The out-going British High Commissioner Michael Nevin has painted a bleak outlook for the country’s fight against corruption and warned that rule of law could be permanently undermined by failure to arrest those who break the law.
Nevin was speaking in an exclusive interview as he leaves the country at the end of a four-year tour of duty.
He became the first High Commissioner dispatched by London following a frosty period in ties between the two countries after his predecessor Fergus Cochraine-Dyet was expelled from the country by the former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration over a leaked diplomatic cable that strongly criticised his administration.
Nevin gave a candid assessment of the fight against corruption and noted with exasperation that he leaves office before the people behind the gruesome murder of Issa Njauju, former top official at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) still at large; warning that the failure to bring those responsible to book will haunt everyone including those in government today.
“The reason it is so important to back that case is because if people see that you can do that and intimidate (people) then Malawi is on a very dangerous road. It can lead to chaos and it undermine rule of law and that is why it is extremely important that those that are really behind this are brought to book.
“The cancer of corruption is the most dangerous element that can undermine Malawi’s instability; it undermines Malawi’s selling point as a stable nation. It does not matter that you are elite, it does not matter you are in a position of authority and you think okay, it cannot overcome you. It will come back to haunt you,” said Nevin.
However, government official spokesperson and Information and Civic Education Minister Patricia Kaliati yesterday described Nevin’s remarks as unfair description of the situation in the country as they fell short of recognising the efforts of the current administration in fighting corruption.
Said Kaliati: “There are a number of things government is doing to fight corruption and it’s a general responsibility of every Malawian and not just government to fight corruption. We are grateful for the support the UK is giving us in the fight against corruption but they should also recognsie that the President has on numerous occasions outlined his commitment to fight corruption.” n