It is very easy for the DPP hierarchy to tag Forum for National Development (FND) as PP hopeless stooges and bootlickers for petitioning government this week to repossess the houses that were sold to Bingu and Peter Mutharika for a song in Lilongwe.
But truth be told, Peter Mutharika, the surviving sibling of the two, and with an ambition to be president of this country in four months’ time, cannot hide away from this issue.
Malawians deserve answers and fast. It is election time for Christ’s sake!
I should be the first to know and admit that Peter, just like any other Malawian, has a right to buy a house in any part of the country, his deep and bottomless pocket permitting.
But, excuse me, this cannot be at the ridiculously low price of K20 million that the Mutharikas paid for five houses in the upmarket locations of Area 3 and Area 10.
It is a fact that the property market has gone crazy in Malawi during the past 20 years or so.
But Peter bought a house in Area 10 at a give-away price of K3 760 000 in 2003, a transaction that National Audit Office, in an audit, has declared illegal because the DPP presidential candidate was neither a sitting tenant nor a Lilongwe City Council employee.
Many Malawians, even those on salaried employment, can afford to raise K3 760 000 within a week, if offered to buy a house in Area 10, but the truth of the matter is that no such offer can be randomly made because they are not connected to the ruling class.
It is clear that Peter used his connection to the presidency and authorities at the council had little room to manoeuvre to the extent that they failed to tell him that according to the rules by his own brother’s government, he did not qualify.
At the end of the day, just like the cashgate, this is politicians and those connected to them, sharing national property in total disregard of decent and hard-working Malawians who toil for nothing.
Here we are talking about a presidential candidate who wants to rule this country and perhaps get more houses, this time as president.
You would have expected Peter to come out clean, be contrite and explain to Malawians and tell them why he should be given the presidency despite this apparent greed and disregard of rules to acquire personal wealth.
Instead the DPP president is arrogantly firing from all cylinders on the matter and telling us all off that we do not matter and our concerns do not feature in his vocabulary.
This is what Mutharika’s personal assistant, Ben Phiri, arrogantly told this newspaper when it investigated and published the matter in November last year: “They ( I do not know who, perhaps us all, the subjects of this kingdom and not citizens of this republic) must find a legal way of getting it as it was purchased in a legal way as well. Otherwise, political utterances, political powers or cheap politics from those that claim to know of the alleged influence has no basis unless proven so, and a legal way be put in place, then we will surrender, minus that zero.”
My question, dear Malawians, is: should we allow this? That politicians should get away with appropriating among themselves national wealth and when systems query it, they should laugh at us and throw mud to our direction, telling us to go to hell and hang? And then while they are at it, they should also be asking for our votes to be given another lease of life to continue the plunder?
Unless we have honest answers to these questions, our country is damned.
I will finish this piece, once again, with a rallying call that unless Malawians take back the country from the vice grip of marauding politicians and then undertake a crash course in how to demand accountability from those that want to run this country, they can as well forget that they will get out from the bondage of poverty to free themselves from the shackles of perpetual misery.
As for Peter, arrogance will not stop us from asking that he fully account for the cheap purchase of a house in an affluent suburb in Lilongwe where most Malawians have no chance in hell to stay, not because they do not want to, but because they have the misfortune of not being a minister in their brother’s government.