As the Maizegate has unfolded and resulted in the suspension of the alleged master-minder of the deal, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) boss Foster Mulumbe as well as the focus of the ire of Malawians, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda, not once has it been impugned that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is involved in any way.
But the DPP through its acting Secretary General Francis Mphepo has thought it necessary to give us the facts about the Zambia maize transaction with the justification that some unnamed people who did not want the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) are supposedly calling useless the commission of inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika last week.
It is baffling what one has to do with the other considering that Mphepo, who remains a presidental adviser at State House, is not part of the commission and has no business stating “facts” about the scandal.
The commission of inquiry as mandated by law has a high profile judge leading it and it is expected to carry out the works to the best of its abilities. Of course, this same DPP government will sit on the results of the inquiry as it has done on the Robert Chasowa and the comprehensive report on the death of President Mutharika’s brother, Bing and other results of inquiry’s.
In the statement, the DPP has decided to own the Zambia maize scandal, calling themselves the “accused”. The statement claims that no payment of the Letter of Credit (LoC) has been made to Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZFC) yet contrary to what ‘our accusers’ were saying and goes on to say that the party would continue to stress this point so the public does not start to believe that there was any wrong doing on “our” part.
How does demanding transparency and accountability and freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution begin to tarnish the image of the country? Is it any wonder that months after the ACB was given files to act on the K236 billion Cashgate which covers the period of the DPP administration is not seeing the light of day with such myopic thinking?
To describe journalists who are carrying out their duties in their role as the Fourth Estate as crooked and engaging in chequebook journalism is seeing the forest for the trees. It was the DPP government which engaged in a near successful propaganda campaign, in this same media, which is now crooked, to discredit the leadership of the National Assembly.
In fact, it is the statement which is a display of immature, dishonest and reckless politics not befitting a man of political experience as Mphepo.
It is even more disheartening, but expected, for the DPP to be in full support of attempts to gag the media in such a manner. There are remedies available to Admarc and any aggrieved person in this saga and in a democratic society these should not go to the extent of using the courts to stop the media from publishing. That is in essence the DPP, and Admarc by extension shooting itself in the foot.
This supposed insistence that the DPP knows the facts better than the media in two countries is strange. If it is an attempt to shield Chaponda for some unfathomable reason, then it is falling flat. By releasing a Facebook statement full of contradictions and falsehoods, there is no saving him from this scandal and the DPP should concentrate its energy on fulfilling its campaign promises among them action on dormant reports of previous commissions of inquiry. n