By Yamikani Msukwa
United Democratic Front (UDF) President Atupele Muluzi has described President Joyce Banda’s remarks that she is being pushed to declare her wealth because of her gender status as “mere escape” and “defensive gimmick” at the expense of poor Malawians.
The Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), including human rights activists demand making public of all assets and all income tax returns belonging to all public officers, including the Presidency, all ministers, Principal Secretaries and public officials.
However, President Banda told journalists on Wednesday that she is being targeted just because she is a woman, observing that there were no such calls when Dr Bakili Muluzi and late Bingu wa Mutharika were in power.
She also argued that the country’s law does not allow her to do so and that money has never been an issue to her since she went into business at the age of 21, insisting that she can only make her assets public after review of declaration of assets law.
But Muluzi, who is also UDF’s 2014 presidential candidate, said that she could have taken of the situation to declare her assets to win the confidence of financially stressed Malawians.
He said even if the country’s law does not allow her to so, she should have disclosed her assets on moral grounds and to foster transparency and accountability in government’s system.
“Though the law does not allow her to do so, she must disclose her assets to set a new record and lead by example. She should do so in the interest o many Malawians.
“Her open refusal to declare her assets is a clear demonstration that her leadership is caressing corruption and fraud in government departments. The issue of declaration of assets has been a contentious one; she should have succumbed to such calls to enhance transparency and accountability.
“Such financial scandal is unprecedented in the history of Malawi, unless the president stops caressing it Malawians will continue facing problems,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi further recalled that she once defended herself, her ability and capacity that she is equally strong to defend Malawians Rights more equal to former presidents.
“Her argument that she is being target more now than other leaders on the declaration of assets because she is a woman doesn’t hold!” he added.