2024-06-14

HardTalk – Both Chakwera and Chilima are corrupt

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Welcome Rick Dzida to this special edition of “HARDtalk” with me, Burnett Munthali, from Lilongwe. Malawians are surprised with the discontinuation of the high profile corruption case which was dropped by government on Monday 6 May 2024. Some of the citizens do not fully understand what this actually means if the court has acquitted the Vice President, the court has decided to drop the case or government has decided to drop the case from continuing.

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Q1) What’s your explanation on this case?

A1) It simply means that we have a long way to stamp out corruption because it is the government which has decided to drop the case from continuing.

Instead of Chakwera’s government to exude the political will to crackdown on corruption, it has become the perpetrator of the vice.

It also means that you don’t need to play with Saulos Chilima anyhow. In fact this has demonstrated that President Chakwera bows down to Saulos Chilima

Lastly, it means both Chakwera and Chilima are corrupt.

Q2) Government has dropped corruption charges against Vice President clearing a legal hurdle over his potential candidacy in 2025 presidential election. What’s your comment? Are you surprised that this case has been dropped ?

A2) Even if a presidential candidate has a case to answer, he is presumed innocent till the competent court of law.

Therefore the criminal case did not bar Saulos Chilima from standing for presidency.

What bars Chilima is the 2009 High court verdict that stipulated that the vice President who has served his maximum two terms is not eligible for presidency.

Unfortunately, with our highly corrupt and politicised judiciary, it is likely that such verdict might be overturned.

I am not surprised that President Chakwera has dropped Chilima’s corruption charges. Chakwera has never shown a political will to fight corruption. He discontinued Bakili Muluzi corruption case. He even pardoned a corruption suspect, Uladi Mussa.

Q3) The Vice President was arrested in 2022 over graft allegations after the Anti-Corruption Bureau alleged he was rewarded for assisting Xaviar Limited in malachite FZE, two companies connected to British businessman Zuneth Sattar to be awarded contracts by the Malawi Government. What does this mean when government has dropped all charges against him?

A3) It simply means that government is at the forefront promoting corrupt practices.

It all shows that President Chakwera is truly hiding behind presidential immunity to perpetuate corruption.

You may recall that Saulos Chilima wanted presidential immunity to be removed as a defence mechanism in his corruption case. It means that Chilima knew that President Chakwera and his government are both involved in corruption.

Q4) In a notice we have seen Judge Redson Kapindu said the decision to drop the charges was after the director of public prosecutions filed a notice for the case to be discontinued. Could you clarify for the sake of the reader out there what has actually transpired here? Does this mean the court has found him not guilty or government decided to discontinue the case?

A4) In this scenario, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is simply a conduit of President Chakwera’s decision

Section 99 (c) (2) of the Malawi Constitution empowers the DPP to discontinue any criminal case that he deems it fit.

Unfortunately, discontinuation of the criminal case does not imply that the defendant has not been found guilty.

In fact, one can argue that the case was discontinued in an attempt to shield Vice President Chilima from being found guilty.

 

From another prospective, President Chakwera might have discontinued the Chilima case because he is paranoid of being implicated or exposed.

Q5) Judge Kapindu ordered the DPP to provide reasons for discontinuing the case to the legal affairs Committee of parliament within 10 days as required by Malawi Constitution. Can you explain this position in simple terms what this means?

A5) This is a concept of checks and balances on government institutions. There must be objective reasons for discontinuing the Chilima’s case.

The Malawi Constitution provides checks and balances on the DPP with a view of avoiding the abuse of power.

The parliamentary legal affairs committee has powers to resuscitate the discontinued Chilima’s case if it finds that the reasons given by the DPP are not convincing.

Q6) Chilima’s lawyer Khumbo Soko said his team was relieved that the criminal charges against the vice president had been dropped. What does this mean in simple terms when a criminal case has been dropped in court ?

A6) It simply means that the case can no longer be prosecuted. In other words, Dr. Saulos Chilima is a free man as he has no case to answer.

Q7) What do you think is the future of the political landscape in Tonse Alliance after this development?

A7) The future of Tonse Alliance after this development looks promising. It also implies that there is a cordial relationship between President Chakwera and his Vice President Saulos Chilima. You recall that President Chakwera recently has started delegating presidential duties when he sent him to represent him at a national celebration in Tanzania.

Q8) Is government really serious in this corruption fight?

A8) Not at all. In fact Tonse Alliance government has become serious perpetrators of corruption in our country.

Q9) What are your last thoughts on today’s interview?

A9) My message goes directly to the voters out there that they must take note of Chakwera’s corrupt government and thereafter they should vote wisely in 2025. It is unfortunate that Malawi remains a poor country largely due to rampant corruption.

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