No holds barred: Mutharika must be impeached for meddling with the Muluzi case

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One day in December last year, President Peter Mutharika arrived at Chisitu Community Ground in Mulanje District wearing a grey suit and dark glasses. He was here to preside over the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. His voice firm, he declared that he would shield noone against corruption.

Bakili Muluzi & Peter Mutharika

Mutharika shields Muluzi

The President said many things, and we will quote the most important parts of his speech verbatim. “In a democracy,” he began, “everyone must be accountable to someone else. And we are all accountable to God and the law.  And because we are all accountable to the law, anyone and I mean anyone, can be prosecuted.”

He continued in the same stern voice: “If you cross the law, we will catch you, and we will prosecute you. No one is above the law of this land. You can hide but you cannot escape the long hand of the law.”

Mutharika lectured: “Prosecution is not persecution. In prosecution, you investigate first and arrest someone for genuinely breaking the law, after gathering evidence. In persecution, you arrest for political or personal motive and investigate only to rubber stamp the arrest. I am impressed that, under my government, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been extremely professional in investigating thoroughly before arresting anyone.

“The fight against corruption remains a top priority of my government,” the president continued. “We will continue to adopt a zero tolerance on corruption. We will continue prosecuting the culprits.”

All that, it turns out, was empty talk.

Last week, the case in which former president, Bakili Muluzi, is being accused of squirreling away K7 billion ($11 million) of donor finds, collapsed in spectacular fashion. ACB deputy director, Reyneck Matemba, suddenly realised that it was necessary to abandon the case for “personal reasons.”

But Muluzi’s son, Atupele, leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), is Mutharika’s key ally. It was always doubtful since the alliance commenced that the Muluzi case would undergo a fair trial.

Bakili Muluzi

Muluzi’s accused of stealing $11m

Let’s be clear: Bakili Muluzi is innocent until proven guilty. But by letting the case die this way, instead of letting the courts find out whether he is actually guilty or not, doubts will forever linger why he lacked the courage to answer for himself in the court of law.

Mutharika, lest we forget, was overjoyed when recently, his party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), voted unanimously in parliament to defeat a bill that aimed at making the ACB independent.

“We crushed them,” he beamed. “They wanted to take away my powers but we crushed them.”

Now he can even be happier that an important ally is being let off the hook through his government’s underhand dealings.

Mutharika’s appointee, Lucas Kondowe, head of the ACB, has demonstrated incredible incompetence in letting such an important case collapse like this. He has told the nation that the case has not died, but it’s all a game, really. A couple of days ago, the ACB told the court that another team was being assembled to continue prosecuting the case, but the grim and sober reality is that the ACB prosecution team is now hamstrung, and this case has been compromised. For all intents and purposes, the case has died, with Mr Kondowe presiding over such a colossal failure. Mr Kondowe must resign. It’s not for nothing that he is paid a lot of taxpayer’s money. We need to see results for that.

Last week, Malawi News confirmed that President Peter Mutharika’s administration is deliberately incapacitating the prosecution team so that the matter collapses, citing unnamed sources. And according to those sources, letting Muluzi off the hook was one of the conditions aimed at furthering the working relationship between the UDF and the DPP.

Zodiak Online corroborated Malawi News’s version and said that Mutharika’s government put unsustainable pressure on Reyneck Matemba to drop the case, also attributing the claim to unnamed sources. Officials from the Ministry of Justice and several unnamed politicians relentlessly asked the ACB to drop the case, Zodiak Online further says.

What is the point in standing on a podium and telling the world that you will prosecute the Cashgate that occurred under Joyce Banda’s administration while you sweep Muluzi’s case under the carpet? What makes one alleged theft of billions of kwacha less important than another? Why should we take you seriously when you make such polished speeches about your intention to fight corruption while doing exactly the opposite when your allies are accused?

