Malawi: Muluzi trial exposes Thyolo-Lomwe tribalism

bakili_muluziThe on-going trial against former president and UDF national chairman Dr Bakili Muluzi has exposed a worrying pattern of ethnic-domination of the judiciary and justice system by President Bingu wa Mutharika. (Pictured: Bakili Muluzi)

In the case where Muluzi is accused of diverting MK1.7 billion of donor funds, Judges MacLean Kamwambe and Healey Potani on separate court proceedings, granted permission to Muluzi to travel to the United Kingdom for medical attention and scheduled the hearings to proceed by August 3.

On both occasions, Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, plaintiff and prosecutor Alex Nampota were present and supported the application agreeing with the defense that trial should commence first week of August.

However, hours before Muluzis departure on June21, Nampota produced a restraining order, effectively barring him from leaving the country. In the same sleigh of the hand, he drew a list of properties for expropriation which included Keza Office Park in the name of Atupele Properties Limited where Muluzi is one of the directors and vehicles used by the UDF registered in his name.

The list of monetary beneficiaries submitted by the ACB to the court did not include so many individuals some in the DPP today and others in the UDF. President Mutharika is widely known to have cost Muluzi over MK500 million to spruce his image between 2002 and 2004 to become electable.

The properties listed down by ACB do not include the Lonrho house which was Muluzis property and has now been bought by President Mutharikas Bineth trust.

Like a Nigerian movie, Nampota shopped for Judge Joseph Manyungwa, a willing judicial assassin, and Chief Immigration Officer Elvis Thodi, looking for an opportunity to pounce on Muluzi, set in motion the devious plot by his own admission claiming that he had received an anonymous phone call alerting him that Muluzi would not be coming back home, that in fact, he was fleeing into exile. What the three have in common is the fact that they are all Lomwes and from Mutharikas home.

While Malawi has its fair share of dim-witted civil servants who take any order, even if it means killing ministers as in the case of the Mwanza Four where uniformed police officers bludgeoned to death Aaron Gadama, Dick Matenje, John Twaibu Sangala and David Chiwanga without knowing who actually was giving the order in May 1983, apparently well-read men and women have no qualm playing that role again.

But I thought the Chief Justice had learnt something from the death of the three cabinet ministers and the legislator; and also the vast experience from the International Criminal Tribunal of Sierra Leone where Simone Hinger Martin died mysterious.

The newly-appointed and ethnically-selected Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito Phiri completes the devious ring which has shown already that the justice system is nothing more than a gate-keeper at best and a knuckle-duster to break the heads of Mutharikas rivals of which target number one is Muluzi, the other is John Tembo and not forgetting several smaller fish that hang around these leaders.

The state president seems decided to take over and substitute Muluzi in every aspect. The Lonrho house was Muluzis property and one can guess for sure that the interest in BCA property which Muluzi bought in the late 80s could have sinister intents.

Lets ask ourselves the Keza property went through a court process up to the supreme court why should one unwind the process at a kangaroo court sitting at 10 pm ex-parte?

Denying Muluzi medical attention for an illness that developed from campaigning for presidency speaks volumes about how we as a society are so sick in our minds and very vengeful. What would happen if Muluzi died before he goes for medical attention in UK, will the callous trio (Nampota, Thodi and Manyungwa) accept responsibility?

The theory that Muluzi would run away is diabolical and indeed stupid because people like Muluzi, Tembo, Henry Phoya, Ralph Kasambara, and BJ do not to fly from Chileka airport to leave this country because Malawi has open borders and these individuals have huge connections where jets could come and fly them to wherever they want to go.

They dont even need passports let alone permission from anyone but they will not run away because they are not cowards. It also wrong for Manyungwa, Thodi and Nampota to think that this category of individuals has no friends outside this country. Let us be reasonable and remember that no too long ago from today some of the rulers will be subject of the same treatment and will be nobodys, out of power.

The other advice to the rulers of today is that what goes round comes round and there is an old adage which says do onto others what you want them do onto you.

The rulers of today are busy accumulating a lot of property and wealth; it would be very sad if future rulers would want to grab this wealth because some have decently worked for it. My advice without condoning corruption would be let us tread carefully so that tomorrow overzealous people do not take away several farms that we have now.

Some of us are also worried that by default there is a development of built an elaborate network of patronage based on ethnic extraction.

Today Malawi is controlled by a small section of the society. The President is from Thyolo so are Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, Chief Immigration officer Elvis Thodi, Director of ACB Alex Nampota, Chair of Electoral Commission Anastasia Msosa, Inspector General of Police Mukhito, CEO Admarc Thyolo Charles Matabwa, CEO Escom Thyolo, Masaf Thyolo, Auction Holdings Thyolo, MBC Director Thyolo, Minister of Justice Thyolo, Attorney General Thyolo, and the list can go on and on.

Companies doing business with government especially large contracts have directors from the same ethnic extraction. Malawi is a very poor country and the only source of survival is dependent on government for employment, business and for provision of social services so if this government is dominated by one minority tribe we are setting a time bomb that may not explode now but will one day do so.

One needs to remind Malawians of what happened when our brothers from the north dominated the social-economic fabric particularly education. It reached a stage when the John Tembo of today and his colleagues went to town on them and since then theyve never recovered from the trauma.

The same happened to Kamuzus passionate followers most of who have not recovered from the shock of multipartysm. The Muslim brothers who overcrowded the public works during Muluzis time are still licking their wounds. Let us not repeat the same mistakes and the mistake were growing now will be costly because it will focus on a very small group which today has taken it upon themselves to be embodiment of Malawi.

It is about time Malawi should grow out of politics of vengeance and flogging a dead horse.

Muluzi and all that served in his regime are no longer a threat to Mutharikas government but they should be allowed to live a peaceful life because retirees of Mutharikas regime will also need to live their own peaceful lives.

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