May 20 2021
It is apparent that the corruption discourse has taken the front seat. In the courts, stunning and very dazzling revelations have been made.
Sometime in 2018, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda put it bluntly, that corruption in the Judiciary is a ‘present danger threatening the integrity of the Judiciary’. It is only now that it becomes clear that palm-oiling sometimes happens in the process of making justice to be seen to be done.
Last week, the Public Appointments Committee of Parliament rejected the appointment of Martha Chizuma as director general of the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB). Eyebrows were raised in what manner the committee arrived at such a decision. The coincidence in the ratings were, simply, astonishing.
It was difficult to decipher who gave Chizuma the least scores and who gave her the most since the composition of the committee is fluid politically.
Then, the voting system was changed and members had to vote on a yes or no question on whether or not they wanted Chizuma to head ACB. Politics was at play as well, as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) walked out and one member abstained.
In the report presented to Parliament, chair for the committee Joyce Chitsulo said the grading is done in secrecy. Queer and absurd, but since that is going by parliamentary standing orders, we buy it.
Whatever the case, if we are serious about fighting corruption, I guess by now, we should have known what hand was stroking this painting. The initial grading shows that both sides were not objective and they were just fulfilling the needs of their masters (it could have been one master who orchestrated the bias).
While we are at it, would it be better, as proposed, that the Corrupt Practices Act (CPA) be amended that it should be the Public Appointments Committee that should appoint the director general and that the President will confirm the committee’s endorsement?
It is clear that Chizuma, like her predecessors, has an uphill task before her, where invisible political hands in extremely black gloves dictate the sacred cows. Corruption is a clandestine adultery or fornication that only leads to the birth of a malnourished and impoverished baby.
It was bewildering to learn in court that business mogul Thom Mpinganjira said he bankrolled major political parties, including the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the UTM Party, the People’s Party and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). It is only the courts that can determine the merits and demerits of the testimony, but it could be a reason we really got to the bottom of it all.
Who finances political parties? Obviously, they have motives for financing the parties.
The rule of law is a pillar for democracy. Why are political parties not going by the spirit of the law of the Political Parties Act? Section 27 (2) of the act provides that where parties get a donation of K1 million from an individual or K2 million from an organisation, they should declare within 90 days.
This proviso was put in order to avoid corruption and other foolery. Which party secretary general of these parties will be the first to let the registrar of political parties know where they got obscene donations?
It is a given fact that the pressure on political to raise money increases the power for interest groups and individuals to influence how parties conduct themselves in exchange for financial assistance.