The man who will go down in history as Malawi’s worst Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Lucas Kondowe, spent his last day in office Thursday following the expiry of his three-year contract.
It is a three years Blues’ Orators, that has been a total waste of our time, resources and expectations.
According to Mr Kondowe, appointed by President Peter Mutharika in October 2014, the decision to leave is his after opting not to renew his contract.
Whether this is true or not, or rather if at all his employer was keen to retain him, is a subject for another day.
Suffice to say that save for the odd unfortunate chief caught stealing coupons or the occasional head teacher caught with his hands in the kitty, no one of note has been successfully prosecuted under Lucas’ tenure.
In a business where success is measured by the number of convictions with the fatter the convicts the better, I fail to see how the outgoing ACB Czar can claim to have served us well.
“When I came to the ACB, it was a mission and I think I have done what I thought I could have done and it is time to move on. There is so much to be done but I think, for me, I have done the best I could,” he is reported to have said.
Unpacking this will perhaps lead us to the crux of the matter. If Lucas thought that he had been appointed ACB Czar to throw spanners in existing rock-solid cases, then indeed he has ‘done the best he could’.
I know one case which for sure, will never resurrect; thanks to Lucas.
“If one wants to look at the achievements that I have registered during my tenure, they are clear for all reasonable-minded people to see,” Kondowe said.
While under his leadership the graft-bursting body handled and mishandled many high-profile cases, including some Cashgate cases, the infamous case of the Zambia procurement deal and the MK1.7 billion Muluzi case; the score board – at the end of tenure – reads ACB: 0 The Corrupt: 0.
Blues’ Orators a zero-zero match, or a draw game in the fight against graft is a result we can achieve without installing an overpaid tax-money guzzling Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General.
In other words, even without Mr Kondowe reporting for work in the past three years, we could have managed a 0-0 draw in our fight against the corrupt.
Some could argue that we could have even scored one, or two ‘goals’ if he weren’t there to obstruct.
With respect to the arrest of former minister of Agriculture Dr. George Chaponda now answering corruption charges in relation to the procurement of maize from Zambia; I would chalk the points in favour of the media, particularly Times Group, whose relentless exposés pressured Parliament to dig into the matter.
I would be surprised therefore if I were to see Chaponda’s arrest, an arrest only effected after a public outcry, as one of Mr Kondowe’s “successes”.
I repeat: Chaponda’s arrest was the Media’s coup, and not the ACB’s success.
The one thing I have found solace in, in Mr Kondowe’s farewell is his belated realization that there is “there is so much to be done”.
I could not agree more.
It is in this connection Blues’ Orators that rather than cry over spilt milk, where the milk is the time Mr Kondowe has stolen from us all in our quest to halt graft, that I want us to look to the future.
First and foremost, while I am grateful, very grateful in fact, that Mutharika has not prolonged our misery by extending Mr Kondowe’s contract; I am worried as to who Mutharika will appoint next.
Secondly, and this could be said to have somewhat tied Mr Kondowe’s hands; Mutharika must stop behaving as if he has no inkling of the hombres that killed Issa Njauju.
The thing is: unless those hoodlums are apprehended, locked up and as Bingu used to say, ‘the keys to their cells thrown away’; all our valiant chaps at ACB will continue operating in fear.
To nab these crooks, the nonsense that has been happening at the Malawi Police whereby detectives who come too close to the truth are first, intimidated, then reassigned to some nondescript police station, should stop.
In fact, once the Scotland Yard comes, those reassigned detectives should be among the first on the list of people that the Yard must interview and work with.
My final point Blues’ Orators, goes to you all.
Speaking to one media house during his exit interview, Kondowe – as is politically correct – denied receiving pressure or interference from the Executive in execution of his job.
Said Kondowe: “I have had pressure from many stakeholders, but unlike what most people believe that the director gets pressure from the Executive, I would be lying.
“Most of the pressure has come from other stakeholders—the media, the international community and the public.”
Congratulations Blues’ Orators!
Our collective pressure on Mr Kondowe and hopefully the entire ACB was being felt.
Kudos to the media; hats off to members of the Diplomatic Corps; and you distinguished Blues’ Orators, please take a bow!
If we sustain pressure on these errant public servants, one fat cat at a time, they will fall in line and begin serving us professionally, impartially and diligently and this, Blues’ Orators, is what will develop Malawi.
The moment we take a nap under the delusion that since we have posted an “I receive” comment on social media all will be well, we will wake up to find Malawi mortgaged to the hilt, if this has not already happened.
Let us, Blues’ Orators, continue exerting pressure on all institutions including the ACB if it continues to dillydally on cabinet ministers implicated in any shenanigans.
Go well Mr Kondowe, you won’t be missed!