The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has accused the Tonse Alliance government of lacking seriousness in its fight against corruption.
Speaking during a briefing on corruption, governance and accountability yesterday in Lilongwe, HRDC board member Michael Kaiyatsa said government is not consistent in applying the law in fighting corruption.
He said: “If people are involved in corruption, government has to act. But if today a minister is implicated in corruption and he is removed and if tomorrow another minister does the same and nothing is done, then it gives the impression that government is applying the law selectively and we are against selective justice.”
HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence also wondered how amnesty will be applied in past cases.
“Our position is that we do not need to have selective justice. If you are talking about amnesty, we have cases that have been there for the past 10 or 15 years. How are you going to apply the same amnesty? If you are talking about amnesty now, how are you going to apply the same next year or 2024?
“If government is going to recover assets, they should follow the rule of law. We do not want to use the rule of the jungle. Even when you talk about amnesty on corruption cases, there are other crimes and is the same amnesty going to be applied?” he asked.
Kaiyatsa also expressed worry that there is no proper coordination between the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the office of the Attorney General (AG) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
He wondered whether the institutions are working to outshine each other.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako referred the issue to AG Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda who could not pick his phone.
However, Chakaka Nyirenda this week clarified that the declared amnesty will not involve those that the State believes it has overwhelming evidence against.
University of Malawi political scientist Ernest Thindwa said yesterday HRDC and other sectors of the society are justified to suspect that government is applying selective justice in fighting corruption.
He said: “Perception in politics matters. The way government has handled issues of corruption recently, one would be justified to conclude that there is selective justice. One would wonder why Minister of Lands Kezzie Msukwa is not fired when Newton Kambala and Ken Kandodo were fired.
“The issue of amnesty is also raising questions to Malawians and the public is justified considering the timing. The issue has come at a time when Msukwa has been implicated and also when ACB indicated that it would release names of other senior government officials.”
Thindwa also called for proper coordination between the ACB and AG, saying the two offices are crucial in fighting corruption.