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When Joyce Banda became president of Malawi, following the death of Bingu Wa Mutharika in 2012, a lot of noise was made by some Malawians regarding Banda’s declaring her assets.
Similarly, when Peter Mutharika was elected President in 2014, Malawians demanded that he declare his assets to the Office of the Director of Public Officers’ Declarations (ODPOD).
So then, now that we have a new government led by MCP and UTM in place, have the Ministers and other officials in the Tonse Alliance Government all declared their assets? And if not, when will they do so?
It’s important that this question is asked, because as President, Lazarus Chakwera said this governement’s ethos includes servant leadership. So it is only right and proper that all members of his cabinet, all MPs and other officials declare their assets. If not for anything else, then at least to inspire confidence and trust from Malawians
Also, who is monitoring and verifying these declarations, to ensure that they are accurate and not over-estimated? Maybe this job shouldn’t be entrusted entirely to ODPOD?
I think, in the interests of promoting public confidence in the new government, and in order to abide by the stipulations of Malawi’s constitution, and in the interests of protecting the country’s resources – so that we do not go back to the failures of the past, it is of the utmost importance that all public officials disclose and declare their assets.
Malawians need to know what assets public officials own, not only in Malawi, but also abroad. What interests including property do they own in foreign countries, and what is the value of those interests. How long have they had them and suchlike?
It is up to Malawians to demand that this is done, and to ensure that the process is honest and transparent. Otherwise you risk the failures of the past where people connected to the presidency or people with links to public officials began to suddenly accumulate so much unexplained wealth, and there was few ways of knowing or verifying whether such was acquired legitimately or not.