Malawi’s Triple C’s: Chakwera, Covid-19 Scandal and Charcoal

In Lilongwe everything isn’t all well. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Transformation Movement (UTM) coalition government is getting into the same sort of corruption scandals, as the ones who plagued them before with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP and former President Peter Mutharika. It is the same ills. Just another head.

It is still wastage of public funds destined to something good for the commoner, the citizens and everyone who needs it. That is why this is blaring the face of the ones who thought they got something else when the opposition got into power. Right now the President and his associates are doing similar acts, which the current day leader was calling out and dismissing in opposition. They were running wild with Maize-gate and other scandals, which is similar to this. The only difference is who is the head of state and who is appointed as head of the government organizations.

Take a look!

President Lazarus Chakwera has fired Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid 19 John Phuka and Commissioner for the Department of the Disaster Management Affairs-DODMA James Chiusiwa, in connection with the mismanagement of COVID response funds. This follows revelations that the larger percentage of the K6.2 billion for Covid 19 response funds, were spent on allowances. There are also fears of massive looting of the funds by controlling officers and heads of clusters who have since been suspended” (Capital FM Malawi, 15.02.2021).

NEWS UPDATE: The Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC) has demanded that government officials involved in the recently exposed illegal charcoal transportation scandal face prosecution. This follows an investigation which Weekend Nation published on January 30, 2021 titled ‘Our sting,’— which uncovered how government organs such as the Malawi Police Service, Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources, Department of Road Traffic and Safety Services and Malawi Revenue Authority are propelling charcoal trade in the country. The Caucus co-chairperson, Welani Chilenga, said: “Let us not hear of slapped wrists, demotions, or sidewards moves but prosecutions under the full weight of the law.” (Report by Clement Chinoko)” (Nation Online Malawi, 18.02.2021).

Now there is news in co-ordination of President Chakwera is reacting to this. The government are dealing with it, but they are starting an inquiry and investigation of it. However, that is prolonging the agony. Instead of acting swift. Because, that means the President would go after cronies and possible associates in connections to himself. That is why these sort of affairs is tricky. When you follow the money, you don’t know where you ending. Money doesn’t have owners, but it has spenders. This is why people are misusing it and spending funds, which isn’t their in the first place.

For more: “Following the directive by Pres. Lazarus Chakwera, on 14th Feb 2021, that Veep Saulos Chilima must form & lead a special taskforce to review three govt systems of allowances, procurement, and employment contracts, a 14-member taskforce to carry out the assignment has been formed. According to a statement signed by Press officer for the Veep, Pilirani Phiri, the taskforce, to be chaired by Chilima who is also Minister responsible for Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms, will submit its recommendations to Chakwera within 90 days.askforce will hold first meeting on 25th Feb, 2021 to agree on procedures including action plan with clear timelines. “Thereafter, the team will ensure that the public is regularly engaged & that the taskforce is held accountable by both the President & the people of Malawi.”” (Nation Online Malawi, 19.02.2021).

Well, I have my doubt that this is enough. Especially wondering about their mandate to forward individuals caught thieving and getting kickbacks on behalf of the government. Wonder if they will seek to capture the small-fish, but let the Don of the hook. Because, when its all said and done. We know that big-men is eating and having a field day on the public dime. These ones are shielded and have the power behind them. They wouldn’t do this. If they knew it would cost their careers and livelihood. No, because they know the President and his men is behind them. They are all in it and somehow earning fortunes on it.

Chakwera isn’t different there. Just because his an evangelical reverent by trade. Doesn’t mean his holier than though. That is why he invited his family and inner-circle to get appointed in his cabinet. His just continuing traditions in power and does it without a doubt. The only real difference is that his a fierce speaker and can write statements with flair. That doesn’t change the reality on the ground. When both COVID-19 Funds and Charcoal industry is shady. It just means that the government are letting to hands into the cookie-jar and someone leaked the theft. Peace.

