By Duncan Mlanjira
Leader of the Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa has asked President Lazarus Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance administration against employing selective justice in the fight against corruption where only members of the DPP are targeted.
He said he joins the President in condemning the culture of corruption among public officers and that, as opposition, they are equally outraged and embarrassed by acts of corruption at various levels of the society.
“We will, therefore, fully support efforts by the President to clear the rubble of corruption, theft of public resources and abuse of office,” he said on Friday when Parliament adjourned.
“There must be no sacred cows in this fight if indeed Malawians are to take President Chakwera’s anti-corruption drive seriously.
“I wish to remind the President that corruption does not stop only at the doors of the DPP, the Department of Immigration, Road Traffic, Lands, MRA, or Capital Hill. There is corruption at all levels, including in religious organizations, schools, and right at the State House.
“For example, recent media reports indicate that under President Chakwera’s watch, the State House has been making questionable payments to Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe. These are very disturbing revelations.
“As they say that ‘charity begins at home’, I dare President Chakwera to take remedial action against the officers involved in this scandal rather than just paying lip service.
“As the opposition, we are duty-bound to hold this government to account. We are an opposition that will strive to serve the larger interests of Malawians.”
Nankhumwa then touched on ways of looking into the welfare of former MPs that he had proposed a few months ago, saying most former legislators are living miserable lives as if they made no contribution to the political, social, and economic development of this country.
“I urge Parliament to consider establishing an ad-hoc committee, which must engage the government, as a matter of urgency, to address the issue of former MPs’ welfare.
“I also wish to bring to the attention of the government the plight of ward councillors across the country [who] receive peanuts and they do not have access to loans yet we expect them to be hard working in spearheading development projects in their communities.
“The time has come that the Tonse Alliance government should review ward councillors’ perks to match their status.”
He observed that Malawi has one of the highest elderly poverty statistics in the world and that should be addressed as the Tonse Alliance pledged during the fresh presidential election that they shall put in place social protection initiatives such as financial support to the elderly poor.
“I am concerned that the National Budget did not contain this very important aspect. As if elderly poverty is not enough, there are escalating cases of violence, abuse, and murder of old people on allegations of witchcraft.
“I wish to request the Tonse Alliance government to put in place the necessary security mechanisms to avert these barbaric acts against the elderly.
“This government must defend and uphold the rights of our senior citizens; they must be protected from discrimination and abuse based on their age.”
On the plight of women, he said he had in mind the recent demonstrations by gender activists, who are demanding gender equality and equity, particularly regarding appointments in the public sector where the laws stipulate a 40% share for women.
“I wish to call upon the government to take these concerns seriously because it is generally agreed that when you empower women, you have empowered the nation,” he said.