Minister of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati has branded Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of Parliament vice-chairperson Kamlepo Kalua a coward and an embarrassment to men for rushing to social media to claim he is getting death threats from governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members.
Kalua, who is also Rumphi East member of Parliament (People’s Party-PP) and the party’s third vice-president, posted on his Facebook page that he was getting death threats following his demand for President Peter Mutharika to dismiss seven Cabinet ministers named in the forensic audit covering the period 2009 to December 2014 which established that about K236 billion, not K577 billion as earlier estimated, in public funds could not be accounted for.
However, in an interview yesterday, Kaliati said Kalua is a coward and an embarrassment to men for claiming that he is getting death threats. She said Kalua is only trying to draw unnecessary attention and sympathy from the public to cover up for his lies that he has names of ministers.
“No one is threatening him. I never threatened him. How can he be threatened by a woman? He is a coward. He is an embarrassment to you men.
“He is trying to take Malawians for granted. He is taking the electorate for fools. He made the claims of ministers and the President said he is not aware of such ministers, hence he called on Kalua to mention them, but he is failing to do so,” said Kaliati.
She also attacked Kalua sympathisers, saying their unnecessary concerns are traits of cowardice and people being used.
Kaliati claimed she mentioned knowing where Kalua lives because the PP MP has been alleging that DPP is failing to develop the Northern Region and she wanted to expose him for neglecting his constituency in favour of Blantyre City, which is not his constituency.
Reacting to the attacks in an interview yesterday, Kalua said Kaliati is the one that is a coward as she is taking the issue of probing ministers personal. He vowed to keep pushing the President to have the ministers taken to task.
“If they want to kill me, let them kill me. I am speaking on behalf of poor Malawians whose money was plundered by these thieves. Kaliati is taking it personal. All I am asking is for government to be accountable to the electorate, “ said Kalua.
Human rights non-governmental organisation (NGOs), Kalua’s Rumphi East constituency chiefs, and other sympathisers have since condemned Kaliati for the alleged threats against.
Chairperson for Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), Robert Mkwezalamba, said it was unfortunate that government had “stooped so low” as to waging war with a person who was mandated by the people speak and represent them in Parliament.
“By waging a war against Kalua and forcing him to shut up, it simply shows that there is something that government wants to protect. What they are now inviting will be more trouble because if Kalua cannot speak then the people of Malawi will speak at once and we have seen repercussions of Malawians speaking at once,” he said.
Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka said the approach the leadership has handled the concerns by Kalua “leaves a lot to be desired”.
He said the President and his party should have demonstrated that they were equally concerned with the report that public money was looted instead of fighting Kalua.
Power of Peace chairperson Kinnear Mlowoka said Kaliati remarks are a threat to Kalua’s life and that they demonstrate that DPP government has no regard for the Constitution.
“We are very concerned with threats government is showering on Kamlepo,” said Mlowoka.
Group Village Heads (GVH) Mwasonthi and Mbuzikupusa of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwamlowe’s area in Kalua’s Rumphi East Constituency also expressed worry over Kaliati’s remarks.
Mwasothi said Kaliati cannot be threatening Kalua as he is working on behalf of people who entrusted him to represent them.
Mbuzikupusa, on the other hand, accused government officials of plotting Kamlepo’s death.
He said: “I do not understand why Kalua is being hunted for speaking the truth. Government needs to focus on development rather than threatening its citizens.”
Meanwhile, National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa told The Nation yesterday that he expects anyone whose life is threatened by any person to report the issue and the circumstances to the Malawi Police Service (MPS), who are ready to institute investigations into the suspected plotters or aggressors.
He said: “As we speak, Honourable Kamlepo Kalua has not formally filed any such complaint to us. All the allegations and complaints we hear are only emanating from unverified social media sources”.
The war of words between Kaliati and Kalua has arisen from a data analysis carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released in May 2015 which estimated the unreconciliated funds at K577 billion.
However, British firm RSM Risk Assurance LLP, in its forensic audit report, established that the unaccounted for funds stood at K236 billion.
Kalua argued that the President could not claim that he did not have the names when the Attorney General had advised the Auditor General against releasing the names when the Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa presented the audit report to Parliament in June. n