Joyce Banda and Cashgate on the way out
By Amalawi - Mon Feb 17, 8:32 pm
Mzuzu, Malawi: As Malawi is preparing to vote signs are clear that the current president Joyce Banda is on her way out. Banda became president by default in 2012 as her predecessor Bingu wa Muntharika suddenly died of a heart attack. On taking office president Joyce Banda was widely applauded and praised, she has the support of most Malawians and the international community. It has only taken two years for Banda to show her true colors, those of a corrupt and greedy African president.
Last week, on Valentine’s Day, President Banda submitted her nomination papers to the Independent Electoral Committee, confirming that she would stand as the People’s Party candidate in the presidential election scheduled for 20 May. If she wins, it would be her first election victory.
But a victory is by no means guaranteed. Hanging over Banda’s head are accusations of dishonesty, graft and incompetency, and Banda’s political opponents are gleefully sharpening their panga’s.
Joyce Banda has the Cashgate clouding here presidency. Last year, a series of suspicious incidents opened the lid on a massive, multi-million dollar corruption scandal. Initial investigations revealed that while the rot may have set in under the late Mutharika, it had certainly continued under Banda, and she had done little to stop it. In total, it’s estimated that around $250 million may have been lost through strange payments made to businessmen for services that were never delivered. Bands ruling party was raising money to finance its campaign. The peoples party came to power with nothing and within two years it has amassed a lot of worth, far more than the previous governments of Bakili Muluzi and Bingu wa Muntharika.
President Banda was appalled – in public, at least. “”We need to start fighting corruption from individual, household, community to national level…It is everybody’s war,” she said. She also commissioned a government report looking into the scandal, with assistance from forensic investigators loaned by the British government. In addition, at least 70 people including government ministers have been arrested but all are currently out on police bail.
Despite this, Banda has never been able to shake claims of involvement herself. And even if she was not involved, the sheer scale of the corruption is an indictment of her administration, and her ability to control it. Either way, it reflects a serious problem at the heart of Malawi’s government, and donors – who provide 40% of the country’s budget – were unimpressed, suspending some $120 million in funding.
After several months, the preliminary report into Cashgate is now ready – but not for public consumption.Only donor countries have access to the report, this act has angered most Malawians, they have no power to act and their only weapon is the vote on the 20th May. “Instead of sharing it with Malawians as promised, the report is being treated as a confidential document – and only very few people are being allowed to study it.
The cashgate forensic audit report has been been circulated to ambassadors from donor countries and submitted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This begs a host of questions, including why has a Malawi government report into the looting of Malawi’s treasury only been sent to foreign dignitaries and the IMF rather than being shared with those who are affected by it , Malawians.
Malawians don’t like war are peaceful and only fight with one vote, surely Joyce Banda is on her way out.