To find evidence of corruption in high places in our rotten Malawi, Americans have just proved that a telescope is not a necessity.
As per our tradition of putting facts first, let’s take a look at the facts.
In March 2017, the then People’s Party (PP) interim leader and parliamentarian for Salima South Uladi Basikolo Mussa was questioned by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) after being implicated in a passport scandal.
The allegations were that he abused office and violated the Malawi Constitution by granting Malawi citizenship to over 50 foreigners in 2013 when serving as minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security.
Following these allegations, our toothless ACB obtained a warrant of summons under case number 176/2017.
Sailing in the same rocky boat with him was former chief immigration officer Hudson Mankhwala who was charged with neglect of official duties contrary to Section 121 of the Penal Code and abuse of office contrary to section 25B (I) of the Corrupt Practices Act.
Aware that President Peter Mutharika doesn’t incarcerate politically useful friends, a year later Mussa was unveiled as a ranking returnee to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at a rally in Salima.
Come May 2019, although Mussa lost his Salima South seat, his new-found friend didn’t forsake him.
Oblivious to the proverb “mphuno salota anawombera mfiti mmanja”, on June 19 2019, as per powers conferred on him by Section 94 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi it pleased Mutharika to appoint Mussa as his Special Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs.
As we speak Blues’ Orators, Mutharika is now the prototypical dude who Chinua Achebe would describe as a man who “has yet to find the mouth with which to tell” of his predicament.
You know what?
Our ancestors were brilliant. When they cautioned that a tortoise excretes on whosoever embosoms it; they were speaking from experience because without an iota of doubt, Mutharika is ruing the day he embraced Mussa despite a serious corruption case hanging around his neck.
In a direct rebuke to Mutharika who drags his feet whenever a corruption case involves a ‘friend’, the US government has barred Mussa and his wife from entering the US for his alleged “involvement in significant corruption”.
The operational word here is: “significant”.
In a statement dated July 3 2019, the US Embassy in Lilongwe said Mussa’s designation was made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Act of 2019 which empowers the Secretary of State to bar scoundrels with “significant corruption or gross violations of human rights” to be ineligible for entry into USA.
Reads the statement in part: “The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their family members. In addition to the designation of Mussa, the Secretary is also publicly designating his spouse, Cecilia Mussa.”
Mussa, currently serving as DPP vice-president for the Central Region, argued that “the decision is totally wrong” because “nobody is guilty until proven guilty by the court of law.”
“As far as I am concerned, I am innocent,” he insists.
He can insist all he wants; it will not help matters any.
In a classical sour grapes style and fashion, he implied that he cares less because he had no plans to travel to the USA anytime soon anyway.
Let’s unpack this Mussa jumble.
If he truly believes that just because he wasn’t planning a trip to the big apple soon then everything is alright; he is fooling himself.
My friendly advice to him is that he should immediately consult a trustworthy lawyer so that he is schooled on what else American he should desist from touching.
Arrogance, in his circumstances, is total haram.
Mussa’s second problem is the person he purportedly advises i.e. Mutharika. Mutharika has not helped him at all.
A couple of weeks ago while delivering the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament, Mutharika alleged that there are political leaders amidst us trying to recruit mercenary militias from Al-Shabaab to come and create anarchy in Malawi.
Ironically vis-à-vis Mussa’s passport scandal, if anyone amongst us has ever been in cahoots with the likes of Al-Shabaab, it would be the one answering a case of granting Malawi citizenship willy-nilly to dubious characters, for bribes.
Now, if I were an American official would I not take Mutharika’s careless statement, then add one plus one and arrive at two to conclude – rightly or wrongly – that some Malawians indeed ‘transact’ with Al-Shabaab?
Come to think of it, Mutharika’s careless mention of Al-Shabaab could have a snowball effect on his buddies in DPP with Mussa just being the harbinger.
As to Mussa’s claim of innocence until proven guilty – again – he has his buddy Mutharika to blame.
The fact is: up until Mussa changed goals yet again to play on the DPP side of the pitch, the Passport Scandal case was proceeding with decent speed.
The moment he went into bed with Mutharika, much like Muluzi’s MK1.7 billion case we all know, his case started going at a snail’s pace.
Now, for Mussa to shamelessly use the dragging case as a shield for “innocence until proven guilty” knowing as he should that by cavorting with Mutharika the case will never see its logical conclusion any time soon; is the same as wanting to eat his cake and still have it.
Of course the Americans cannot watch such a charade idly while some are aiding criminals and probable terrorists to vanish by helping them switch nationalities like one changes underwear.
When all has been said and done Mutharika and his pal Mussa should know that the chickens have come home to roost.
While Malawians tend to arrest petty thieves while appointing the big crooks as presidents and presidential advisors, Americans don’t pamper crooks, big or small.
Question is: who’s next?