Malawi coalition govt teetering on brink of collapse as it grapples corruption | News24

  • Lazarus Chakwera’s sanctioning of his coalition accomplice might see him change into a single time period president.
  • An Afrobarometer ballot says the vast majority of Malawians really feel Chakwera’s authorities has did not take care of corruption.
  • Zuneth Sattar, the central suspect in a state seize investigation, allegedly paid 84 people and acquired R2.4 billion in contracts over 5 years.

By limiting his vice chairman’s powers, firing the police boss, and suspending quite a few senior authorities officers implicated in corruption expenses, Malawi’s president Lazarus Chakwera’s actions might spell the top for the Tonse Alliance of 2020 which introduced him to energy.

If the coalition collapsed, Chakwera can be setting himself up as a “single term” president, stated political analysts in Malawi.

On Tuesday evening, Chakwera introduced that he had suspended the “delegated duties” of his deputy Saulos Klaus Chilima.

Vice president Chilima is the chief of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) political celebration. Because of the coalition association, Chakwera stated he couldn’t fireplace him, however that he would curtail his powers.

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“As for the vice president, his office is unique, in that the constitution does not provide for his suspension or removal from it by the president because he holds that office by the will of Malawian voters which I respect.

“As such, one of the best I can do for now, which is what I’ve determined to do, is to withhold from his workplace any delegated duties,” he said in a televised address.

Chilima is the highest-ranking official alongside the inspector-general of police George Kainja and Prince Kapondamgaga, the state house chief of staff, and John Suzi Banda, the chairperson for the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, to be suspended on allegations of receiving kickbacks from UK-based businessman Zuneth Sattar in exchange for government contracts.

“It’s tense. The alliance has since final yr been berated for its failure to ship significantly on the corruption promise and immediately one in every of its principals turns into the face of a corruption investigation.

“His supporters feel Chakwera will make him the fall guy and taint him. The alliance won’t survive this,” stated political analyst James Phiri.

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He added that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was already contemplating the opportunity of contesting the 2025 elections by itself.

The coalition of governing events in Malawi was made up of Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party and Chilima’s UTM, which was joined by seven smaller events. 

Theirs has been a wedding of comfort and for a while now, the Big Two (because the MCP and UTM are referred to) had not been working effectively collectively.

Corruption battle

According to Afrobarometer’s newest report on Malawi, “a majority of Malawians say that corruption is increasing and that the government is performing poorly in dealing with the vice. Most want strong sanctions against cabinet ministers and businesses associated with corruption”.

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi launched a pastoral letter pointing at “weak and indecisive leadership”, and “plunder of public resources, patronage and impunity” as a few of the issues within the Tonse Alliance administration.

For journalists, holding public officers accountable has been a thorny problem in Malawi. In March, Malawian journalist Vitus-Gregory Gondwe was arrested for refusing to reveal sources referring to a narrative revealed on his Platform for Investigative Journalism.

His story touched on police boss Kainja, who had additionally been suspended by Chakwera. The report alleged that Kainja was in Sattar’s pocket.

“I feel vindicated and investigative journalism has once again won. Of course, this is just the beginning as the prosecution of these cases has not started in earnest.

“There is a must do extra when it comes to transparency the place again and again these in authority ought to come clear to clarify the supply of their wealth.

“Still, in Chakwera’s government, there are several ministers who have become instant millionaires overnight and there is an unwillingness on the government side to carry out lifestyle audits. Which could be a huge step toward addressing corruption in my country,” stated Gondwe.

At the centre of Malawi’s corruption busting efforts is the Anti-Corruption Bureau director-general Martha Chizuma.

In January, Chakwera and Chizuma clashed over the latter’s frustration with alleged corruption within the authorized system and allegations of state seize that affected her work.

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In the previous, Chakwera was accused of failing to take care of corruption decisively till he shockingly dissolved the cupboard over the members’ hyperlinks to Sattar after his assembly with Chizuma.

For his half, Chakwera had been accused of nepotism after he employed his relations into authorities jobs, significantly his daughter and son-in-law.

Zuneth Sattar

In May, Sattar, the Malawian-born British businessman, was refused permission to depart the UK.

He was arrested by the UK’s National Crime Agency in October 2021, based mostly on Chizuma’s report on how he was alleged to have unlawfully landed authorities contracts.

He is but to be charged.

Sattar, in keeping with British courtroom information, was allegedly behind demonstrations in Malawi towards Chizuma.

Members of Concerned Citizens in Lilongwe on 26 May marched to the workplaces of the Anti-Corruption Bureau calling for Chizuma’s elimination.

According to Chakwera, throughout his tackle on Tuesday evening, 84 people had been on Sattar’s listing and had been alleged to have acquired funds from the corruption suspect.

Chakwera added that over a interval of 5 years, together with years earlier than he got here into energy in 2020, Malawi had paid about R2.4 billion (about $150 million) to firms belonging to Sattar.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The tales produced by way of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements which may be contained herein don’t mirror these of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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