development of Peoples (Cedep) and Youth and Society (YAS) want the beleaguered ministers arrested for his role in the Zambia maize importation deal.
Yesterday, the two civil society organisations, which unsuccessfully moved the courts to suspend Chaponda to create room for further investigation, joined forces with Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee (MHRCC) in petitioning Mutharika to immediately arrest the minister.
The calls came shortly after Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) investigators raided the minister’s home on Wednesday and seized local and foreign currency estimated at over K166 million.
To the activists, the dismissal is not enough.
Reading the statement to the press in Mzuzu, YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka urged the President to be decisive.
The CSOs, who threatened to hold mass protests against “gross corruption and impunity” on February 28, also asked Mutharika to address the nation within 48 hours.
Arnold Msimuko, CCJP secretary in Mzuzu Diocese, called for full implementation of recommendations by the inquiries commissioned by Parliament and Mutharika.
He asked for public disclosure of the contracts between government and Transglobe Produce Export whose dealings with Chaponda were described as “suspicious”.
When asked whether the activists are justified to call for Chaponda’s arrest, Malawi Law Society (MLS) president John Suzi-Banda said it was in the public domain that both inquiries “damned Chaponda”.
“They owe Malawians a huge explanation on why he has not been arrested or prosecuted,” he said.