Malawi national security: A conspiratorial scapegoat to massive looting, bribery and corruption

President Chakwera

It is unfortunate that our political leaders, including the President of Malawi, Chakwera, and Vice President Saulos Chilima, have used the responsibility of safeguarding the country’s national security as a lame excuse to massively loot government coffers.

It is also disheartening to learn that the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has recently endorsed the discontinuance of Saulos Chilima’s corruption and bribery case. This stance is retrogressive as far as fighting corruption in Malawi is concerned.

Malawians are not surprised by the way the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has chosen to handle corruption with kid gloves because it is dominated by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) stalwarts whose agenda is to defraud government coffers like nobody’s business.

After all, many Malawians have lost trust in our legislature as it has transformed into an incubator for advancing political ideologies rather than serving the interests of Malawians.

This is not the first time that our parliament has disappointed many Malawians in fighting corruption. Some four years ago, the Parliamentary Public Appointment Committee unceremoniously rescinded its decision, thereby confirming the partisan and incompetent Martha Chizuma to the position of Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Lazarus Chakwera walking on carpets at Kamuzu International Airport
Another cashgate: Is President Chakwera using Malawi’s national security as conduit for corruption?

As a matter of fact, it is unpatriotic to hide behind national security to perpetrate corruption. Taking Malawians for granted like this is very pathetic.

What is more lamentable is that it is not only the Chakwera government which has accelerated corruption and bribery while feigning to safeguard national security.

Former President Joyce Banda sold a 14-passenger presidential jet for $15 million (about 26 billion Malawi Kwacha) when it was purchased at US$22 million (about K39 billion). What was dubious is that the proceeds from the sale of the jet were not deposited in the Malawi government consolidated account known as Account Number One.

To this day, most Malawians, except Joyce Banda and her accomplices, are unaware of how the proceeds from the presidential jet were used or misused. However, there is scant evidence that such money was used to buy maize to avert looming hunger. It is also alleged that part of the payment went towards purchasing military equipment again for the purposes of safeguarding national security.

During political campaigns, Mr Chakwera promised Malawians that his government would investigate how Joyce Banda’s administration handled the sale of the presidential jet.

However, when Joyce Banda partnered with Chakwera in a Tonse Alliance grand coalition, President Chakwera changed his tune, blaming the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime for its failure to prosecute Joyce Banda.

It is not true that the law permits corruption and bribery when safeguarding Malawi’s national security. No one is above the law. Therefore, President Chakwera, Vice President Chilima, Director of Public Prosecutions Chamkakala, the Legal Affairs Committee, and all Malawians at large are not above the law.

For instance, former Malawi Defence Commander Henry Odillo, alongside former Deputy Commander Clement Kafuwa, are answering corruption charges. They are accused of sanctioning payments to the aggregate tune of MK5 billion to the South African business enterprise, Thuso Group, which prosecutors allege is a fake military equipment supplier.

Even former Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service, George Kainja, is also answering corruption charges. Both Henry Odillo and George Kainja were at the helm of providing national security. If these people are being prosecuted, what is special about Vice President Saulos Chilima?

We appeal to civil society organisations, members of the clergy, members of parliament, human rights activists, and all patriotic Malawians to force the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee to rescind its decision so that Chilima’s case can be resuscitated.


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