PRESS STATEMENT ON ALLEGATIONS OF TREASON
AGAINST GEOFFREY KACHALE BANDA
- I would like to express my deep disappointment over reports that appeared in The Daily Times of October 22, 2015 and other news outlets that said the DPP government, through a National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) report, has implicated my son, Geoffrey Kachale Banda, in an alleged plot to bring down government through unconstitutional means.
- The report also implicates other distinguished Malawians such as President of the Malawi Congress Party and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, civil society leaders and health rights campaigners Ms. Martha Kwataine and Mrs. Dorothy Ngoma, among others.
- WITCH-HUNTING & POLITICAL PERSECUTION
- I have taken the liberty to issue this statement, as a mother, with a view to challenge the NIB and the DPP government to substantiate these allegations and many other allegations against me and my family. I have personally endured untold political persecution and abuse in the past year and half at the hands of the DPP government and I would not sit back and look at some misguided government institutions and individuals transfer that misery onto my children.
- Geoffrey is an entrepreneur who lives abroad. As far as I know him, he has never expressed any interest in politics and any attempts to link him to politics are as futile as they are ridiculous.
- I wish to state, categorically and without fear of contradiction, that the alleged NIB report as quoted in the media is not based on any proven facts but mere conjecture and political witch-hunting.
- The allegations against my son are not only false and malicious but a desperate attempt by the DPP government to further pursue a hate-campaign against me, personally, and my entire family. These allegations are devilish and unfair; purely intended to damage and injure Geoffrey’s personal character, reputation and standing in society.
- Memories are still fresh that on December 4, 2014, the DPP government alleged that they had handed over CCTV footage to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) that captured meetings between chief cash-gate suspect, Mr. Oswald Lutepo and me. This was an apparent attempt to implicate me in the cash-gate scandal. However, State House security officers have confirmed that CCTV cameras at all state residences have not been functional since the time of the former President late Bingu wa Mutharika. The ACB has been demanding for the alleged CCTV footage for five times without any success.
- President Peter Mutharika himself has also made serious allegations to the effect that I had planned to kill him when he was arrested on alleged coup plot charges in March 2013.
- President Mutharika claimed “fake doctors” had been hired to poison him while in police custody and that he has sworn affidavits of the alleged ‘fake’ doctors. President Mutharika further said he would use this information when the right time comes.
- On May 9, 2015, at the memorial of late President Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, the DPP government claimed they had evidence that I had killed President Bingu wa Mutharika and that I must therefore be taken to court. These claims are extremely serious and expose me to serious danger.
- It is shameful that the DPP government has chosen to abdicate on its constitutional duty to govern the country and that it has chosen to pursue a cheap political vendetta against perceived political enemies. It is sad that the whole government has decided to use state machinery and resources to victimize its innocent and vulnerable citizens.
- I wish to state that my family and I will hold His Excellency President Mutharika and his government responsible should anything harmful happen to my son, Geoffrey, and any member of my family.
- I wish to call upon the civil society, the clergy and the diplomatic community in Malawi to keep a watchful eye on the DPP government to deter any attempts to return the nation to dictatorship through disrespect for human rights and bad governance.
- Our memory is fresh of people who have been mysteriously killed and their cases have never been investigated. These include an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) top official, Issa Njaunju, who was brutally murdered in early July 2015; Cassim Julius, a policeman on duty in March 2013 in President Mutharika’s area at Goliati in Thyolo; 20 people killed in cold blood on July 20, 2011; Emanuel Kafere, an entrepreneur killed in Zomba in March 2012; and student activist Robert Chasowa in September 2011, among others.
- Since we attained our democracy in 1994, Malawians have displayed admirable resilience and remarkable ability to resist any dictatorial tendencies by previous leaders and governments.
- I call upon Malawians to continue that spirit to fight for freedom and democracy. As a country, we must say NO to the use of force and state machinery to persecute opposition leaders and citizens.
- As Malawians, we genuinely believed that we had turned the page and gone beyond the brand of politics where politicians or their agents would just pick and choose to slander and victimize individuals they did not like based on political expediency.
- Concocting serious criminal charges against perceived political adversaries is simply retrogressive and it only serves to worsen Malawi’s ailing political, social and economic situation.
- HEALING THE ECONOMY
- Instead of implicating my children; my entire family and other distinguished members of society in imagined crimes, His Excellency President Peter Mutharika and his government must consider a serious introspection exercise.
- His Excellency President Peter Mutharika and his government must, instead, channel their energy on addressing the many pressing issues affecting Malawi, especially the rising insecurity and crime; impending hunger; water and electricity shortages; and the collapsing economy.
- Government should be aware that Malawians are eager to see a forensic audit finally instituted into the MK577 billion financial scam that occurred between 2009 and 2012 during the previous DPP government of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
- As the case is now, President Mutharika’s government has shown no interest to expedite the audit even after the German government committed millions of Kwacha to facilitate the forensic audit.
- Recently, robbers broke into the residence of a German envoy and stole documents containing information about the MK577 billion Kwacha forensic audit. In the midst of calls for a speedy forensic audit into the MK577 billion financial scandal, an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) top official, Issa Njaunju, was brutally murdered in early July 2015. Since that time, no concrete investigations have been carried out to bring the perpetrators to book.
- Malawians are keen to know who stole the documents at the German envoy’s residence. Malawians deserve to know who killed Mr. Njaunju. Malawians are still disturbed by government’s ‘failure’ to track down the people that burnt down a Malawi Electoral Commission warehouse containing ballot papers and other election materials one year down the road.
- Government’s plate is already full and Malawians are demanding solutions to their daily problems. My request is that government must find a way of getting donor aid back to Malawi.
- Government simply has to comply with some of the issues that the donors want us, as a nation, to do. Government needs to institute a forensic audit into the K577 billion ‘cashgate’.
- Malawians remember that donors had walked away during the final years of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. When President Bakili Muluzi came in, he negotiated with the donors to return and they did. Donors left again during President Muluzi’s second term.
- When Mutharika came in 2004, he brought the donors back. During his second term, the donors left again because of a myriad of governance issues that haunted his government. For instance, the British withdrew aid because he had proceeded to buy a private presidential jet while people were dying due to hunger; the human rights record was getting worse; and government had deported the British High Commissioner to Malawi, among others.
- After cashgate was unearthed, donors withdrew aid and demanded that as a nation, we ought to implement several things to correct the situation. As we all know, the K577 billion (US$1.2billion) scandal was the genesis of the subsequent abuse of public funds as discovered in September 2013.
- It is therefore imperative that the MK577 billion scandal is also thoroughly investigated. Donors are saying we must deal with it through a forensic audit. Donors will only return when they are satisfied that all their concerns have been addressed.
- We might also just find that people already convicted on cashgate charges of 2013 may also be linked to the 2009-2011MK577 billion ‘cashgate’.
- President Mutharika and his government must stop blaming the previous government for his failures as the three Presidents before him worked hard to normalize the situations instead of blaming their predecessors.
- 16 months have elapsed since DPP came to power and it is only prudent for President Mutharika to come up with a clear plan of action detailing how he wants to recover the economy that has collapsed under his watch.
- The DPP government must stop imagining that these problems can merely be wished away or that political witch-hunting is the solution. Malawians know the truth.
FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
& PRESIDENT OF PEOPLE’S PARTY (PP)
October 23, 2015