Malawi: Over 2.6 Million People in Need of Food Assistance in Malawi (26.01.2021)

Malawi Human Rights Commission: Commencement of Investigation into the shooting and death of Blessings Nyondo (12.01.2021)

Malawi: Government statement rejecting the notion that Prophet Shepard Bushiri was on President Chakwera’s Plane (16.11.2020)

The Bushiri Escape is straight outta of a movie..

Sometimes things are to good to be true. There are some stories that sounds like fiction, but is still happening in real life. In this instance, the story of Prophet Shepard Bushiri is one of those.

Yes, the man is the definition of a pastorpreneur, who set up churches like a business. The man is using the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) and the Prophetic Channel as his company, which he profits massively from. This is the hustle of the man and his family. Both in Malawi and all the way to South Africa.

In South Africa, the authorities has charged the pastor for money laundering. The pastor has gotten bail with some strings. However, for some obvious reasons he has still been able to flee. Not by the plane of the President of Malawi. Who was passing by on a brief working visit. Even if there was speculations about that.

There are more likely ways he has done it. As he has been part of a Car Thieving Enterprise or a Syndicate who exports stolen cars from South Africa to Malawi. In this instance he fled through the borders together with sophisticated thieves. Straight out of a movie. “Gone in 60 Seconds – Bushiri Edition”. A road movie gone totally wrong.

Yes, a pastor/prophet should hang out with thieves, sinners and the lower class of society. That is to show interests in their plights and their needs. Also guide them to a better life and redeem themselves. However, if he joined these criminals. He most like entertained and bribed himself out of it all. Yet, again continuing to do illegal stuff to get away from money laundering charges. That is not repenting, but adding more sins. “Thou shall not sin” instead more “thou shall sin”.

Prophet Bushiri is in a league of trouble by doing this. He might been able to string along the flight, the ability to cross the borders and enter Malawi. However, why does he has a connection to thieves selling illegal imported vehicles? Is the reports true that he got a diplomatic passport? Why does a prophet have a diplomatic passport? Why did the judge accept the conditions of the bail? Is it true that the judge of this case is a member of his ECG church in South Africa?

Because, there are so much going on. The Malawi government haven’t entertained anything. While the South African authorities now have to issue orders and negotiate an extradition of Bushiri from Malawi to return for prosecution and face the charges on him. While he might have caused more counts of criminal cases as a fleeing suspect and involving himself with other criminal activity. This is all not good look on a pastor. Who is supposed to look holier than thou.

Prophet Shepard Bushiri only looks more guilty by fleeing and being a fugitive running away from the law. This is not the message and the thing that should haunt a prophet or a “Man of God”.

The way he fled and by the means of doing so… should be a movie. Also a lesson in how not to run a church and use the donations to the “works for God”. Because, this seems illegitimate and insincere at best. When he goes with criminal syndicates to be able to flee from a Court Case. That is what I am seeing…

Prophet Bushiri should know better, but he used his station and possible laundered money illegally out of South Africa back to Malawi. That is something he got to answer too and address in the Courts. Not run away, because that suspects his ill intent and also his guilt.

He needs to be brought back to South Africa and face justice. His not above the law. The man could have used his ministry for good, but instead sponged on it. If he was sincere and honest. The man would have stood tall in the Courts and not fled with a bunch of thieves. Peace.

 

Malawi: State House – Press Release (06.10.2020)

Malawi: Kawelo Lawyers – Notice of Intended Legal Action against Appointing Authorities of Various Statutory Boards for Appointments of Directors of Various Statutory Boards without Complying with the Law (27.09.2020)

Malawi: Mutharika’s skeletons comes to haunt him

When personal aide and bodyguard Norman Chisale, former chief of staff of state residence Peter Mukhito, who both worked for former President Peter Mutharika have been arrested over 1,2 million bags of cement duty free using his “presidential privilege”.

The former Tip-Ex President is under the weather and in big trouble as the skeletons of the past comes to haunt him. The former Head of State and his allies can not hide behind the title and the highest office of the land. That the new Presidency wants to pursuit it. Is not vindictive, but to prove a point. A signal of might happen, if some of his cabinet members or state officials misuse their offices.

