#Malawi: A few take to the streets; ask JB to dissolve cabinet, Finance Minister out


A few that turned to protest against the looting of public coffers
A few that turned to protest against the looting of public coffers

A handful of angry Lilongwe residents on Thursday took to the streets demanding the Finance Minister resigns immediately and asked President Joyce Banda to dissolve her entire cabinet.

One of the placards they were carrying read: Ken Lipenga tula pansi udindo wako (Ken Lipenga resign from your position)

 Another read: Joyce Banda chotsa nduna zonze (Joyce Banda fire the entire cabinet)

New revelations paint some senior ministers and top public servants as the worst culprits in the looting of public coffers with shot Director of budget Paul Mpwiyo as the backstage player in the looting of billion in public funds 

The shooting of Mphwiyo has been a haven of mystery and rumor since the crack down on his suspects started.

The Office of the President and Cabinet last week disclosed that over K1.2 billion ($4 million) Malawi’s finance minister Ken Lipenga is facing calls to resign his position after last month’s shooting of his budget director followed by revelations of massive pilferage of public funds amounting to over K1.2 billion (over $4 million) from treasury.

Paul Mphwiyo, appointed as budget director by President Joyce Banda early this year, was shot three times and left for dead as he drove into his residence in Lilongwe.

 Since the shooting, a joint investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and police, has since implicated the budget director himself, some unnamed minister, in a racket that was looting public coffers through dubious payments in billions.

So far, five junior officers in the public service have been arrested after being found with a lot of money hidden in their cars and houses.

 One proprietors of the company were the money was being transferred into, Pika Manondo, have since fled the country and he is on Interpol wanted list.

 President Banda on Wednesday warned that she was not going to spare anyone implicated in the scandal that has angered the country’s western donors and the public atlarge.

Leading opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) also asked President Banda to force her minister to resign and asked her to arrest senior members involved in the scandal at treasury and other government departments.

 “People have lost confidence in her leadership and the best thing she can do is to order the arrest of senior officials involved and ask her finance minister to resign,’’ said MCP President Lazarus Chakwera at a public rally over the weekend.

Last week eight western donors asked President Banda to deal with the alleged corruption at treasury and investigate the shooting of the budget director.

 “These are worrying developments that potentially risk Malawi’s stability, rule of law and reputation…We urge swift and credible investigations that leave no stone unturned, allowing the investigating authorities to act without fear, intimidation or hindrance,” read a statement by the eight envoys.

Reports of increased corruption in the public service have angered a lot of people and may be a huge block on President Banda’s re-election next year.

“She has to act and show that she is serious about fighting corruption or this may affect her chances of winning next years’ elections,” said Blessings Chinsinga a political lecturer at the university of Malawi