Lilongwe - Malawian President Peter Mutharika has come under increasing pressure to sack the seven senior cabinet ministers involved in the K577 billion "cashgate' scandal, Nyasa Times reports.
This came after a contradictory statement from State House, saying that President Mutharika was refusing to fire the seven cabinet ministers. It is now believed that civil society leaders are organising a large-scale protest against this decision.
Unnamed sources behind the alleged protest said that they intended showing Mutharika and government officials that the power of the people far outweighed their power.
Political analysts claim that Mutharika's reluctance to criticise the cabinet ministers was due to his own brother, late President Bingu wa Mutharika, being implicated in the scandal.
Mutharika insisted that he too was awaiting the release of the audit report so that the necessary investigations coud be initiated, while also hitting out at certain media houses for "misleading" Malawians before the report was made public.
He added that the reason he refused to fire any cabinet minister was because he had not received any names in connection with the audit query as yet.
"Consequently, in the absence of this information from the auditor general, the issue of names of seven cabinet ministers allegedly being implicated in the audit does not arise. It is therefore, pure misinformation and lack of sincerity for some individuals and media houses to be accusing the president of not acting on some ministers allegedly implicated in the K236 billion forensic audit when information on the individuals is not available," a State House statement said.
These claims though have been labelled as lies, with the names of the cabinet members believed to be contained in files handed over by the auditor general.
Social media is awash with the names that include Mutharika’s strong man, Agriculture Minister George Chaponda, Mutharika’s right hand-man, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, and Mutharika’s inner circle of Labour Minister Henry Mussa as being among the seven.
News24 reported that Mutharika was recently lambasted for chartering a plane to receive a personal honorary degree, while his country suffers from poverty, food shortages and a dwindling economy.
Analysts and opposition leaders lambasted Mutharika, saying his ruling Democratic Progressive Party had failed the economy, adding to the accusations of corruption.
- News 24