…queries the use of public funds defending corruption instead of fighting cholera
By Iommie Chiwalo
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has risen to the occasion in surprise over how government is handling issues to do with Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General, Martha Chizuma, a situation which fairly begs for the question as to whose interest is Chakwera serving in the whole saga.
In a statement signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says his organisation contends that resources and energy channeled towards victimising Chizuma should be directed elsewhere, including towards the fight against cholera which has claimed over 1 200 lives since March last year.
Namiwa also demands that President Chakwera should publicly order his cronies to
take their hands off Chizuma or else squarely come out in the open and declare that his Tonse Alliance administration does not need the services of the ACB, at least during its remaining two years.
“Otherwise, it is needless reminding the President that Section 12 of the
Constitution is clear that those exercising State authority should do so solely to serve and protect the interests of the people,” he said.
The calls by Namiwa are coming after it is apparent that the cholera death toll will continue to increase since suppliers are contemplating snubbing both Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) and
individual public health facilities due to non-payment.
“It, therefore, beats human imagination that the same government that does not have money to pay suppliers of essential drugs and medical supplies has money to hire private
practice lawyers to fight against the will and wish of the voters and taxpayers, most of whom sympathise with Chizuma because she is doing what is expected
of her,” says Namiwa.
He has since reminded government that the public purse is too constrained to
accommodate the luxury of using the hard-earned taxpayer’s money to finance personal legal battles at the expense of millions of Malawians walloping in abject
Namiwa has, therefore, challenged President Chakwera to publicly direct his cronies to withdraw all the court cases aimed at harassing the ACB Director General Martha Chizuma and that the Money saved by taking that route should be put to better use, such as paying suppliers of cholera drugs, who have reportedly gone for months without being paid.
According to Namiwa, CDEDI strongly believe that it is not too late for the President to borrow a leaf from his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto by declaring that any government department or ministry that drags another organ of government to court should pay from its purse.
“In the same vein, we would like to remind the President that a precedent was set here at home whereby former president Peter Mutharika and the former
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Llyod Muhara paid from their pockets
legal costs incurred by government as a result of poor decisions they made while in power,” he said.
CDEDI also echoes the retired Justice Dunstain Mwaungulu’s call for President Chakwera to order his boys to take their hands off the ACB director.
In his writing Mwaungulu feels the ACB Director General debacle can end just by a stroke of a pen without much pain!
“So much so that the Attorney General’s insistence to oppose the judicial review is the most callous display of the Attorney General’s (and the Director of Public Prosecution’s) failure to understand the point where policy and law intersect,” Mwaungulu shares his thoughts on the matter.
The highly learned retired judge highlights that the Director of Public Prosecutions does not have to prosecute all crimes saying it is only when it is “desirable” to prosecute.
“Given the fight(against corruption), the frustration which is that of Director of the Anti- Corruption Bureau, the public outcry, it is not at all “desirable” to prosecute this crime and the ACB Director General as a matter of policy or law,” he said.
Meanwhile government has appealed to the Supreme Court against stay order by the lower court to validate interdiction of ACB Director General.
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