Malawi Bishops slam Chakwera’s slow decision making


Catholic Bishops in Malawi have expressed concern over President Lazarus Chakwera’s indecisiveness, particularly in the fight against corruption.

A pastoral letter signed by seven bishops under the Episcopal Conference of Malawi of the Catholic Church says the decision making at the highest level of government is slow despite the president having the necessary legal powers, authority and information.

“This is particularly true with respect to the fight against corruption. We believe that a President who campaigned on a platform of anti-corruption, and promised to deal with the vice, will not keep any of his ministers and aides when there is sufficient information about their involvement in corruption,” the bishops said.

They also noted reports indicating that work in various statutory corporations, ministries, departments and agencies has stalled because of delay of guidance or approval from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).

According to the bishops, instead of being the centre of effective administration radiating the essence of servant leadership, OPC has become a source of inefficiency and underperformance in the public service.

“The performance of the office and the competence and suitability of key persons manning the office should be urgently reviewed and decisive actions taken,” reads part of the letter.

On recent revelations concerning the plunder of public resources by foreign nationals in partnership with corrupt politicians and civil servants, the Bishops said they are convinced that Malawi has enough resources which, if put to good use, could propel it to meaningful development for all.

They added that the revelations should serve as an opportunity for Malawi demonstrate concretely that the battle against corruption is not just mere lip service but a genuine and relentless fight to eliminate the vice.

“We are equally dismayed that some greedy Malawians are siding with those responsible for the plunder of resources instead of siding with the poor who are victims of corruption. These resources belong to Malawians and if put to good use, this country would not be where it is today. True patriotism demands that we should feel angry at such unpatriotic behaviour and religiously defend the resources of our country,” reads part of the letter.

The Bishops in the letter have also spoken against the politics of appeasement and patronage which has continued under Chakwera, pretty much like in previous regimes. They have provided an example of questionable recruitments of Chief Executive Officers to various parastatals.

“It is our view that resolving these issues immediately require forthright executive political leadership that would intervene in ways that would promote integrity, uprightness and the rule of law.

“We note that these institutions accumulate and manage huge amounts of revenues that do not go through the national budget. This enables spending without sufficient accountability and creates an environment for siphoning public resources for narrow political ends and personal benefits.

“These parastatals must operate with total independence and be accountable to Malawians. Sadly, continued pressure and interference by the Office of the President and Cabinet in the operations of parastatals is a clear demonstration of impunity,” reads part of the letter.

The bishops have since called upon President Chakwera to intervene and provide the necessary executive political leadership.

Bishops who have signed the letter are Most Reverend George Tambala President and Archbishop of Lilongwe; Right Reverend Montfort Stima Vice President and Bishop of Mangochi; Most Reverend Thomas Msusa Archbishop of Blantyre; Right Reverend Martin Mtumbuka Bishop of Karonga; Right Reverend Peter Musikuwa Bishop of Chikwawa, Right Reverend John Ryan Bishop of Mzuzu and Right Reverend Peter Chifukwa Bishop of Dedza.