Renowned human rights activist, Undule Mwakasungula, says the battle against corruption continues to drag because Martha Chizuma, who is director at Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), lacks strategic direction and approach to investigations and prosecution of cases.
Speaking to Zodiak Broadcasting Station’s Tiuzeni Zoona program on Sunday, Undule noted that despite adequate government support, the ACB has maintained kick-and-rush approach to issues.
He bemoaned the tendency of arresting people and leave them in suspense for a long time as a big anomaly in the fight against corruption.
“When one is arrested for corruption and mentioned in some report, it is right and proper to expedite their legal processes so that their fate in known. When you do nothing, you are simply destroying their livelihoods. These people have built careers and served the nation in many capacities as such their being connected to corruption attracts social disdain which in the end affect their jobs and social connections in the family and community,” lamented the rights activist.
He also accused Chizuma of diverting her attention to other issues mainly to prop up her image and win public approval.
“There has been a lot of focus on positioning of herself in the media than doing the actual work she is mandated to do. So she has been giving out media interviews time and again instead of leaving that task to the bureau’s public relations apparatus.”
True to Undule’s observation, Chizuma’s eighteen months in office have been characterized with media appearances mostly for the wrong reasons.
One of those reasons is also a talking point in Undule’s interview. He questioned Chizuma’s lack of teamwork spirit as a major impediment to her mandate in the fight against corruption.
Since last year, the ACB director has openly been in defiance to professional legal advice from other state agencies especially the offices of Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions.
It is the persistent fights with the DPP that forced Parliament to amend the Corrupt Practices Act to allow her proceed with corruption cases without seeking consent from the former.
Undule, however, sees the change in law as a move that may not erase the incompetence of the bureau’s director.
“It will depend on how she addresses the pertinent issues I am raising on coordination with other state agencies and conduction of proper investigations before arresting people. If she fails to address those issues then the new law remains ineffective for as long as she is in office,” he said.
Undule became a household name during Bingu wa Mutharika’s second term when he challenged the then Malawi leader on gross human rights violations against citizens of Malawi.
He led the infamous July 20, 2011 protests that claimed 20 lives across the country’s three regions.