Peter Mutharika

Facing impeachment calls for abuse of power

President Mutharika’s government has lost its moral authority to fight corruption in Malawi, and has, by defeating justice, become an active participant in committing the crime. It is a crime for which Mutharika deserves to be impeached.

Corruption will not be fought through empty speeches and sloganeering but through action. Protecting sacred cows undermines the reason why the ACB was put in place, and renders the body irrelevant. As Member of Parliament, Juliana Lunguzi, wrote on her Facebook page, the wisest thing to do now is for Parliament to move a motion to dissolve the ACB.

Zero tolerance on corruption should mean zero tolerance, with no sacred cows. If you tell the nation “I will continue with zero tolerance on corruption,” then turn to your ally and whisper “but I will protect you”, then you make a fool of yourself, as citizens will see for themselves that you don’t mean what you say.

What makes this lack of seriousness in fighting corruption even more tragic is that as we speak corruption is ongoing. We hear, for instance, that K2 billion of donor money has vanished from the Ministry of Health, while K300 million has vanished at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using the Ethiopian Embassy as its conduit.

Donors ran away because of corruption, and without them our economy is struggling. Mutharika has, on many occasions, persuaded the donors to return, but with this public display of lack of seriousness in the fight against corruption, not a single donor would be willing to give money to our government.

And yet we are facing lots of challenges, and could use assistance from friendly governments. We have famine at a biblical scale to contend with, and flooding that has displaced thousands. In addition, our hospitals lack medicine and equipment, while infrastructure is decaying.

A serious leader would have wanted to let justice flow like water at a time like this. But no, our president chose a different path. He must be impeached, if this nation is to be saved from further ruin.

*No Holds Barred is a new column by José Safarao. The column will run every Sunday on Malawi24. For feedback, email: editor@malawi24.com or josesafarao@yahoo.com

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102 Comments

  1. From the evidence spoken by Kalonga Stambuli from the grave the Muluzi case is as serious as the Cashgaters in the USD30million but even more the thefts led to loss of life of a high ranking and respectable devout Malawian whose efforts would have spearheaded development in Malawi.

    The current regime must not be allowed to escape from the MK577 billion plus loot which by now lies in a cooler.We Malawians have suffered enough why should we allow people who have looted our country to continue reaping us live in total comfort and reign over us and continue to stash millions of MKs if not billions into their accounts?

    • So you think this is not serious enough? Vuto lomadya nawo ndilimenelo…you become blind..with temporary things.

  2. Nde iwe amene walemba nkhani imeneyi ufuna muluzi amangidwe,walemba mmadzi.iweyo mphemvu mdyerakuthiko uyerekeze kuba nkhakale 500g,akunjata.muluzi ananena pa msonkhano nthawi imeneyo akulamula bingu kuti iye a boma sangamumange.thatwas elder muthalika not this young muthalika.If muluzi iz to be arested for stealing public funds,arest Bingu for pocketing bilions and banked them outside malawi,arest also Peter Muthalika for Trison

  3. Politicians got their own ways,they meet underground,they are one amatha kunyozana pansonkhano but when they meet they smile at each other even ma 500 amapatsana but coming to us ndiye nkumamenyana ndikudana.Leave them.

  4. Impeachment ya ambwiyanu? How .do u ppl think? that case has spoiled over 3 billions. Lawyers r the ones getting rich with that case . U think he doesn’t know? Foolish

    • Malawians should learn that our country is at peace always beside manong`onong`o from the Oposition media, some of the media houses in Malawi falls under party sindicate and we cant hide this.

      If you know Muluzi for sure you can not say all these stupid comments;
      Muluzi is TATE wa Democracy then you are happy seeing him pendapenda ku court nkumati zilibwino? Let that case being stopped with imediate effect.
      Akudyelera alichete coz of ma ALLOWANCES Inuyo simukuziwa? From the begining of that case how many money has been spend up to date and whose account was that money went? Tell the nation, ukufuna ndalama izingolowa nthumba mwako milandu ipitilire sibwino mukubwezera chitukuko pambuyo mudzina loti inu ndi ofufuza komaso achilungamo muli akubanso. Mukakhala anzeru mumve zomwe ndakuuzani anthu adyera inu

  5. Amalawi umbuli u talk abt things u dnt know, how has 1.7 billion turn to be 7billion? Jst shows u dnt know what the case is all about. U talk of impeachment, its for wrong reason, by the way how many presidents have u impeached before?

