The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) and other concerned citizens are planning to hold a vigil at Capital Hill in an effort to force country’s Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda to step down.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday in Lilongwe, CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa said letting Nyirenda continue serving in this constitutional office will be setting a bad precedent that public officers of the AG’s caliber can lie and get away with it hence CDEDI won’t leave Capital Hill until the AG swallows his pride and accept that he lied to Malawians.
According to him, the arrangement is that vigils will run on all working days from 7am to 12 Noon.
“The tough action by CDEDI and concerned citizens follows the expiry of the seven-day ultimatum to the AG who is taking forever to show Malawians proof that he recovered the MK750 million meant for the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP),” he explained
According to Namiwa, the law demands, CDEDI has already dutifully notified the Lilongwe District authorities about this intended action.
In a feedback letter that CDEDI received, the District Commissioner for Lilongwe, Lawford Palani has invited all concerned parties to a stakeholders meeting on May 10 where arrangements for the vigil shall be discussed.
Namiwa has since challenged all Malawians to stand firm in holding public officers accountable for their promises and lies, as the surest way of fighting impunity and executive arrogance which is currently threatening the country’s young democracy.
He says for instance, following the AIP saga there was need for an explanation as to why, besides the sacking of Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe and his Deputy Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima, no one has been arrested in connection to the shameful scandal.
“Malawians may wish to recall that as some citizens took to social media protesting government’s decision to pay the MK750 million to a butcher in the United Kingdom (UK) others, led by the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Chairperson Sameer Suleman, concluded that the money was stolen and shared within,” says Namiwa.
On April 28, CDEDI invoked the Access to Information (ATI) Act, trying to hold the AG accountable on this matter of national interest.
As feared, CDEDI’s bid fell on deaf ears which Namiwa feels is a typical example of impunity and executive arrogance.
“On a second thought, the AG’s deafening silence gives credence to Suleman’s assertions that the money was, indeed, stolen and shared among those that feel they can do as they please with Malawians’ hard-earned taxes,” says Namiwa.
He has since demanded that with no delays, the AG must produce evidence of recovery of the MK750 million or resign.
“Unless he provides evidence that the money has been recovered in full, Chakaka Nyirenda has lost the trust of the people of Malawi, therefore, the noble thing he should do is to resign. Malawians want an honest Attorney General,” says Namiwa.
Only saying there is cumbersome legal process to redeem the money, Nyirenda is yet to brief Malawians on how much of the MK750 million has been recovered.
Nyirenda told the local media in December that he would resign if the MK750 million was not recovered in full.
He claimed that the money was frozen in a bank account in Germany but there has been no update from his office on a matter that is directly tax payers.
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