18 January 2017

Malawi: Activists Caution Chaponda Against Contempt of Court - Warn of Mass Protest Over Malawi Maizegate Scandal

Photo: Daily News
Maize.

Executive Director for Youth and Society (YAS) Charles Kajoloweka has advised suspended Agriculture, Irigation and Water Development Minister D George Chaponda to 'adhere to a court' decision issued on Monday 17th January 2017 at the Mzuzu High Court sustaining the injunction stopping him from discharging his duties as Cabinet minister.

High Court Judge John Chirwa, who granted Kajoloweka and the the CSO's an injunction last Thursday, is expected to make a rulling on governments appeal to have injuction restraining Chaponda from serving as minister vaccated on 31st January 2017.

Coincidentally 31st January is the day the Commission of Inquiry in the famous Maizegate scandal will be releasing the findings of its investigations.

Kajoloweka who alongside other three Civil Society organizations (CSO's) championed the move to have honourable Chaponda suspended inorder to pave way for smooth investigations in the maize scam has since expressed excitement with the court preliminary rulling by the court.

"We are very much excited as Civil Society and I think all Malawians should be excited because this [Sustaining the court injunction] is good news. Some of us we see to it that this will provide space for commission of Inquiry which is currently undertaking its assignment to do it with high level of independence and impartiality and we think this determination by the Judge until 31st is a very positive stride in this struggle," said Kaloloweka immediately after Justice John Chirwa pronounced the Judgement.

He therefore went further to plead with Chaponda to respect and adhere to the decision made by the court.

"We hope this decision by the court will be adhered to by Honourable Chaponda," Kajoloweka said.

He said CSO's being champions of good governance and rule of Law, they will hold their patience in respect to the court judgement until 31st January.

"As Civil Society we are champions of Good Governance and the Rule of Law we will respect the outcome of today and we will therefore wait until the 31st January the final judgement will be made by the judge on the matter," he said.

While conquering withKajoloweka in applauding the court for acting independently, another rights dDefender Allie Mwachande has called upon Malawi President Peter Mutharika to completely fire Chaponda.

"Firstly let me applaud the court for acting independently. Secondly I would like to ask Mutharika to completely fire Chaponda. People are angry with him and that was witnessed yesterday as he was denied by his own people from his constituency" Mwachande told Nyasa Times.

But when this reporter reminded Mwachande that Chaponda remains innocent until proven guilty by the Court of Law or the Commission of Inquiry in this case, Mwachande said:"Malawians have already lost trust in him. He has been playing games with Malawians treating as fools and challenging them. He is a big man he has done alot being an honourable person let him honourably resign".

Mwachande said if Chaponda doesn't resign or the president fire him, Malawians will go to the streets.

"Let him resign or the President must fire him. We are Malawians speaking that and we dont want him failing which, I with help from the CSO groups will mobilize the people to go into the streets and demonstrate," warned Mwachande.

Mwachande faulted Mutharika for failing to act on the maizegate in the first place.

"The president got it all wrong and it seems he is afraid of Chaponda. Malawians have been calling for Chaponda's resignation or firing since the maize scam was brought to limelight but the president never listened. Who is Chaponda ontop fifteen plus Malawians? Issues to do with maize which is Malawi's staple food are very serious and always need to be treated as a matter of urgency," advised Mwachande.

Chaponda is accused of benefiting from a maize purchasing deal by the Malawi government from Zambia.

It is believed that money amounting to about K10 billion could have been saved if government had bought 100,000 metric tonnes of maize directly from Zambian government but with influence from Chaponda, Admarc used a middle man Kaloswe Company.

The procurement process used is allergedly to have costed the government K26 Billion.

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