Chakwera dissolves Cabinet and announces no amnesty to be offered for public resources ‘thieves’

Former Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa not to be retained

* CAMA calls on Chakwera to trim his cabinet as well as reduce the large number of presidential advisors

By Duncan Mlanjira

In his national address on Monday in which he announced he was maintaining Martha Chizuma as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General,  President Lazarus Chakwera also informed the public that he has dissolved his entire Cabinet effective immediately.


This, he said, was a further demonstration of his resolve to confront all forms of lawless conduct by public officials and in exercise of the powers vested in him by the Constitution, all the functions of Cabinet reverted to his office until he announces a reconfigured Cabinet in two days time.

“That reconfigured Cabinet will exclude the current Minister of Lands, [Kezzie Msukwa] to allow him to answer the corruption charges he is facing in court and clear his name there.

“This is a decision I have made following yesterday’s submission to me of an official ACB report on the charges the Minister is facing, which is the same process I followed when I dismissed two Ministers in the past.

Msukwa has been under pressure from the public to honourably resign from his ministerial post while also calling on Chakwera to just fire him following his allegations of corrupt practices involving the controversial British national Zuneth Sattar.

Sattar at the centre of it all

As the Sattar saga raged on Attorney General Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda announced that government was granting a 60-day amnesty to all those who might have corruptly accumulated wealth through dealings with, amongst others, Zuneth Sattar.

This decision attracted an uproar from the public, arguing that it was going to interfere with the ACB’s investigations while the Bureau maintained that, as per its legal mandate, it was still proceeding with the investigations against Sattar in cooperation with the National Crime Agency, UK.

In his address, Chakwera said he has directed the Minister of Justice to inform the AG that he does not support the offer of amnesty to those who defrauded Government and the Malawian people.

“Although the idea of an amnesty was a campaign promise enshrined in our manifesto as a way of speedily recovering Government’s stolen assets, it cannot be effected without a clear legislative framework that allows it to be implemented lawfully and without appearing soft on corruption.

Attorney General Chakaka Nyirenda

“The Minister of Justice is thus on instruction to review this policy and work with the Attorney General in designing a sound alternative for recovering Malawi’s stolen treasures.”

On the developments surrounding Chizuma, Chakwera firmly said this was “a timely reminder that the war on corruption is too vast to be waged or won by one person or one agency”.

“It needs Malawians of courage and integrity in intelligence agencies like the Financial Intelligence Authority and the National Intelligence Service. It needs Malawians of courage and integrity in law enforcement agencies like the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Malawi Police Service.

“It needs Malawians of courage and integrity in watchdog entities like the Malawi Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly, and the Ombudsman. It needs Malawians of courage and integrity in regulatory agencies like the Malawi Revenue Authority, the Reserve Bank of Malawi, and others.


“It needs Malawians of courage and integrity in the Executive and Judicial branches of Government, and in the political parties that compete for state power.

“And crucially, it needs Malawians of courage and integrity among the Citizenry to report any acts of corruption they witness.”

“So although Ms. Chizuma is heard saying in that recording that the British authorities told her that the fight against corruption depends solely on her integrity, I disagree.

“Anyone who truly understands the way this country is structured and the depth of corruption within our midst knows that winning this war depends on all of us. It has to, because a war is won by armies, not a lone soldier isolated from all the others.

Martha Chizuma retained as ACB Director General

“I believe that this army of Malawians of courage and integrity exists, and if you consider yourself to be in its ranks, your time to shine your light and expose the darkness of corruption has come.

“Shining your light means pointing out those who have paid or received bribes or demanded bribes. But it also means admitting that corruption is so deep in our country that many of us may have benefitted from its proceeds without even knowing it.

“It means admitting that we all need to be more vigilant about where the money we spend comes from. Because at this point, few of us can guarantee that none of the funds donated by foreigners, or used to pay for our education, or our political campaigns, or our wedding reception, or our funeral ceremonies, or our church buildings, or our shopping, or our travel came from acts of corruption.


“So we must be more vigilant and each shine a light on ourselves, not just others. But as you shine your light, be sure to take great pains to always conduct yourself professionally, ethically, collaboratively, and legally.

“Malawi simply cannot afford to lose your light because of a careless mistake or because you exposed yourself to evil people who will not hesitate to betray you or use you to descend Malawi into chaos.

“As the Scriptures say in 1st Corinthians 16:13, it is not enough to stand firm, or to be courageous, or to be strong. You must also be on your guard. I thank you for your attention.”

Earlier on Monday, Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) appealed to the President to trim and reshuffle his cabinet and reduce the number of his Presidential Advisors.

John Kapito

In a statement Executive Director John Kapito said for a long time CAMA has requested Chakwera to share the current economic burden being experienced by taxpayers who are funding most of the Government projects and activities.

Thus his appeal on Chakwera to reshuffle and trim his cabinet as well as reduce the large number of presidential advisors and prioritize the tax payers’ money to more important sectors such as health, education among others — “which are currently facing serious challenges like lack of essential drugs and poor infrastructure”.

“Taxpayers reject the idea of paying taxes that are only meant to benefit friends of the President whose main job description cannot be explained and justified, we have a bloated cabinet that is inefficient and does not add value to the taxpayer.


“We wish to state once again that we want our taxpayers money prioritized to Key Economic Growth Sectors that can grow the economy and it is wrong and a sin to collect money from the poor in the form of taxes and share that money to appease few selected friends of the President.

“We are requesting you Mr. President to merge most of these Ministries and put them under your office or that of the Vice-President and managed by efficient directors and in return we expect to see an improved cost effective delivery of services.”

Kapito further asked the President, Cabinet Ministers and the Presidential Advisors to reduce their frequent travels both local and international which “do not to add value to Malawians”.

The President’s convoy costs millions of money in one local travel

“We wish also to ask you to take a moment and think about the suffering of the many poor Malawians that contribute and pay taxes while they are going through so much economic pain and imagine their pain when such resources are only abused or shared between your best friends and family.

“We wish to remind you that you need to practice the very same good things that you preached during your election campaign which was premised on Servant Leadership which you seem to have forgotten and at this time of economic crisis we are asking you to show Leadership and especially now when you have lost public confidence and trust.”

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