BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—United Kingdom based fierce critic of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Thom Chiumia, has put politics aside by lauding President Peter Mutharika for his decision to relieve George Chaponda of his ministerial duties amid rotten maize deal, in which Chaponda is allegedly to have played a big role.
Chiumia, who is the editor of one of the country’s online publications, Nyasatimes, has said Mutharika’s action to push Chaponda out of the cabinet is a demonstration of progressive leadership.
Chaponda is being accused of corrupt conduct in the multi-million Kwacha maize procurement deal between Malawi and Zambia grain agencies.
Two days ago, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) also raided his house in Area 10, Lilongwe, where stashes of money in different currencies were found.
Mutharika, who is the minister’s closet ally, fired him immediately after the revelations.
But contrary to what some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are doing by not praising the president for the decision, Chiumia has said “that’s a way to go.”
Writing under his column, loose cannon, Chiumia wonders why the same quarters that lobbied hard for the dismissal and possible arrest of Chaponda cannot see anything good in the President’s decision to fire him, pending further investigations, notwithstanding the fact that the beleaguered minister is the President’s closest ally.
“But President Mutharika has just demonstrated ‘progressive’ leadership by pushing out Chaponda as Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development over allegations of his corrupt conduct in the multi-million Kwacha maize procurement deal between Malawi and Zambia grain agencies.
“There had been widespread consensus about Chaponda’s alleged wrongdoing. The President’s first step to deal with the matter was to institute a Commission of Inquiry, which was led by retired Chief Justice Anastanzia Msosa,” writes Chiumia.
He added: “It is ironical that the same quarters that lobbied hard for the dismissal and possible arrest of Chaponda cannot see anything good in the President’s decision to fire him, pending further investigations, notwithstanding the fact that the beleaguered minister is the President’s closest ally.
“The Chinese have a famous adage “every journey starts with one step”. Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has done what was unthinkable in the minds of many Malawians just one week ago. He has taken a bold step and gotten rid of a powerful minister; a personal friend; and a ‘homeboy’.”
He has also taken swipe at critics who cannot see anything good in the Mutharika’s decision, arguing “if what the President has done is not a demonstration of personal zeal and political will at the highest level to deal with corruption and theft of public resources, then we must be living in Mars. As a people, we ought to raise our voice in support of the President’s commitment to fight corruption and encourage him to ‘cast his net wider’, instead of making wild comments that have no value at all but politics written all over them.”
Chiumia’s online publication has been criticizing the DPP leadership since its inception. During the reign of late Bingu Wa Mutharika, Nyasatimes was against the government on everything and when Joyce Banda took over, the publication changed tune and started attacking opposition parties.
The coming in of DPP again in 2014, saw the online media changing its philosophy by starting attacking the government and its leader Peter Mutharika.