By Catherine Kaleya
In a recent development, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi demonstrated his unwavering dedication to the rule of law by allowing Prince Kapondamgaga, the State House Chief of Staff, back to his position after thorough investigations.
This decision was met with support from the Public Affairs Committee (PAC), a quasi-religious body, which praised President Chakwera’s adherence to legal processes. This essay explores the significance of upholding the rule of law, sheds light on the investigation’s outcome, and commends President Chakwera’s stand for justice.
The rule of law is the cornerstone of any just and civilized society. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their status, is subject to the same laws and regulations. By adhering to the rule of law, President Chakwera sent a powerful message that no individual is above the law, including high-ranking officials. This demonstration of fairness and accountability is crucial in maintaining public trust in the government and its institutions.
The Public Affairs Committee wholeheartedly backed President Chakwera’s decision to reinstate Prince Kapondamgaga. In their view, penalizing Kapondamgaga without concrete evidence would be unjust. Reverend Gilford Matonga, a spokesperson for PAC, emphasized that in Malawi, as in any democratic society, individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. By supporting the President’s action, PAC reinforced the principle of due process and the presumption of innocence.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) conducted a thorough investigation into Prince Kapondamgaga’s alleged involvement with a United Kingdom-based businessperson, Zunneth Sattar, who was under scrutiny for bribery allegations. While the ACB found evidence that Kapondamgaga had received gifts from Sattar, including a Mercedes Benz, the bureau concluded that he had not committed any criminal offense. Instead, Kapondamgaga entered into a restitution agreement with the ACB, whereby he relinquished wrongfully obtained benefits.
Following the ACB’s recommendation, President Chakwera directed the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to review the Malawi Public Service Regulations. This directive aimed to address the suspension of Kapondamgaga during the investigation. Consequently, with the suspension set aside, Prince Kapondamgaga was reinstated to resume his duties as the State House chief of staff.
While some critics raised concerns about the optics of the decision in the fight against corruption, it is essential to recognize President Chakwera’s commitment to the rule of law and the principles of justice. By allowing Prince Kapondamgaga to return to his position based on the ACB’s findings, President Chakwera demonstrated a firm belief in due process and the importance of honoring the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
The triumph of law is evident in President Chakwera’s unwavering dedication to the rule of law, as exemplified by his decision to reinstate Prince Kapondamgaga after comprehensive investigations. With the backing of the PAC and the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s findings, President Chakwera upheld the principles of justice, fairness, and accountability.
This act of leadership serves as an inspiring example of a government’s commitment to ensuring that the rule of law prevails, even in the face of challenging circumstances.