While the country is making efforts in fighting corruption, more needs to be done if the fight against the vice is to succeed, experts have said.
They expressed the sentiments yesterday in Blantyre during a panel discussion held on the first day of the two-day National Anti-Corruption Conference taking place at in Blantyre.
The panellists were responding to the question of whether enough is being done to fight corruption and where Malawi is getting it wrong in the fight against the vice.
In her contribution during the panel discussion moderated by Malawi Broadcasting Corporation journalist Chawezi Banda, Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba said the fact that President Lazarus Chakwera hosted the anti-corruption conference is a clear indication that there is political will by the current administration to fight corruption.
She said: “The President has consistently spoken about dealing with corruption and several things have so far been done. But we can still do better as a people.”
The SPC said under the current nine-party Tonse Alliance, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has been strengthened unlike in previous governments. She said this is a sign of the government’s commitment to fighting corruption.
But making his contribution, former Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) chief executive officer Jimmy Lipunga said while much is being done to fight corruption, more needs to be done, especially on governance.
He said: “Much as we have laws, my view is that we can do a little more on governance. If we are to win the fight against corruption, we need to be intentional about certain standards like differentiating the roles of board members and chief executive officers.
“When you politicise these things, that’s when problems start to emerge,” he said.
Commenting on numerous laws that are put in place to address issues such as corruption, Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga said implementation of such laws has been a challenge.
She said: “We have good laws on paper, but implementation is what we should be spending more time talking about and implementing.”
The Justice of Appeal argued that if laws that are drafted have to be effective, the legislation must be implemented.
But on his part, University of Malawi Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Happy Kayuni said the challenge in fighting corruption is the loss of values.
He said the handouts culture is one aspect that is destroying the social fabric as well as social politicisation. But regardless of numerous challenges, he said people need to learn how to ask critical questions as part of holding duty-bearers accountable.
Prior to the panel discussion, Kenyan anti-corruption campaigner, Patrick Lumumba said graft is a cancer that must be fought and to do so, there is always need for concerted efforts.
He praised Chakwera for taking a bold stand against corruption, but said there are others within government ranks who are “cursing” him day and night for standing in their way.
“Corruption is a vicious beast that’s not easy to fight. [But] if we don’t fight corruption, it will fight and consume us,” said Lumumba.
Every year, Malawi hosts anti-corruption conferences, and for the previous three years, the focus from these conferences has been on corruption awareness, dialogues on progress against the graft fight, identification of challenges and solutions, among others.
The conference is being held under the theme ‘Resetting the Nation’s Moral Tone’ and discussions revolved around progress made in the fight against corruption.
Currently, the Corruption Perception Index ranks Malawi 110th out of 180 countries with a score of 35 percent. This is a slight improvement as two years ago, the country had a score of 31 percent.