A political movement Transformation Alliance (TA) has expressed shock with the suspicious fire that gutted down the office of the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development at the Capital Hill on Tuesday 14th February 2016.
The fire gutted the offices at the heat of the pending corruption investigation on the responsible Minister Dr. George Chaponda over the controversial maize deal.
A statement released by TA leader Moses Kunkuyu and spokesman Leonard Chimbanga on Wednesday 15th February states that the incident is ill-timed, not normal and believes it is a ploy by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
"We refuse to believe that the fire is normal without any political attachment bent at sweeping under the carpet the much sought after truth on the maize saga. TA realizes the DPP administration's capabilities in employing dirty undemocratic tactics to shield corrupt individuals even in this sensitive matter" reads part of the statement.
It adds: "We join those suspecting that this is a ploy to destroy crucial evidence not only to maizegate but also many other shoddy deals taking place in the government".
It further blames President Arthur Peter Mutharika for carelessly presiding over the maizegate mess when it needed to act decisively and timely on the infamous Agriculture Minister embroiled in corupt acts.
"The President seemingly fearful approach in dealing with his arrogant minister reflects bad on his leadership and aspirations for the country".
"TA sees a much bigger powerful hand in Honourable Chaponda's unwarranted executive arrogance. It is clear that only the president understands better why the minister currently facing corruption investigations should should not be relieved of his duties to avoid potential interfearence" the statement reads.
According to TA, DPP is snonymous with fire and that Malawians know exactly what the administration is capable of of doing.
"Sad stories of fires are part of its silent manifestos and come as no strange thing to us" reads the statement.
The statement gives an example of strange fires that burnt Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Warehouse at the peak of vote recounting in 2014, Escom Head Office, markets as well as torching of vehicles belonging to the DPP administration critics.
"These acts leave the majority suspecting that it is a tactic to hide the clandestane activities by those in rulling DPP. But its unfortunate for it defeats the reforms it shamelessly preaches about" indicated the statement.
Meanwhile, Transformation Alliance has asked President Mutharika to assure the nation that the fire incident will not affect investigations on the beleagured agriculture minister and that he should not be fooled by the 'untouchable minister'.
"The president must realize that Honourable Chaponda's continued presence in the service even when cleared by the Commission of Enquiry into the maize saga is recipe for disorder in both the government and the rulling DPP".
"Failure to strongly act on all the suspicious activities surrounding the Minister of Agriculture leaves us with more grounds to believe a bigger hand is partaking in corrupt spoils not only from the maizegate but many that ordinary citizens can't reach" says the statement.
In conclusion, the statement warns President Mutharika not to be too clever ontop of 17 million plus Malawians and also to borrow the wisdom of the sailors in the holy scriptures.
Mranwhile, somer Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working under the banner of National Advocacy for Platform have President Peter Mutharika to immediately fire Agriculture Minister Chaponda saying his credibility is in question.
Group leader Benedicto Kondowe said they suspect that the fire at Chaponda's office was a deliberate move to destroy the needed information on the Zambia maize-gate scam.
"We indeed want the President to at least hear us this time because we are now tired of hearing issues of maize-gate and the name of Chaponda in wrong-doing," said Kondowe.
Kondowe wondered why this came at a time when the commission of inquiry in the maize-gate saga recommended the President to order the Ant Corruption Bureau to probe Chaponda.
"This can't be a mere coincidence, there must be something that the minister is trying to shield," he added.
Information minister Nicholas Dausi said government will issue a comment after investigations.