  6. What you must know is that this case lacks incriminating evidence.Bakili Muluzi is an innocent person that is why you see him unshakable.

  7. Inu milandu yopanda umboni iyi. Mufuseni anapeleka ndalamazo akaikile umboni. Akukanika bwanji kubwera poyera. Akapanda kuthetsa mulanduwu akhoti ndikuzagaamula kuti mulndu opnda umboni muzakwanitsa kulipira? Muli ndi mzeru koma?

  8. U just westing tym when u say impeach mutharika ndi president wake uti anachoka pa mpando pankhani ya impeachment the nswer is no one ingozisiyani kufikila nthawi yake basi mukanena za muluzi mungotayanayo nthawi ndinthawi yake yakupuma if u talk about corruption go to immigration u will see mmene akupangila ndalama za corruption remember that malawi is malawi wll never change that name

  9. Andikumbusa nyimbo ya Lucius Banda entitled (tigwire ntchito) Asiyeni Andalewa zawo nzimodzi angositha njira zotinzunzira koma machitidwe sasiyana. Bola nthawi ya Ng’ona ija. Malawi to hell.

  10. esident wa mawa azamupulumutse ku milandu mumene iyeyo wapulumusira Muluzi. Sopani za madalayu tamva nanga za mai uja anagwa mu khoti zilipati. Kapena munamukhululukila pompaja anagwa paja?? Ndikanati akumangeni kuti mukudziwapo mukanakhala kuti sindinu apresident coz simunafunse maganizo a a Malawi pazankhaniyi. Akuberedwa ndi a Malawi osati inu. Mupepetse kwa a Malawi. Anakusankhani ndiwowo.

  11. mukanadziwa mmene anthu kumudzi akuvutikila ndi umphawi,sibwezi mukumaba misonkho yawo chomwechi.Sizingatheke mulandu wamuluzi kupitilila ndi pitala,chifukwa mumtengo alilimu adamupachikamo ndi muluzi.chipanda muluzi kuyika bingu pampando,pitala bwezi kulibe.musatisokose apa,mukungochedwa kufa apa.

  12. mukanadziwa mmene anthu kumudzi akuvutikila ndi umphawi,sibwezi mukumaba misonkho yawo chomwechi.Sizingatheke mulandu wamuluzi kupitilila ndi pitala,chifukwa mumtengo alilimu adamupachikamo ndi muluzi.chipanda muluzi kuyika bingu pampando,pitala bwezi kulibe.musatisokose apa,mukungochedwa kufa apa.

  13. Impeachment its a goodd idea but at a wrong time. The thing z we hav given all the mandate to the president to judge where court judges faills and now he putting into exercise his mandate. ACB ya mu Malawi ndiyomanga anthu wamba osati amene alawapo u president. Osward Lutepo akanakhala kuti anakhalapo u president sakanapita kundende ndinso kulandidwa chuma, mlandu ukanafela mmadzira. President APM apangila dala chifukwa akudziwa kuti iyenso wasolola koposerapo sopano akufuna kuti amene azakhale pr

  14. Impeachment its a goodd idea but at a wrong time. The thing z we hav given all the mandate to the president to judge where court judges faills and now he putting into exercise his mandate. ACB ya mu Malawi ndiyomanga anthu wamba osati amene alawapo u president. Osward Lutepo akanakhala kuti anakhalapo u president sakanapita kundende ndinso kulandidwa chuma, mlandu ukanafela mmadzira. President APM apangila dala chifukwa akudziwa kuti iyenso wasolola koposerapo sopano akufuna kuti amene azakhale pr

