United States Ambassador David Young has asked President Lazarus Chakwera to dismiss public officers implicated in corruption to demonstrate his commitment to fight the vice perpetuating poverty in the country.
He said this on Wednesday evening at his residence in Lilongwe during the commemoration of the first anniversary of the US Government’s Juneteenth National Day attended by senior Malawi Government officials including Cabinet ministers, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, Malawi Defence Force Commander General Vincent Nundwe as well as other diplomats and dignitaries.
Young said while Malawi is making efforts to grow its economy, government should step up efforts to combat corruption.
He said: “Corruption creates a web of relationships that perpetuate poverty and illegality. Battling corruption is a long-term battle, but it must begin today in earnest. The corrupt must be dismissed from positions of power.
“Through the development of a culture of transparency and openness and with a strong dedication to access to information for the public, the rot of corruption will fade.”
The envoy stressed that the fight against corruption is Malawi’s battle and, therefore, should be led by Malawians.
He pledged that the US and other development partners will continue supporting Malawi’s efforts in combatting the vice.
Young joins other voices from the diplomatic community, including the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU), who have also expressed worry with the levels of corruption in the country.
The EU has previously indicated that its resumption of direct budgetary support is partly dependent on the fight against corruption.
And in his speech during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations held in Lilongwe last week, British High Commissioner David Beer also took advantage of the presence of senior government officials to tackle the issue of corruption.
Britain’s National Crimes Agency (NCA) is currently investigating Malawian-born UK-based businessperson Zuneth Sattar on allegations that he bribed politically-exposed persons in Malawi to gain favours in form of public contracts.
Besides corruption, Young said Malawi’s other big task is to grow the economy through increased investment and private sector engagement.
Speaking during the event, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo said the Chakwera administration is committed to fight against corruption by, among others, ensuring an independent ACB.
She acknowledged that Malawi is going through many challenges, including economic hardships, extreme poverty, diseases and food insecurity, but added that government is aware that countering these challenges requires pragmatic and sustainable policy solutions.
Said Tembo: “The Malawi Government is currently implementing an array of short, medium and long-term programmes. These include the Covid-19 Socio-Economic Recovery Plan, the Social Cash Transfer Programme, the Affordable Inputs Programme and provision of loans to small and medium-scale enterprises through the National Economic Empowerment Fund.”
Juneteenth National Day was set aside to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in the US.