The newly-minted Minister of Information and Digitization, Moses Kunkuyu, has responded to a statement released by the United States (US) Embassy in Lilongwe on the fight against corruption in Malawi.
In a publicized statement intended to notify the public, Kunkuyu says Malawi Government rather engage the United States Government through diplomatic channels following US Embassy’s Facebook-posted statement pronouncing displeasure over the developments happening with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma.
Secretary to the Office of President and Cabinet communicated an interdiction to the ACB DG to pave way for smooth court cases that she is answering.
In a letter to Chizuma, SPC Colleen Zamba said her office had received communication that Chizuma is answering case number 236 of 2023.
According to the letter, the allegations constitute serious misconduct of a public officer and an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) official in terms of Section 49B of the Corrupt Practices (Amendment) Act 2004 Ant-Corruption Bureau Standing Order Numbers D/18 (2) and D/18 (9), Sections 4 (4.5); 6 (6.1); 6 (63) and 14 (14.1) of Code of Conduct and Ethical Behaviour of the Ant-Corruption Bureau, Malawi Pubic Service Regulations (MPSR) 1:201 (6), 1201 (11).1201 (17) and 1:201 (19) and Contract Clause Articles I and 1 of your employment contract of 1 June 202.
In a statement Kunkuyu, says out of respect for international laws, it will engage the US Embassy and its Ambassador, David Young, through diplomatic channels to address concerns they have raised on how government is handling the issues of interdiction and criminal charges leveled against the ACB) Director General.
In his swift response to the accusations leveled by the US Embassy, Kunkuyu says the engagement will be done in the spirit of mutual respect, without compromising the duty of government to protect the sovereignty of Malawi.
“The Malawi Government, out of respect for international laws, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, will engage the US Embassy and Ambassador through diplomatic channels to address the concerns raised,” reads part of the statement dated 8th February, 2023.
“This will be done in the spirit of mutual respect, without compromising the duty of government to protect the sovereignty of Malawi and the independence of domestic public institutions and their officials from foreign interference, as well as in the quest for continued cooperation in the development of Malawi and its people.”
The statement added that government will not relent in the corruption fight by continuing the implementation of its strategy of strengthening governance institutions that each have a critical role in the fight, including law enforcement agencies, public prosecutors, and the courts.
“In that context, government maintains its resolve to continue its unwavering support of the Anti-Corruption Bureau as an institution by making it more functionally independent and more resourced than it has ever been, with the expectation that this will result in the successful and speedy completion of all the cases the bureau is handling,” says the statement.
In his remarks, a US-based pro-Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) engineer and political scientist working at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Cedrick Ngalande bemoaned the US Embassy statement, calling on “the President to assert the sovereignty of the Republic of Malawi”.
Reacting to the undiplomatic emotive Facebook-publicized statement by the US Embassy, Ngalande remarked as follows in his Facebook post: “It’s difficult to understand the real motive behind statements being issued by foreign embassies to the government. Have the normal channels to the foreign affairs ministry closed? Is the intention to have Malawians rise up and overthrow their government?”
Ngalande further suggested that Chizuma must be fired and replaced with another fierce czar who could be a little more disciplined and productive.
Other domestic commentators have hailed the government’s position, praising Kunkuyu as an accomplished public relations guru who achieves impact without the aid of emotions on his persuasive reasoning.