  15. ABALE ANTHUWA NDI AMODZI IFE TIDZINGOKHALA NDIKUMALUMANA CHONCHI BASI NJIRA YABWINO KUTHANA NDI ZIMENEZI NDIKUNGOKHALA OSAPITA MMISONKHANO YAWOYI AKATI KULI VOTI OSAKALEMBETSA BASI MUNGAWONE MMENE ANGAZINGWIRE

  16. ABALE ANTHUWA NDI AMODZI IFE TIDZINGOKHALA NDIKUMALUMANA CHONCHI BASI NJIRA YABWINO KUTHANA NDI ZIMENEZI NDIKUNGOKHALA OSAPITA MMISONKHANO YAWOYI AKATI KULI VOTI OSAKALEMBETSA BASI MUNGAWONE MMENE ANGAZINGWIRE

  17. Magetsi odula madzi okwera mtengo anthu skungotha mitengo ndi kuphikira inu mukungogula magalimoto odula koma ilipo boma lingadzalowe ndi kuganizira anthu ake ngati
    Gaddaff mundiyankhe malipilo anu ndiokweta mtengo chilengedwe chikutha ,madzi mukutenga mphiri la mulsnje 250 zoona madzi omweo kumocambique 150 kwacha

  18. Magetsi odula madzi okwera mtengo anthu skungotha mitengo ndi kuphikira inu mukungogula magalimoto odula koma ilipo boma lingadzalowe ndi kuganizira anthu ake ngati
    Gaddaff mundiyankhe malipilo anu ndiokweta mtengo chilengedwe chikutha ,madzi mukutenga mphiri la mulsnje 250 zoona madzi omweo kumocambique 150 kwacha

  19. Achita bwino kuuthetsa. Mulandu wantha zaka zingati? Bwanji simunamumange? Iye waona kuti simungamukwanitse mapeto ake kumangoononga drama, komanso mluzu sanathawe amazidyela mumuno. Koma amayi anu aja ndiye akufunika kumangidwa.

  20. heheheh,I can laugh at u,Brazil’s president case, comparing to Mutharka,ur ar brainless and childish thinking,that is Muluzi’ case nt Muthalika. Malawians kutsalira mmaganizo,akusekani anthu a mayiko ena, mukati muyambe izi,muma panga act poti ena anatero,mukutsalira

  21. Shit point!!!!!! How can you impeached the president while this cases for Muluzi’s Corruption he find it before he become president?nonsense…..if you have another reasons to impeach he pls pls find other way.but remember what goes around it comes around.mutharika he will finished all his two terms trust me.bye

  22. Shit point!!!!!! How can you impeached the president while this cases for Muluzi’s Corruption he find it before he become president?nonsense…..if you have another reasons to impeach he pls pls find other way.but remember what goes around it comes around.mutharika he will finished all his two terms trust me.bye

  23. This Thing Yuo Are Calling “Mutharika” Must Be Forced Resign Bcoz According To Principles Of Democracy And Good Governance We As People Has Got That Power To Impich This “So Called President”

  24. This Thing Yuo Are Calling “Mutharika” Must Be Forced Resign Bcoz According To Principles Of Democracy And Good Governance We As People Has Got That Power To Impich This “So Called President”

  25. I believe you( Jose’) know that there is the principle of separation of power in a democracy! what do u want th president to do? tel the judges to quickly convict Muluzi? Who is he to do that? Mind u there is always a limited extent to which we(you, myself, th president, etc) can push or interfere with court proceedings! For ur own information, it is over a decade now that the case was brought b4 the court & APM has been in office 4 just 2 yrs! There4 do u think there is any logic 4 u to blame APM 4 this? What is more important is 4 the public( including u & me) to come up wth ‘substantial’ evidence that can help to speed up the trial. we are all eagerly looking 4ward to see justice prevail on this case! HOWEVER THANKS 4 UR ARTICLE!