We Malawian scholars and professionals in the Diaspora note with great concern the growing leadership crisis in Malawi and the deteriorating socio-economic conditions that have made life unbearable for ordinary Malawians.

We are disappointed that the promise of a new dawn represented by the decisions of the High Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, and the Supreme Court of Appeal of Malawi, which annulled the 2019 presidential election and ordered a new presidential election, remains unheld.

The Tonse Alliance government revealed, upon taking power, the staggering levels of looting and corruption committed under the previous government. Malawians expected the new government to draw a line under state looting and corruption, first, by investigating and prosecuting all those involved and, second, by putting in place mechanisms to prevent recurrence. such crimes.

Indeed, in his own words, the newly elected president has repeatedly proclaimed that one of his government’s priorities was to “clean up the rubble” of corruption that had permeated Malawi’s body politic.

Malawians hoped that they had finally elected a government that would fight corruption not just with empty words but with concrete actions.

However, almost two years later, corruption and looting are getting worse. We are alarmed by the regularity with which revelations of new corruption scandals and looting are made.

These scandals have implicated people at the top of government, businessmen, civil servants, police and military.

In response, the government has at best displayed an indifferent attitude and at worst has behaved in a manner that suggests a cover-up or an intent to obstruct the course of justice.

Institutions legally empowered to investigate and prosecute corruption such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have been weakened and isolated. Intimidation tactics have included the public emasculation of the ACB’s chief executive and the deployment of mercenary protesters. Presidential instructions to the ACB also compromise its independence.

Moreover, the police and other law enforcement agencies appear to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of mass thefts and abuse of state resources with timidity, or at least without any sense of urgency. apparent. The Ministry of Justice, supposed to be the bastion of the rule of law, has lost its way.

At the center of this depressing situation is the absence of political leadership. Within the government, there seems to be no political will to tackle once and for all the growing socio-economic and other problems facing the country.

For its part, the opposition is fragmented and lacks the legitimacy and credibility to serve as a rallying point for change. For the ordinary person, there is no hope.

Malawi faces an existential crisis as a country, a crisis that is man-made and therefore can be solved by man. The erosion of faith in the ability or will of government and political leaders to deal with the country’s growing socio-economic crisis does not bode well for the future of politics in our country.

Along with the promise of a new dawn that was ushered in by the election of the Tonse Alliance, there was also the promise of an enhanced form of civic engagement in political and public affairs by ordinary Malawians.

Civil society – represented by non-governmental organizations, religious and faith-based organizations, professional associations, youth and women’s organizations, individual social and political activists, among others – played an important role in keeping the previous government under oversight and subjecting it to legitimate criticism on issues of corruption and poor governance.

We note with disappointment, however, that while some of these civil society voices have remained vigilant in identifying leadership failures and unfulfilled promises for change under the Tonse Alliance government, others have been willfully silent. or not, or appear to have been co-opted into the culture of corruption they previously denounced.

We call on the government to rise to the occasion and live up to the responsibility bestowed on it by the electorate on June 23, 2020. We believe that the legal and policy tools to fight corruption are in place and that it is not necessary to take concrete action in this regard. await future public consultations, including a conference on corruption.

We urge:

The ruling parties must review the promises they made to the people of Malawi and ensure that they are making a genuine effort to adopt and implement policies that would improve the economy and the living conditions of the people.

The government and all its agencies must uphold the rule of law and respect the independence of all crime-fighting agencies. The government must provide adequate support to these organizations.

The Department of Justice must discharge its responsibilities professionally and ensure that justice is administered in a fair and equitable manner.

The government should suspend all those involved in corruption and looting, without prejudice to their constitutionally guaranteed right to presumption of innocence, and ensure that criminal allegations are promptly investigated and prosecuted. .

The government should strengthen all institutions of accountability and ensure that they function optimally and independently.

Civil society organizations must remain vigilant, independent and principled in demanding accountability and transparency from those in power.

Sign

Sibo Banda, Department of Law, Maynooth University, Ireland

Alex Chanthunya, Private Lawyer, Maryland, USA

Josiah Chavula, Computer Scientist, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Danwood Chirwa, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Wanangwa Chirwa, Professor and SAFCOL Chair of Forestry, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Dr Daniel Dube, Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Consulting Physician, Plum Telemed Inc, USA

Mafaniso Hara, Professor, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Sumera Haroon, Financial Reporting Specialist, Bremen, Germany

James Kadyampakeni, Chief Economic Advisor, Government of Canada

Alexander Kambiri, Development Management Specialist, Bonn, Germany

George Lwanda, Economist, Trade and Development Expert, Gambia

Dr. John Lwanda, Hon. Senior Researcher, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, UK

Tom Likambale, Ottawa, Canada

Tiyanjana Maluwa, H. Laddie Montague Chair in Law & Professor of Law and International Affairs, Penn State University School of Law, USA

Samuel Manda, Professor and Head of the Department of Statistics, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Mtendewaka Mhango, Professor and Dean of Law, University of Lesotho, Lesotho

Martin Mkandawire, Professor of Chemistry, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lupenga J. Mphande, Associate Professor and Director of Studies Abroad, Department of African American and African Studies, Ohio State University, USA

Mpalive-Hangson Msiska, Emeritus Reader in English and Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London, UK

Leah Mwambene, Professor and Associate Dean of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Dr Cromwell P Msuku, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist (retired), Buffalo, NY, USA

Chatonda Mtika, Electrical Engineer, Washington, DC, USA

Mwiza Munthali, civil society activist, formerly of TransAfrica, Washington, DC, USA

Dr Geoffrey S. Mwaungulu, FACP (Internal Medicine), former Medical Director of Medicare Advantage, Inverness, Florida, USA

Paul Mzandu, Senior Programmer Analyst, Department of National Defence, Canada

Cedrick G. Ngalande, Senior Principal System Engineer, Raytheon Intelligence & Space Systems, Los Angeles, USA

Bryne Ngwenya, Professor of Microbial Geochemistry, University of Edinburgh, UK

Louis Nthenda, Professor Emeritus and Writer, Fujisawa City, Japan

Linda L. Semu, Professor of Sociology, McDaniel College, Maryland, USA

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Associate Provost and North Star Emeritus Professor, Case Western Reserve University, USA