Press Statement Lilongwe, 3 August, 2020
PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT OF PERTINENT ISSUES WON’T BRING THE CHANGE THAT WE NEED, MR. PRESIDENT
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) would like to take Malawians back to a statement made by the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera on the occasion of commemoration of the country’s 56 years of independence where he spoke with conviction on the need to clean the rubble with emphasis on a new Malawi for everyone.
CDEDI is following with keen interest the progress government is making by ensuring that all those people suspected to have contravened the law are being brought to book and are facing the long arm of the law.
Malawians may also wish to recall that during his first ministerial assignment in Mzuzu, the Minister of Civic Education and National unity Timothy Mtambo spoke on the need to set up what he termed as the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whose mandate he said would be to facilitate a national wide process of addressing prevailing historical wounds and charting the way forward.
In his statement, the Civic Education Minister noted that “Some sections of Malawians have wounds inflicted by repression of the past regimes traced as far back as the one party regime, up to date.”
CDEDI believes the minister’s remarks were echoing a statement made by the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) issued on the occasion of the commemoration of the Kamuzu Day on May 14, 2020. In the Statement, the CHRR challenged the then Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government to comply with the Ombudsman’s orders contained in the October 2017 report titled “Malawi’s Unhealed Wounds,” which clearly indicated that politicians abused the National Compensation Tribunal that was created with the mandate to compensate people that suffered during the one party rule of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), before the country attained democracy in 1994.
While CDEDI is happy with the progress on the fight against corruption by the current administration, we have however, noted that there is selective application of justice in the manner in which the Tonse Alliance government is handling the clean-up exercise. It appears the concentration of the current administration is just on the issues involving the previous regime of the DPP, and yet there are issues that involve some individuals who are currently in the Tonse Alliance led administration that are worth being investigated.
As the Tonse Alliance is busy cleaning up the mess the country is in, CDEDI would like to add onto the list the following issues that generated public interest in the past but were not conclusively investigated and dealt with:
1. The Tonse Alliance government should consider probing the sale of the presidential jet which was bought by the late Bingu Wa Mutharika administration in 2009. The presidential jet was sold by the former president Dr. Joyce Banda’s administration, but Malawians need to know how the proceeds from this deal benefitted the country;
2. Government should consider compensating Malawians who sustained injuries and lost property during the one-year demonstrations between May 2019 and May 2020. The victims launched complaints at various police stations but they were never assisted;
3. The Tonse Alliance led administration should consider probing and unearthing the Mponela Hospital saga where hospital beds were snatched late in the night and taken to Mzimba Hospital. This incident happened during Dr. Joyce Banda’s administration, and CDEDI believes that people of Mponela, and indeed all Malawians need to know what really happened and how the hospital is going to be assisted;
4. Government should stop skirting around the serious problem of the COVID-19 pandemic and should clearly state how people that have been heavily affected by the pandemic will be assisted. CDEDI has in mind people that have lost their jobs as a result of loss of business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a disaster that has now fallen into the hands of the current administration, and we are of the view that President Chakwera is deliberately avoiding the matter and is in a way downplaying the untold suffering of poor Malawians who have been rendered jobless;
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to caution government that selective justice could easily be interpreted as a deliberate ploy to protect some individuals that are party to the Tonse Allinace government, thereby making the pursuit of other issues a clear case of political persecution; a development which CDEDI refuses to have a buy in.
In conclusion, we therefore, believe the Tonse government stance on cleaning up Malawi can only be taken seriously if the current administration was seen to be striking a balance in pursuing issues that involve both the current and previous regimes, and not the selective justice we are currently witnessing.
CDEDI is a non-partisan, nongovernmental organization that was established in a quest to attain a well-informed and organized citizenry that can ably demand their social and economic rights at the same time hold duty bearers accountable for their actions.
Among many others CDEDI aims at sensitizing the masses on matters of national importance, inculcate the spirit of a peaceful coexistence among people of different ethnic, political and religious affiliations; provide civic education on people’s rights and responsibilities in economic independence and contribution towards national development and lobbying for the electoral law reforms.
CDEDI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR