By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) and other concerned citizens are planning to hold vigil in an effort to force country’s Attorney General (AG) step down.
In a statement made available to this publication and signed by CDEDI Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, leaving Chakaka Nyirenda in the office of that high esteem, will set a bad precedent.
“Letting him continue serving in this constitutional office will be setting a bad precedent that public officers of the AG’s caliber can lie and get away with it; that is unacceptable ; hence CDEDI won’t leave Capital Hill until the AG should swallow his pride and accept that he lied to Malawians,” says Namiwa.
According to Namiwa, the arrangement is that vigils will run on all working days from 7am to 12 Noon.
The tough action by CDEDI and concerned citizens follows the expiry of the seven day ultimatum to the AG who is taking forever to show Malawians proof that he recovered the MK750 million meant for the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
Namiwa says, as the law demands, CDEDI has already dutifully notified the Lilongwe District authorities about this intended action.
In a feedback letter, that we have seen, the District Commissioner for Lilongwe, Lawford Palani is inviting all concerned parties to a stakeholders meeting on May 10 where arrangements for the vigil shall be discussed.
Namiwa has since challenged all Malawians to stand firm in holding public officers accountable for their promises and lies, as the surest way of fighting impunity and executive arrogance which is currently threatening the country’s young democracy.
He says for instance, following the AIP saga there was need for an explanation as to why, besides the sacking
of Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe and his Deputy Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima, no one has been arrested in connection to the shameful scandal.
“Malawians may wish to recall that as some citizens took to social media protesting government’s decision to pay the MK750 million to a butcher in the United Kingdom (UK) others, led by the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Chairperson Sammer Suleman, concluded that the money was stolen and shared within,” relates Namiwa.
On April 28, CDEDI invoked the Access to Information (ATI) Act, trying to hold the AG accountable on this matter of national interest.
As feared, CDEDI’s bid fell on deaf ears which Namiwa feels is a typical example of impunity and executive arrogance.
“On a second thought, the AG’s deafening silence gives credence to Hon. Suleman’s assertions that the money was, indeed, stolen and shared among those that feel they can do as they please with Malawians’ hardearned taxes,” hints Namiwa.
He adds that with no delays, the AG must produce evidence of recovery of the MK750 million or resign.
“Unless he provides evidence that the money has been recovered in full, Chakaka Nyirenda has lost the trust of the people of Malawi, therefore, the noble thing he should do is to resign. Malawians want an honest Attorney General,” he said.
Only saying there is cumbersome legal process to redeem the money, Nyirenda is yet to brief Malawians on how much of the MK750 million has been recovered.
With how the office of Attorney General has been handling itself Chakaka Nyirenda has been reminded that according to Section 12 of the Republican Constitution, all the legal and political authority derives from the people of Malawi and those exercising such authority, including the State President, do so on trust.
“How do Malawians trust the AG who is not transparent, let alone not accountable to his own promise,” queries Namiwa.
Recently during an interview with the local news channel, the AG said point-blank that he would resign if the MK750 million was not recovered in full.
He in fact, told the nation that the money was frozen in a bank account in Germany but the disappointment of many, no updates from his office on a matter that is directly tax payers.