This is a K5 billion worth of cement bough without paying duty-free. In a Republic where MPs and Cabinet Members are getting a amount of duty-free cars as their salaries. This is a system, which has been rampant during the reign of Mutharika. This is not shocking.

We are surely seeing misuse of office and using it for personal benefit. Who knows what else is laying around or have been done in favour of the former President and his administration. There is most likely more skeletons. As there been cash-gate and maize-gate. In those, there should be some evidence and some high ranking officials eating of the plate of the public.

Mutharika knows this and the new President knows this too. However, if the new President looks to deep. It might implicate his Vice President Saulos Chilima who also worked closely with the former administration. That is known and he was a part of that too. This is why they are circling on scandals, which will not implicate their own.

This is clearly a win-win for current President Lazarus Chakwera. He is winning brownie-points doing nothing, while the investigation and revelation of former ills. Makes it easier for him to skate by the criticism of his cabinet and patronage he brought into office. The President knows this and the headlines is surrounding the former President. That is just a moment of freedom for Lazarus.

This cement dealing and misuse of power isn’t shocking or surprising. The usage of office and other scandals, which was revealed in the Mutharika years. This is a similar affair and therefore, it is following a pattern to enriching themselves while using the privilege of office.

These actions are now coming to haunt him. They were wrong when he was in office and is still wrong now. He might have used straw-men, but that doesn’t shield him. Might even have used several of tricks and schemes. There will maybe come forward whistleblowers who will expose more scandals. Time will only tell, but not be shocked.

However, don’t be shocked, if something is hitting VP Chilima too. As he was under the wings and the VP for years with Mutharika too. When your at the top, you usually work together and earn money together. So, it should be a matter of time before something goes in that direction too. Unless, they are only circling around the ex-President. Peace.

Opinion: Lazarus wasn’t long in heaven

Malawi have just inaugurated and welcomed new President Lazarus Chakwera with his Tonse Alliance. The Malawi Congress Party, the party of Banda back to power. The man could walk on water in the first hours of his Presidency. Everyone was looking at the stars, the moons and pledging for a new start after years of Peter Mutharika in power.

It didn’t take many days going from heavenly praises, psalms song across the continent and sweet melodies played to serenade the masses. However, the announcement of the cabinet has backfired. The family affairs, the nepotism, the gifting of ministries and questionable appointments. It is just a familiar tale of kick-backs and grifting.

Chakwera was supposed to be different. He promised change and was supposed to be different than Mutharika. We are now seeing the same sort of affairs like the ones blamed on the previous President. The only different is that a Reverend is doing it and not one of the sons of the dynasties doing it.

With a new head of state out of the norm. There was supposed to be change. However, those who believed that, have been proved wrong and just within days. The President has appointed cronies, family members and financial backers of the campaign. It is like a ceremonial act.

Lazarus will have a hard time to say this is made by merit and the warning sign should be there. When the Attorney for the petition to challenge the previous election was offered to become the Attorney General and turned it down. That should been the red-flag of how Lazarus would act.

If he could pay-off his lawyer, the man who made the Fresh Presidential Election possible. What could he do to others?

That was proven on the 8th July 2020. Lazarus would give his blessings, he would appoint family, associates and party cronies. Not the ones most fitting for the roles, not the ones with technical abilities in the field, but some friendly faces who will not challenge his reign. That is how it seems.

This is nepotism. Plain and simple. The President cannot say otherwise. If he does, his lying and that’s not good a look reverend. To make the cabinet into a family matters, make the cabinet into stalwarts and insiders of industry to reign supreme. Only leads to speculations that Lazarus was only game for publicity stunts, but go back to the ordinary politics like usual.

Lazarus was supposed to revive, to reform, but with these appointments. You cannot anticipate much. Except that with nepotism usually comes graft. I anticipate a maize scandal, another cashgate and maybe some unexplained SUVs in the near future. Peace.

Malawi: COVID-19 Situation Update as 7th July 2020 (07.07.2020)