By Chiipira Wachaje
I am writing this open letter to express a grave concern. I believe you need to be put on high alert on how the government is dealing with those that criticize its governance failures.
Z Allan Ntata, a London trained barrister, is a bonafide Malawian citizen. Of late, he has gathered courage to speak truth to power. The young man is a good governance activist who has rightly noted that Malawi’s biggest enemy is corruption which is basically practiced in the corridors of power.
You honorable donors pump in funds from your taxpayers’ money to help the poor in Malawi but this money ends up in the pockets of our leaders.
The cash-gate scandal during the Joyce Banda regime was just the tip of the iceberg as we have also learnt that your money, amounting to 577 billion Malawian Kwacha also went missing when this party which is now in power was ruling between 2009 to 2012 under the leadership of late President BinguWa Mutharika—elder brother to the current President Peter Mutharika.
This patriotic true son of Malawi—Ntata— who has expertise in dealing with corruption, money laundering and similar crimes has sent shivers to the current President as he (Mutharika) is highly suspected to have been the conduit of the plunder of state house coffers when his elder brother was in power.
Ntata had been in the country conducting high level investigations on the 577 billion Kwacha corruption report and as just as he did when he released the cashgate report under the Joyce Banda rule which he titledLicence to Loot, he has again finished preparing a new report of this cashgate scandal.
In the Licence to Loot report, Ntata made it clear that the plunder of public coffers was done by those who were in power and their cronies. He was lambasted left right and centre by the government machinery of holding vendetta against them until the government was pushed out of power by the Malawians in the 2014 elections when now truth started slowly coming out that the plunder was indeed coordinated as Ntata had put it in his report. Now those who were mentioned in that report which was attacked by Malawians are now convicted—the likes of Oswald Lutepos.
It is against this background that Malawi President Peter Mutharika has sued the activist in question for defamation when the online media was awash with story that Peter Mutharika himself was involved in cashgate during his brothers’ regime as he was used as the conduit. Mutharika believes that this article was authored by Ntata hence the lawsuit. I truly hope you have learnt this from the mainstream media.
As if this is not enough, the whole government machinery has of late descended on the activist as state house recently released a hostile press statement which lambasted and defamed Ntata. I hope you have also learnt about this from the mainstream media—both print and electronic.
As I indicated at the beginning of this letter, I believe you need to be on alert so you can closely observe the way this younger Mutharika is handling this close critic of his in case he continues with these mafia-like tactics he has started to deal with him.
I know that in your respective countries especially in USA, UK, Germany, etc; your democracy is mature and that people can criticise government without the fear of being killed. We know that you guys concentrate much on the power of arguments.
If someone is offering a criticism to government, what you do if you disagree with the person is not to arrest him or kill him but to prove him wrong by showing the public that your government is doing the right thing contrary to what the opposition is saying. You leave it to the public to make informed decisions.
This is contrary to Malawi democracy. Our history has it that our leaders believe in arresting small minded critics on trumped up charges but fierce critics—true freedom fighters— like this governance activist Z Allan Ntata are before they go any further,instantly eliminated by literally killing them.
We had popular musician Evison Matafale who mysteriously died during the Bakili Muluzi regime in the hands of the police after being severely beaten. His sin was writing an open letter to the president then, criticising his leadership style. Another Musician Billy Kaunda was on the verge of being eliminated. He was lucky enough that he was able to flee to the neighboring Zambia. His sin was composing a song which was attacking the leadership of the then President.
Fast forward to the late Mutharika regime; Malawi witnessed a horrible murder of a young political activist, Robert Chasowa, who was a fourth year student at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. His sin was to criticize the autocratic government of the late President.
The arrest of civil society activists and opposition political leaders was order of the day.
Our former colonial master, the United Kingdom, had also a fair share of how cruel and undemocratic our governments can be when the elder brother of this current President without any iota of decency declared the queen’s envoy persona non grata. The envoy’s sin was simply to rightly describe the late president—in a leaked diplomatic cable—as increasingly becoming a dictator.
All this was happening when the current President was serving in his elder brother’s administration.
Recently, you also heard that an ACB official, Isa Njauju, was brutally murdered.
It is likely the case that the murder was done on political reasons.
The interesting thing is that police investigations on such suspicious deaths do not lead to any tangible results. Up to now, we don’t know who killed Evison Matafale; we don’t know who killed Robert Chasowa and no one has ever been brought to book.
Against this background, I hope you will not be surprised to know who will be responsible in the event that activist Z Allan Ntata is attacked or worse still, mysteriously found dead just like we were shocked to learn of the ACB’s official death.
To President Peter Mutharika; Malawians have noted with alarm and dismay the step you have taken to wage the battle of attacking good governance activist Z Allan Ntata just like your late brother smoked out civil society activists with Petro bombs in their houses and offices, arrests and the heinous murder of Robert Chasowa.
If you or your agents are thinking of killing Ntata because of his criticism of your government, for you guys have a track record of not tolerating dissenting views; Malawians will look no further to find the murderer.
It will certainly be you President Mutharika and your overzealous DPP cadets who will be responsible for that and if Malawians—who are known for easily forgetting—will chose to just let it go as they did with the late Matafale and Robert Chasowa and soon as they are doing with the late ACB official; I promise you that justice will equally be served on you and your cronies for I will personally make sure that that happens. Whether you will still be in power by that time or you will be out of power, I will make sure that I hunt you down and your cronies up to the gates of hell.
Malawi is a democratic country and so, leave good governance activist Z Allan Ntata alone.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of this publication.