Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader, Lazarus Chakwera, on Monday called for the resignation of President Peter Mutharika and pressed for early elections.
Chakwera says the President’s implication in transactions regarding a Malawi Police Service (MPS) ration pack contract with Pioneer Investments is enough reason for Mutharika to quit.
A leaked investigation report by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) mentioned Mutharika as a beneficiary of what could be proceeds of fraud after an account that has him as a sole signatory received K145 million from Zameer Karim, owner of Pioneer Investments.
The businessperson had a contract with MPS to supply food rations and ACB suspects that there was fraud in the execution of the contract.
But Presidential Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, insists that his boss’ hands are clean and that the said money was a donation towards the construction of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) head office in Blantyre.
In his analysis, Chakwera said Malawians’ inaction and lack of resolve “to stop Mutharika and his cronies from dragging Malawi on the path of more misery coupled with the indifference to the carnage have given the President the temerity to continue his vices with humongous impunity”.
He added that Malawians have given legitimacy to fraud and corruption by such lack of resolve.
We on the streets can’t agree more with Chakwera on the later, but totally disagree with his idea for Plan B; to go for early polls. And here is why.
We on the streets rely on the opposition, particularly, MCP which is the main opposition party in Parliament to safeguard the public purse.
But here, this theft happened right infront of their noses and never noticed it for four years. This is not all, several other abuses on the public purse have happened before Chakwera and team. Where was he all this time?
Chakwera’s statement insinuates he is a better option, but if he can’t bite from the opposition benches, how will he while in the comfort of State House? Malawians are tired with speeches that do not give hope and Chakwera may need to learn from South Africa’s opposition leader Julius Malemia, who argues with justifications and the options he raises are practical. That is constructive opposition and not greedy calls.
What Chakwera is propagating is just a ploy to rise to the rank, but we on the streets will not support that. He has to perform first and now he has only 10 months to prove that.
We on the streets do not believe that early polls will solve the corruption problem dogging the country. This idea that to build accountability should start from the top is wrong. We cannot continue to rely on the goodwill or promises made by political leaders—who may be here today and gone tomorrow and often are the ones who steal our money—to get this mess cleaned up.
We on the streets also believe there are more sustainable and effective accountability ways that take the bottom-up approach like building real public ownership of public money as a means of combating waste and corruption.
The masses wield so much power that if they are properly engaged, those plundering the economy will be catching the earliest flight the morning after such embarrassing scandals.
That reminds me of what my Kenyan friend Fidel, argued the other day over a bottle of Tokara. He said that most politicians treat the issue of corruption as a launch pad to the high office but once they get there, they become the most corrupt individuals to have walked the earth, “Is this not how DPP triumphed over JB’s allegedly corrupt government?” he quizzed.
Fidel has a point. Those pressing for early election want to get into government through the backdoor, but once they are at the top, Malawians will see no change.
Which is why, we on the streets believe that we should wait. We have 10 months to another election. The CSO’s and opposition leaders such as Chakwera should empower the citizens with enough information about how corrupt DPP has been so that Mutharika and his cronies should be removed from power legally. Give us the options before May 2019.