By Iommie Chiwalo
The current perceived punitive and persecution in justice delivery system towards the welfare of former president Arthur Peter Mutharika has compelled concerned citizens lobbying the authorities to loose the grip.
In a statement signed by its National Chairman Mungando Nyirenda, Vice Chairperson Cynthia Chikalimba, National Cordinator Bertha Mkawachale and National Executive Member, Zainab Hassan, the grouping says is representing all Malawians of goodwill and those that believe in justice with the mandate to provide a strong advocate of respect for the rule of law in Malawi.
The concerned citizens have also made it clear that are not mandated to defend anyone from any wrong doing, and neither are to comment on court rulings and judgments, but rather to ignite debate and ask well-wishers to join its course saying Mutharika has now honorably joined the league of former Presidents alongside Dr. Bakili Muluzi and Dr. Joyce Banda who according to the Republican Constitution, are entitled to some benefits.
“Malawians are fully aware that the State obtained a court order to freeze Mutharika’s bank accounts, pending investigations on a matter he was already cleared. As his legal team was battling it out in the courts to allow him have access to his bank accounts, Malawians who chose to care were shocked to read media reports indicating that the High Court has ruled that Mutharika and his former Chief Secretary, Mr. Lloyd Muhara, should pay K69.5 million,” says the grouping.
Malawians have also been reminded of polls on June 23, 2020 for the Fresh Presidential Elections (FPE), after the High Court sitting as the Constitutional Court, nullified the May 21, 2019 Presidential Polls.
“All eyes were on the reaction of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika who even according to the Concourt amassed more votes than any other candidate in the disputed polls. Mutharika proved to be a true statesman and a patriot after he humbly, honourably and without a fuss moved out of the State House to his retirement Home in Mangochi,” says the grouping.
Adding that Mutharika’s conduct facilitated smooth transfer of power to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera whom the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) declared as the rightful winner of the FPE despite the widespread intimidation of DPP monitors in the central region.
The concerned citizens, therefore, find it reasonable to raise a moral question as to how does the court expect the former President to comply with the court order when the same court is fully aware that it allowed the freezing of the accused’s bank accounts.
“This also begs other questions:as to whether Government has given Mutharika his benefits befitting a former head of state. Finally, should
we say this is justice being administered on the Statesman that is Mutharika or this is a mere political persecution? Can’t this be construed as an attempt on the part of the Tonse Alliance administration under President Lazarus Chakwera to finish off Mutharika in a deliberate attempt to weaken the DPP which is a major opposition political party,” queries the grouping in a series of questions.
The concerned citizens are of the feeling that the pressure is just too much on the former President, and unfortunately everyone seems not to care as people have folded their arms and are just looking at what is happening to Mutharika.
“What we are forgetting is that a very bad precedent is being set today, and after APM we do not know who is next in line to be victimized. We as concerned citizens have undertaken a decision to write the donor community to bring to their attention the way the Tonse Alliance and indeed President Chakwera are treating the former Head of State,” reads the statement in part.
According to the statement, it is within the conviction of grouping that the former President APM is being victimized for political reasons, as it is more of injustice coupled by political persecution.
“In the same vein we would like to make a passionate appeal to Malawians of goodwill both within and outside the country and other nationals to join our initiative to raise funds to settle the MK69.5 million our former head of state is expected to settle as determined by the courts,” the grouping pleads.
The grouping is since reachable through its Facebook page called “Justice for APM”.
On those willing to make contributions through bank, the grouping has said that the account details will be made public in due course.
“Let us join hands to bail out our former leader from this very unfortunate situation. No matter how many charges Mutharika might face, genuine or tramped up, he still remains the former President of this country, and he deserves to be treated fairly and with the respect he deserves,”.