We members of the Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue (CS-PCD) highly commend the President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika for taking a decisive step by relieving Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Dr. George Chaponda from his duties.
We profoundly commend the President because he has demonstrated that he is a true democrat with practical desire to curb graft and root out corruption. By taking this decisive action, President Mutharika has further demonstrated the true character of a strong leader who;
a) Takes action based on facts gathered through properly constituted legal processes;
b) Allows governance institutions to be given space and do their rightful roles in line with our constitutional order;
c) Promotes the rule of law and ensures that any action taken on public officers should not be done haphazardly but should be inline with the constitutional requirements which require respect for the due process of law.
d) Upholds principles of fairness and natural justice which are also central to protecting the rights of individual citizens, rights of all Malawians, and sanctity of all governance institutions involved.
As the Civil Society platform, we further commend President Mutharika for leaving up to the pledge he made to defend the Constitution and the laws of our land and he swore not to shield any officer involved in corruption. True to this, the State President instituted a Commission of Inquiry which operated independently and professionally. The Commission submitted its impartial findings to President Mutharika who made a clear and strong commitment to take action based on the findings.
We also commend President Mutharika that in line with the fundamental principles of accountability and transparency, the State President declared that the findings of the Commission of Inquiry should be publicly declared and disseminated to all Malawians. We urge President Mutharika to continue pursuing openness and the freedom of access to information. As Civil Society, we highly applaud President Mutharika for guaranteeing and ensuring an enabling environment for the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to act independently based on the Commission’s findings.
Much as we are aware that being found in possession of cash at his house is NOT in itself direct evidence of corruption directly related to the Zambia maize procurement issue, it nonetheless point to the further suspicion of Dr. Chaponda’s contravention of the Laws of Malawi and possible wrong doing which will have to be decided by the Courts. The President has therefore been more proactive and timely in his decision making and disciplining based on the seizure of the stacks of cash from Dr. Chaponda’s house.
The relieving of Hon. Chaponda from his ministerial duties is therefore a result of a logical sequence of events and President Mutharika has acted based on facts and based on legally accepted principles. President Mutharika has shown great leadership by acting not based on heresy or social media verdicts or emotions. The State President has acted with the deep-seated interest of Malawians at heart.
In conclusion, we the Civil Society Platform for Constructive Dialogue urge the ACB to continue on the path of professionalism. The ACB should be non-selective and apolitical in its approach and should regain public trust by avoiding being selective in its approaches.
We commend President Mutharika’s administration for operating without interference in the ACB operations and we urge the ACB to use this space and independence to ensure a logical conclusion to the current matter involving Hon. Dr. George Chaponda, and also in other matters which the ACB is pursuing.
– May God Bless Malawi –
CIVIL SOCIETY PLATFORM FOR CONSTRUCTIVE DIALOGUE