Written by Patseni Mauka
As the dust settles on the news of the marriage of convenience between the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Peoples’ Party (PP), sources close to the talks between the two parties have revealed the secret agreements that led to the strange union.
The sources have disclosed that MCP’s Presidential candidate, Lazarus Chakwera has assured Joyce Banda and her PP members that he will not investigate and arrest them on the ‘cashgate’ fraud issues as he has been promising Malawians since 2014.
The source said that Joyce Banda is so scared of being arrested that she will do anything to protect herself, family and friends. During her two year presidency, billions of tax payer’s money were siphoned from government accounts. Most of this money is alleged to have ended up in PP and Joyce Banda’s hands.
The main man for these deals was cashgate convict Oswald Lutepo. Lutepo was an influential figure in the then ruling People’s Party and a member of the Party’s National Executive Committee. He was the PP’s Deputy Director of Recruitment and Sensitisation. He became an overnight billionaire during the party’s two year reign.
Lutepo was the chief financier for PP masquerading as a ‘well wisher’. He donated billions in cash, materials and vehicles to PP. At one time he donated 22 vehicles to the now failed party. Joyce Banda publicly endorsed Oswald Lutepo as an important friend to the Peoples Party at several of her public rallies. He was a constant visitor to State House to meet Joyce Banda.
In September, 2015, Lutepo was slapped with 11 years imprisonment with hard labour for being found guilty on his own plea to charges of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government. On numerous occasions, Lutepo has implicated former president Joyce Banda in the looting and plunder of public resources, claiming Banda used him as a conduit to siphon K4.2 billion kwacha from public coffers.
The Nation Newspaper quoted Lutepo as saying: “Joyce Banda already knows that she used me. I can’t start explaining things that she already knows. She knows how she used me.“My message to Joyce Banda is that she has to know that love is more important than anything else. Using someone is a sign of lack of love.”
Despite such obvious connections, the DPP government is failing to investigate Joyce Banda and some PP members because DPP and PP’s corruption is entangled. DPP is aware that investigating PP members will open a can of worms on DPP’s own corruption. With DPP chances of winning elections very low, Joyce Banda is gambling on possible winners of elections to protect her after DPP is gone.
After failing to get an assurance and future protection from prosecution with UTM, Joyce Banda lied to Malawians that she will stand as president but was busy looking for suitors. She got the assurance of protection from Chakwera and MCP. Chakwera has just demonstrated that he is not the new clean leader that Malawians are looking for.
In 2013, Chakwera was quoted as saying his party was ready to transform the country with what he called a ‘rescue plan’. “We must take stock, as we move into a crucial year. It is clear that a few Malawians have gotten rich while the majority further slip into deep poverty,” said Chakwera in apparent reference to the cashgate scandal under the Joyce Banda administration.
“We have leadership that is not honest. We have leaders who defend thieves and gangsters by calling them ‘well-wishers, leaders who resort to family successions in politics to continue with looting and plundering of our resources,” Chakwera said.
“Let me assure you and all Malawians that I will be at the service of the nation and ensure that we move forward and never be blocked by greed and insatiable appetite of ill-gotten wealth,” he said. Chakwera appealed to Malawians “never to be cheated into voting for corrupt leaders and parties again”, saying his MCP offers the most viable option to voters.
With the agreement to protect fraud suspects in the unlikely event that MCP wins the elections, Chakwera has shown that he can’t be trusted with the country’s leadership. But Malawians can find solace in the fact that Joyce Banda has a very bad sense of judgment, she has got assurances from a man that will lose elections in May, 2019. After that she will go back to exile and continue lying at international conferences on what a great two year president she was.