Malawi President Joyce Banda’s repeated remarks about an assassination plot against her is a tactic to divert people’s attention from the glaring melting down of the economy, governance issues and cashgate scandal, a civil rights activist has said.
Rafiq Hajat was Monday commenting on the President’s assertions that she will not fear death in her fight against the vice.
The President during Interdenominational Prayers at Comesa Hall in Blantyre last Friday repeated that she has received deaths threats on several occasions.
But Hajat said there is no point in belabouring the remarks in public when no one has been arrested over the matter.
“By bringing [the assassination plot] to the public domain, she is trying to divert people’s attention from the melt-down of the economy and the cashgate, thereby seeking public sympathy. It could be a diversion tactic.
“I would personally advise that such matters of national security be left to security agencies which should leave no stone unturned in investigating the claim,” said Hajat.
Political scientist Dr Henry Chingaipe on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on Monday, described the death threats to the President as strange.
He added that if the threats are true, it means nobody is safe in Malawi.
Minister of Home Affairs Uladi Mussa said security agencies are working on the issues which first came into the public domain in October when Minister of Information Brown Mpinganjira alleged that the President had been receiving death threats, some of which originated from outside the country.
“We are tracing the numbers. There is no way one can intimidate the President when she is fighting corruption. The police are doing their wonderful job,” said Mussa who could not indicate how much the law enforcers have done in unearthing the threats or when the investigations might come to an end.
Malawi Police Service national spokesperson Rhoda Manjolo could not comment on the matter, referring the issue to presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane. He had not yet responded to a questionnaire when The Nation sought clarification on the issue.
President Banda has claimed she is targeted since waging war against corruption.
On Friday she claimed her officers were forced to change her telephone numbers and tighten her security in the wake of the threats.
On the same day, the President vowed to continue the fight against graft, floating the idea of special corruption tribunals and saying a forensic audit under way by British experts would help reveal the extent of graft.
On October 10, President Banda dissolved her Cabinet over a graft scandal dubbed the Capital Hill cashgate, where top officials are suspected of swindling several billions of kwacha from State coffers.
Former budget director in the Ministry of Finance, Paul Mphwiyo, was shot outside his home, something that produced a chain reaction of events leading to cashgate.
The Friday prayers were on the ills Malawi is facing,” including rampant corruption, high inflation and challenges resulting from currency devaluation.