Trapence: says will hold a demonstration to express discontent over Mutharika’s handling of maizegate

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Some of the country’s Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) will on Thursday, March 2, 2017 hold demonstrations against President Peter Mutharika’s dormancy on Maize gate report recommendations as a way of taking to task government official over corrupt tendencies.

The march is aimed at forcing President Mutharika to act decisively on recommendations from both Joint Parliamentary committee and Presidential inquiry on Zambia-maize saga.
The demonstration comes barely a few days after the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera asked Mutharika to arrest the former Agriculture Minister George Chaponda for being named in both reports and for being found with huge sums of money at his house at Area 10 in the capital Lilongwe.

Among other recommendations that Mutharika has not addressed yet is the recommendation that Admarc board should initiate disciplinary proceedings against its senior managers who were involved in the maize procurement deal.

Still on recommendations, both inquiries recommended review of the Public Procurement Act to provide for the pre-procurement approval by Secretary to the Treasury and Attorney General for procurements by parastatals and state owned companies beyond certain thresholds.

The committee further recommended a review of the methodology currently used by Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) in coming up with its national food security assessments.

However, CSOs including Center for the Development of People (Cedep) and human rights activists Billy Mayaya and MacDonald Sembereka disclosed that Mutharika’s failure to act decisively on Chaponda was among the reasons for the demonstration.

“The CSOs demand nothing but full implementation of the inquiry recommendations. We call upon all relevant duty-bearers, including President Mutharika to provide decisive leadership in the fight against corruption, especially among those at the apex of government,” reads part of the letter calling for the demonstration signed by Mayaya and Cedep Executive Director, Gift Trapence.

The copy of the letter further read: “Since these issues came out, the President has decided to remain silent. We are wondering why the silence. We need him to come out and address the country after the two reports. We have already sent notices of the protests to relevant authorities.”

Mutharika has been under intense pressure from governance experts, law scholars, academics, civil society leaders and Malawians at large to take a bold step to deal with Chaponda in a way that sends a message that he really means business when it comes to fighting corruption. However, Mutharika has been overly indecisive on this issue giving way to rumors that he might be benefiting from Chaponda’s corrupt activities.