We in the United Progressive People (UPP) have received the news on the fire which has gutted the offices of the Minister and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development in Malawi with great shock and surprise.
Our position is informed by the legal test of what every “reasonable man” would conclude and we hereby authoritatively believe that this act of arson is a deliberate and well orchestrated scheme by the corrupt regimes, through their private or state agents, to destroy valuable evidence in the ongoing criminal investigations on the maize saga.
It is not uncommon for corrupt regimes to resort to desperate acts of sabotage with a view to escaping possible trial and conviction. Over the past decade, the offices of the Zambia National Tender Board (ZNTB) were gutted by fire at a time that one minister and other senior government officials were being investigated for plunder. The burning to ashes of critical evidence resulted in the cessation of criminal investigations.
African leaders have aborted serious investigations and revelations of corrupt practices by either assassinating whistle blowers or causing the disappearance of records at pre-trial and during trial stages.
Zambia lost one of the most talented and intelligent young politician, Paul Tembo, a day before the scheduled submission of evidence during the sittings of the tribunal which was appointed to probe ministers for their involvement in the cashgate scandal. In this case, ministers allegedly drew about K2 billion from the National Assembly to fund the MMD convention.
Likewise, Malawi lost a Mr. Bakuwa of ADMARC mysteriously within days after he refused to have backdoor dealings with ZCF. Immediately after his death, all the illegal transactions on the Malawian and Zambian sides took place and today these deals are at the core of the maizegate mystery.
Today, the continent of Africa, which has been plagued with bad leadership and corruption, has witnessed a new twist in a case that has attracted international interest.
The case in point is that after a few days of the presentation of the Commission of Inquiry report to President Arthur P. Mutharika, the office of the Minister of Agriculture in Malawi has suffered the same fate of ZNTB (as it was called then). Naturally, every reasonable man would expect the ongoing investigations by the ACC (Zambia) and ACB (Malawi) to end in the same way that the investigations of senior government officials ended, for lack of evidence, when ZNTB was gutted.
We in the UPP submitted before the Commission of Inquiry that Presidents Edgar C. Lungu and Prof. Arthur P. Mutharika must clear their names in the scandal. We have expressed serious concerns that the direct involvement of Presidents in this deal will render the whole exercise academic.
In our submission, we prayed that while the two Presidents enjoyed the temporary earthly immunity for now; let them take punitive actions against officials who they clearly used to advance corrupt practices.
President Edgar C. Lungu must explain to Zambians how a company called Zdenakie Commodities Ltd came into the deal. The directors of this company which came into play at the eleventh hour must be known. This revelation will prove that UPP does not provide checks and balances through rumours – we deal with hard evidence (documentary, video and audio).
In the same breathe; President Arthur P. Mutharika must explain to Malawians how Transglobe came into the deal. Hon. Dora Siliya and Dr. George Chaponda must equally explain to our two peoples how they sealed these deals under the aegis of the two Presidents.
We shall be shocked, but not surprised if these ministers and public officers who played a role in the scandal are maintained in government. African leaders who plunder the poor people’s resources do it through their subordinates and when scandals are exposed they (leaders) feel duty bound to defend the corruption of their lieutenants.
The report of the Commission is unequivocal and stands on solid grounds in terms of findings and recommendations. We reminded commissioners that they travelled to Zambia on the blood and sweat of the people of Malawi who roam the streets everyday in search of a livelihood. In this context, we appealed to them not to submit a report which would please the appointing authority.
It is with this in mind that we in the UPP shudder and with deep pain stand helplessly as we see justice being miscarried before the very eyes of the voiceless people of Zambia and Malawi. Like king David, we shall encourage ourselves in the LORD. The Word