There has been a lot of speculation for a long time in Malawi about the sour relationship between President Peter Mutharika and Vice-President Saulos Chilima. Finally, on June 6 2018, Chilima held a press conference in Lilongwe to make clear his position. Most Malawians were very anxious to hear what he was to say.
In his press statement, Chilima covered a lot of issues, including that he had resigned as a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] and, therefore, he was not going to attend the upcoming convention and, therefore, would not stand for any position, including that of the party president. More importantly, he mourned about rampant corruption and nepotism in government, just to mention a few, which are being tolerated. He further said corruption is common knowledge in Malawi.
Meanwhile, President Mutharika, through his spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani, was quoted to have been shocked with Chilima’s statement, especially, that he talked about the alleged corruption in government. The question being asked was: Why didn’t Chilima come up with the corrupt individuals and report them to ACB? What the President had said can best be described as being in denial about bad practices in his government.
Corruption in Malawi is nothing new, and even the President has ever conceded in public that corruption is getting worse. He, too, has not been mentioning names of the corrupt people. In fact, the advice that Chilima would have reported the corrupt people to ACB is not necessary, and is just a lame excuse by government. Needless to say that one does not need to go public to say that he/she has reported corruption to ACB. In fact, it can be said that Chilima being the second highest in the Mutharika government knows what he is talking about.
Meanwhile, it is generally believed in this country that most of the corrupt people are those in the corridors of power [in government] and those with power of influence even if they are outside government. Such people have corruptly received lucrative government contracts as well as being favoured with government appointments, which are not on merit, but who one knows in authority.
In fact, it is not necessary to be in denial about corruption in this country. Every now and again the media reports about large sums of money missing in some government departments and organisations. This is mostly through corruption. Furthermore, the shoddy work in building and road construction is due to authorities engaging people with no technical know-how.
For some reason, President Mutharika does not want people to talk about corruption under his administration. He once complained against the media. The reason for this is that unprecedented level of corruption can easily be translated to the President presiding over a failed government. But the truth is that corruption in Malawi has already damaged the image of the country. Hence donors have reduced direct support to government and investors use corruption as a reason they are not willing to invest in Malawi.
If the executive continues being in denial about bad practices, the other people might think it is giving them a go-ahead and continue to be corrupt, nepotistic etc. This does not help anybody but continue destroying the country.