The year 2017 is upon us and so, too, are some of our nemeses. I thought for once some of the old habits of politicians would be left in the past, but I was wrong. They have crept into 2017 and from the look of things, this is may just be the beginning.
The headliner from late last year to date has been the alleged maize scandal and Minister George Chaponda. Chaponda has been in the news mostly because it is believed he is involved in the maize scam and also by virtue of being the Minister of Agriculture. He has also been in the news for his arrogance. Generally, Chaponda is an arrogant man. He has refused to step down as minister to pave the way for the investigation into the maize deal. Of course, it is unheard of for Malawian ministers or anyone holding a high position to simply step down when things go wrong. Usually, it is because they know that what they did, they did it for someone higher than them who will shield them. Probably, the same goes for Chaponda. But, he has been trimmed to size thanks to the injunction sought by civil society organisations (CSOs), which stops him from conducting his duties as minister of Agriculture.
I suspect both Chaponda and Admarc CEO were being stubborn despite calls for them to resign because they are being shielded by you know who.
Mulumbe tried to gag media from reporting about the maize scam to no avail. Chaponda, too, tried to argue his case arrogantly, but it was not convincing enough. Thumbs up to the CSOs for showing Chaponda and his masters that they do not hold absolute powers. Whether Chaponda is going to challenge the injunction and turns in his favour matter less because, as the fact remains that he has been shown that there is a limit to his arrogance.
As if the issue about Chaponda and Mulumbe isn’t suspicious enough, Janet Banda, Solicitor General and a member of the Commission of Inquiry instituted by President Peter Mutharika, has landed herself in trouble. You see, not so many people know how to use social media. Banda seems to be one of them. After posting about the injunction obtained by the CSOs and after noticing the controversy in the post she removed the post, but it’s too late because people have screenshots of the post. You have nowhere to hide madam. The post has served its purpose.
Basically, with that post, Banda managed to tell us that the whole commission of inquiry is a smokescreen and shouldn’t be trusted. She also managed to tell us that she, as a member of the commission, has already taken sides—she is siding with Chaponda. She, at the time of the posting, may not have known that these are the subtle messages she was sending. She has given people the reason not to trust the commission of inquiry, and subsequently, its findings.
And, then, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) seals Times Media Group offices for failing to pay taxes. If it’s true that Times Media Group owes MRA, let it settle the matter. But then, the timing of MRA’s seizure is suspicious. Times Media Group has published hard-hitting stories about the maize scam, which prompted Mulumbe, Admarc CEO, to issue a threat to the media house to stop reporting about it.
It wasn’t long before Chaponda, too, issued his statement and as usual displayed all manner of arrogance associated with politicians. Is the sealing of Times Media Group offices a mere coincidence?
It looks suspicious just like everything else about this government. n