The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has said the arrest of former Cabinet minister George Chaponda on Wednesday signals President Peter Mutharika’s quest for independent governance institutions, including the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
“The President has always said that he does not want to take this country back to one-party system of government, where people were being arrested anyhow.
“It is important that these bodies be given ample time to do their investigations independently, not just arresting people for the sake of it,” DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila said yesterday.
Meanwhile, opposition political parties in the country have also hailed the arrest, saying it signifies a step towards respect of the rule of law. The parties, which include the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the Peoples Party (PP) say the arrest of Chaponda also signals that the wheels of justice are now turning, and that nobody is above the law.
MCP second deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka, however, expressed discontent over the delay by ACB to arrest Chaponda despite the former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development being implicated in two commissions of inquiry six months ago.
Said Mkaka : “ I f t h e investigating authority had found that he contravened the law, he was to be arrested right away. We will not begin to celebrate or jubilating until Chaponda is tried in a court of law, because the arrest might just be a way of blind-folding the nation that government is doing something about corruption.”
While PP spokesperson Noah Chimpeni said the arrest shows that the authorities have started listening to the wishes of Malawians.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph ChidantiMalunga, whose committee led a probe into the maize scandal, urged the ACB to speed up the prosecution as Malawians are looking forward to the conclusion of the case.
In separate interviews after the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court granted Chaponda and his suspected accomplice Rashid Tayub, director of Transglobe Produce Export Limited bail, political scientist Mustafa Hussein and Mzuzu-based political analyst Charles Kajoloweka cautioned the governing DPP to take the arrest of its vice-president responsible for the party’s Southern Region as a wake-up call.
Public Affairs Committee (PAC) spokesperson Father Peter Mulomole has also hailed the ACB, saying as a committee they are happy that the nation has now started respecting the values of justice without looking at the positions of those involved.