We are cast into yet another moment of profound existential reflection as a country. Individually and as a one nation, Malawi, our home we must be provoked to ask: Who are we? Why are we here on earth and in Malawi in particular? Where and what do we want to be? Where are we current going? What are we doing or not doing to get where we want to be? What else could we be as a nation? Indeed what else could and should we be? What else could we be doing or not doing? Generally, what do we want to make of our existence as individuals and as a nation? What are we doing to ourselves as a nation? What future are we bequeathing to our children in the near and distant future? And importantly, what type of leaders should we have to steer us out of our current state and towards prosperity as other progress-driven nations around us have?
As a nation, we have been greeted by yet another shocking revelation that a massive fraud was committed at the Malawi Police Service, the public purse was defrauded of huge sums of money, public funds were laundered, and a staggering MWK145 million was syphoned and remitted into an account opened and operated at Standard Bank solely by President Arthur Peter Mutharika, clocked as a donation in the name of his political party, the so called Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)! Revealingly, President Mutharika is the sole signatory to the account and without any suspicion or personal restraint, he gladly and unscrupulously made substantial drawings on the proceeds of this fraud and laundering of public resources. As the media reports, his yet again cocky response so far is that his hands are supposedly clean, he did nothing sinister, the money was a donation!
We in the opposition and our gallant media have previously severally and tirelessly raised issues concerning the nauseating and paralysing corruption and pilferage of public resources by President Mutharika’s government. We have fervently endeavoured to alert the nation that this whole malaise is inspired and animated by none other than President Mutharika himself through his apathetic approach to these prowling vices. Up to this moment, we have been dismissed as cry babies bitter with our supposed electoral loss in 2014.
As we now can all confirm, President Mutharika is a prime participant in the corruption and fraud on public resources that have frustrated meaningful development in this country while Mutharika and his cronies in crime are busy misappropriating what could have saved that mother who dies while giving forth a life that guarantees the continuity of this nation; helped that destitute student who goes days on end without food and lacks proper accommodation to attend university education; and resources that could have added one more bag of fertiliser to that farmer who breaks his back for the entire growing season, just to have something to eat, just something to eat!
Ladies and gentlemen, I verily believe that this shocking revelation is only a tip of the iceberg. It is a concrete anecdote to doubting Thomases about the depth and breadth of wanton plunder of public resources by the very same people this nation supposedly entrusted to be stewards of our common pool of resources solely meant to facilitate us as a nation on our path to the prosperity we desire.
I would like to remind us of the fundamental bedrock on which we established our nation, and which are supposed to guide our path to prosperity. For this reason, the founding document of this country, the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, enunciates fundamental edicts as benchmarks against which we must measure the conduct of those entrusted to govern us. We established our State so that it can actively promote our welfare and development – individually and as a nation. We the people gave the State the sole mandate to collect contributions from all of us in the form of tax and raise funds from other sources to facilitate the advancement of our wellbeing. Because we cannot all run government at the same time, we agreed that a few among us will be periodically chosen to run the affairs of the State for our wellbeing. Those who are entrusted to serve in government, to manage our common pool of resources, including the President who is the embodiment of the State, hold office on the condition that we as a nation continue to trust them to champion our common good. For us to have confidence that the State will deliver on the reason we established it for, we require that those who are entrusted to execute the State’s mandate do so with utmost personal integrity, honesty, financial probity, transparency and accountability. We the people abhor dishonesty and moral turpitude in those that would and do run the affairs of our State.
The words of Chief Justice Mgoeng Mogoeng sound true of our presidency. The president is the highest office in our nation. He is the first citizen and occupies a position indispensable for the effective governance of our democratic nation. Unsurprisingly, the president has the constitutional obligation to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution and other laws under it. The nations pins its hope on the president, to steer us as a nation in the right direction and accelerate our journey towards a peaceful, just and prosperous destination, like all other progress-driven nations strive towards on a daily basis. The president is a constitutional being by design, a national pathfinder, the quintessential commander-in-chief of state affairs and the personification of the nation’s constitutional project.
These foundational constitutional edicts, I must add, should be the primary criteria with which we should decide whether or not to continue trusting the people we were lured to trust with the life of our nation – with our own lives. I believe that we had no cause as a nation to enact these benchmarks, unless we were determined, as I believe we were, that we would strip anyone of the entrusted mandate if they fail to uphold these fundamental principles or wantonly work against them to our detriment.
The revelation of President Mutharika’s participation in the on-going party of thieves and fraudsters who are condescendingly embezzling our resources gives us yet another opportunity to reflect profoundly and be resolute in deciding whether we should continue to trust President Mutharika and his cronies as stewards of state power and resources.
We must ask the questions: by dubiously benefitting from proceeds of fraud and corruption, what conduct does Mutharika inspire and animate in those who have been entrusted with state power and resources? Indeed what kind of a nation does he inspire? With the revealed dishonesty apparent in his cocky unremorseful response that the huge funds he received were merely a donation, what should give us the confidence that he should continue being a steward of state affairs and state resources?
May I suggest the obvious, and in doing so I wish not to insult your intelligence fellow citizens – may I suggest that a President who is dishonest by participating in fraud and corruption that smuggles large sums of money from the public purse into his private use cloaked as gifts from his own front men in crime, or knowingly benefits from proceeds of such despicable dishonesty commits what we as a nation agreed amounts to a serious breach of the laws of this land, and no less a serious breach of the trust we reposed in him. This is Mr. Mutharika’s naked case. His involvement and/or benefitting from the revealed fraud and corruption clearly crown him as dishonest, deceitful, venal, disrespectful of the law and the highest office of the President. His cocky reaction that his hands are clean despite dipping them in all this dirty fraud and corruption is seal of his unscrupulous self. If these would not pass for serious breach of trust and the laws of this land, what, dear fellow citizens, could possibly do? What else should convince us that Mr. Mutharika is the prince, if not the king, of thieves that prosper by defrauding our common pool of resources allocated to various departments and projects for our common good?
Dear fellow citizens, our inaction, our lack of resolve to stop Mr. Mutharika and his cronies from drugging this nation on the path to more misery; our indifference to this carnage, have this far given him the temerity to continue his vices with humongous impunity. We as a nation have given legitimacy to this fraud and corruption by our lack of resolve. The affairs of our state and the future of this nation can no longer be in the hands of a man who has shown us enough to know that he cannot be trusted to fulfil his duties as the national path finder, as the conscience and moral campus that must animate the conduct of state affairs. Mr. Mutharika has clear fallen short of the minimum foundational standards of our State. He should not continue to lead this country.
Fellow Malawians, having been enraged on my own behalf and on behalf of all Malawians, who collectively make contribution in form of taxes towards their own welfare and knowing that Mutharika and his administration can only rule by sustained trust of all Malawians, we do hereby demand that Mutharika and his entire administration resign with immediate effect having lost the trust of the people of Malawi. We demand that having resigned, Mutharika should call for early elections.
This we do for our ourselves, for our country, and for our children’s future and generations to come. As with liberty, the price of prosperity can be no less than our eternal vigilance!
God bless you all.
Leader of Opposition
President, Malawi Congress Party
2nd July, 2018