Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera is said to have backed Kezzie Msukwa, a cabinet minister who faces fraud and corruption charges.
Chakwera’s decision to retain the minister despite the charges has been interpreted as message by the president that he is backing the minister and cosying up to corruption.
Msukwa is accused of receiving K23 million and a Mercedes Benz in bribes from a businessperson in order to facilitate land deals.
He was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on December 31 but was freed the next day following a controversial stay order granted at the High Court in Zomba on New Year’s Day.
When former minister Newton Kambala was arrested for abuse of office last year, Chakwera did not hesitate to fire him.
The president’s delay to fire Msukwa is now being seen by some as evidence that Chakwera is protecting the under fire minister.
“The president’s first public reaction to allegations of ethical impropriety against Msukwa was to defend him, implicitly so by claiming that he cannot act because he was on festive holiday, a privilege he doesn’t extend to others. Clearly he appears to be “sparing” some sacred cows. Minister Kezzie Msukwa of the multimillion kwacha and Mercedes benz corrupt “land-procurement” infamy is the latest sacred cow enjoying privileged presidential protection,” wrote James Chisikwa in a Facebook post.
Following Msukwa’s arrest, National Anti-Corruption Alliance said firing Msukwa would pave way for more effective investigations and warned that any delays would send a negative signal about Chakwera’s commitment to fight the vice.
Presidential Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda told the local media on 2 January that Chakwera was still on Christmas and New Year Holiday and would make a decision after returning to work on 4 January.
But the president is still yet to take action despite returning to work.
Malawians yesterday stormed the Malawi Government Facebook page to demand answers.
“Why is he taking time to fire that corrupt minister Msukwa??” asked Amos Mwase on a post announcing the appointment of a new Chief Justice.
While Faith Nangumi said: “Why is it hard to fire a suspected corrupt cabinet minister Msukwa ? What sort of President does Malawi have ?”
Kodi ndiye kuti za Kezzie Msukwa kumangidwa tiyiwale?
— Pilirani Gondwe (@piliruni) January 7, 2022
Let this case go to court and let the judge decide. But has a case been registered? Does anyone have the guts to follow up on prosecution?
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