* Like all well-meaning Malawians, we recognize that there is corruption and we deplore corruption
* Irrespective of the race, nationality and religion of any individuals involved
* We also recognize that corruption is a deadly cancer which undermines the rule of law
* Corruption prevents proper economic development as public resources are not used for the intended purposes
BY Duncan Mlanjira
The Asian Association of Malawi says it “unreservedly deplores and rejects corruption” and “disassociates itself from any attempt to undermine the operations of the Anti-Corruption Bureau”.
This follows a lawsuit filed against the ACB Director General, Martha Chizuma — who is being sued for defamation by corruption suspect, Ashok Kumar Streedharan on matters arising from the very case in which he is being sought to be prosecuted by the ACB.
Ashok is of Asian origin and recently the public took to social media to categorise all Malawians of Asian origin as being corrupt.
But the Asian Association said in its statement that “like all well-meaning Malawians, we recognize that there is corruption” and that they “deplore corruption, irrespective of the race, nationality and religion of any individuals involved”.
“We also recognize that corruption is a deadly cancer which undermines the rule of law. Moreover, corruption prevents proper economic development as public resources are not used for the intended purposes.
“Weak economic development impairs health, education and other social services and creates inequality and social injustice.”
The statement further says the Asian Community’s welfare and well-being “cannot be separated from the welfare and well-being of the vast majority of Malawians,” ass that they “reject any activity that undermines development”.
“Like all well-meaning Malawians, we support the state agencies that play an essential and integral role in the fight against corruption, in particular the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“We disassociate ourselves from any attempt to undermine the Anti-Corruption Bureau in anyway. We condemn any attempt to intimidate any officer of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
“We extend our support to all concerned Malawians who are interested in promoting the rule of law and the welfare of the country. Let us work together.”
This comes in the backdrop of what political, economic and social rights activist, Ken Msonda said when he circulated a voice note on social media explosively imploring on Malawians to firmly stand up alongside Chizuma following Ashok’s lawsuit, saying he shouldn’t be allowed to take the country at ransom.
Ashok and his accomplices; Zunneth Sattar, Batawalala — together with several associates in the United Kingdom and Malawi — are being investigated in corruption charges which the ACB is conducting in collaboration with the British National Crimes Agency.
Mponda argued that these suspects, who are of Asian origins, should be treated as masquerading as Malawians since they possess dual citizenship yet they claim the United Kingdom as their home with Malawi as just a base to “steal” government money through illegal means.
He urged Malawians to support the UK government, which alerted Malawi authorities that they started investigating British nationals of Asian origin in UK — also holding Malawian citizenship — after noting that these people are filthy rich there.
Msonda said what triggered the British to have strong suspicions of how these individuals acquired worth, it was discovered almost all of it originated from Malawi — a country that is ranked as one of the poorest in the world.
Msonda assured the public that concerned Malawians have mobilized themselves to protect Chizuma and her office and implored on the legal system not to entertain any alleged corrupt individuals to seek court interventions.
Following Mponda’s scathing generalization of all Malawians of Asian origin as corrupt, the Ministry of National Unity deplored such statements, saying they were tantamount to promotion of hate speech; racially motivated violence that could lead to xenophobic action.
In his statement, Minister of National Unity Timothy Mtambo appealed to the general public, organizers of demonstrations and all peace-loving Malawians “to desist from using statements that have the potential to instigate racially charged violence against fellow Malawians of Asian descent and the Asian business community”.
“In the same vein, Malawians of Asian origin are advised to avoid provocative responses which may lead to further unnecessary tensions — two wrongs do not make a right.”
This seems to be the measure taken by the Asian Association of Malawi, taking cognizance that the “Ministry is engaging with all relevant stakeholders and taking all the necessary measures to ensure that any kind of conflicts and misunderstandings are always resolved amicably and in a timely manner,” as assured by Mtambo.