There has developed a consistent collective thought among Malawians on the tenure of Anti Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma with more prominent voices calling for her to step aside as the only remedy to reinvigorate the fight against corruption.
Latest of those calls have been made by seasoned governance and human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula.
The activist says the only way to bring back ACB to its rightful role is for Chizuma to pave way for someone more competent and with enough public goodwill.
“The ACB director started well but has lost the plot along the way. If as a nation we are serious to deal with corruption decisively then we need someone who has requisite abilities,” said Mwakasungula in an interview with MIJ Radio on Zatani program.
The activist said Chizuma lacks strategic direction and approach to investigations and prosecution of cases. He wondered why ACB is fond of arresting people and leaving them in suspense for a long time.
“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.
Mwakasungula also accused Chizuma of concentrating on propping her image instead of delivering results.
“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.”
He also questioned Chizuma’s failure to work in coordination with other state agencies as a major setback 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.
Undule says even though the President has assented the Corrupt Practices Amendment Act into a Bill, there is still little hope if ACB will turn around the fortunes.
“It will depend with how she coordinates with other equally important offices. What we have seen in the past hasn’t inspired enough confidence that she is up to the task. Probably it is time others took over and continue from where she will stop,” he said.
Undule is remembered as a vigorous activist who kept late Bingu wa Mutharika under constant check in the human rights space.