Did Chakwera order Chizuma’s arrest?

…Dzonzi raises possible conflict of interest

By iDigital reporters  www.theinvestigator.news

President Lazarus Chakwera knew that the Malawi Police Service will descend on the embattled Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Director General Martha Chizuma, and that is why he cannot fire Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Steven Kayuni, The Investigator has found out.

The Investigator has not received response from the President’s Press office, the Malawi Police Service national spokesperson, the Ministry of Justice and any of the government departments since sending official questions on Thursday.

While Chakwera on Friday went to town accusing police elements of being “DPP cadets” and mocked the “corrupt” had stayed away from the anti-corruption commemoration day held 120km north of Malawi’s capital in the municipality of Kasungu, the truth is the plot to arrest and fire Chizuma involved the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and its agents across the Police, Judiciary and even inside the ACB.

The Investigator has spoken to senior police officers, justice ministry officials and several individuals close to the President and most confirm that Chakwera, alongside his Ministers of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza, Inspector General of Police Merline Yolamu,. Director of Operations Ackis Muwanga and Kayuni were all aware of the pending Chizumas arrest.

“The ACB was about to arrest several Ministers who form the power around the President. According to the instructions, the President told the IG to look into the possible ways to deal with the matter and the IG then delegated the Director of Operations Ackis Muwanga, who is a well known MCP operative in the Police,” said a senior Police officer.

Social media reports have tried to portray Muwanga as the one who holds balance of power in the current Police hierarchy, but our investigations reveal of a “Police within Police” which is linked to politicians that implement politically motivated arrests.

The plot

The plot has been the working of a five-member team of two police officers- Muwanga and head of CID George Njale, alongside Kayuni, unidentified member of the judiciary and a fifth person we are yet to confirm their identity but is linked to one cabinet minister.

“These people meet at a hotel in Lilongwe that’s where some of these cases were discussed. Kayuni has been active. Imagine the case of Tadikira (Mutharika) the Police recommended human trafficking charges, DPP changed to murder. He wanted Chizuma so bad that it is a personal quest that has gone badly,” said a police officer familiar with police prosecution office.

Chizuma, according to the team was being thought as “wathu” and sympathetic to the MCP by officials. They now blame her of being either DPP or UTM.

The Investigator can reveal that Kayuni panicked after ACB officials descended on the Ministry of Justice mid-November, days after he had advised the ACB not to hire Mordecai Msiska as a lead lawyer to prosecute Vice President Chilima.

“The ACB asked for a number of files, but everyone knew what they were looking for,” said an official from the Ministry of Justice. This triggered panic as Kayuni thought Chizuma was about to arrest him over allegations related to payments of allowances.

The committee made the decision to get rid of Chizuma. Others suggested firing her first before arresting her. The majority wanted the ACB DGs head so badly that they wanted her in jail.

“The President was aware before and after the arrest, the Police cannot touch someone who he had pardoned without his knowledge. It’s the backfiring of the scheme that he has to pretend he does not know. The Police brief the President every morning on the state of internal security, so he is not being honest to the public to feign ignorance,” said a security official, who has worked on the president’s detail.

Dozens of Police descended on Chizuma’s house to arrest her for what Kayuni now says is a “personal matter of defamation” and drove her 48km west of Lilongwe to Namitete.

“The scrambling of such amount of man power shows the Inspector General of Police would be informed. Then if you saw Police were all over Lilongwe that day, both the Inspector General and the Regional Commissioner of Police would be aware of those patrols,” said a Police officer.

IG not in Malawi

The Inspector General of Police Yolamu flew out of Malawi on 2nd December 2022 and was in Lusaka when the plot unfolded. She was attending a SADC security meeting alongside MDF Commander General Vincent Nundwe who flew from the USA into Lusaka.

“The IG might have been used as an authority, because as early as 15th November 2022 the decision to arrest Chizuma was already in process,” said our police source.

The National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya did not answer any of our questions sent to him on Thursday. His Whatsapp indicated he had read our questions.

Post arrest crisis

American and European donors including South Africa got the news of Chizumas arrest early morning hours and met in Area 12 where they agreed to call the President immediately and tell him their disdain and that it would negatively impact the relations between Malawi and their nations.

Apart from the diplomatic pressure, it is understood some religious leaders also called or attempted to reach out to the president.

The president relented, but the damage had already been done and he could not fire Kayuni or address the nation as both looked more of political suicide which had already started with the decision to arrest Chizuma.

Commission of Inquiry

The President fearing a political tsunami quickly announced a sham suspension of Kayuni which eminent legal scholar Associate Professor (emeritus) Edge Kanyongolo wondered (on his social media post) the basis  of the suspension.

Section 102 (2) only provides removal of the Director of Public Prosecutions if he is incompetent, compromised in terms of duties affecting impartiality, incapacitated and attained prescribed age.

The Commission of Inquiry which initially had Malawi Human Rights Commission Executive Director Habiba Osman was reconstituted and two names appear that would raise questions if the commission can look into the matter professionally.

Lot Dzonzi- Former Inspector General of Police

Mr. Dzonzi, is a respectable teacher, diplomat, evangelist and former Inspector General of Police, however his appointment raises serious conflict of interest as both the incumbent Inspector General of Police Yolamu and Mr. Muwanga are close to him.

Mr. Dzonzi has publicly said he encouraged the Malawi Police Service second female head to go back to school and was “proud of her.” The two worked together at the Police headquarters.

Muwanga on the other hand started out as secretary to Mr. Dzonzi when he was plucked from Mpemba Training college by then Inspector General of Police. Dzonzi was Commissioner of Police at Area 30 national headquarters. He was given a rank of sub-inspector.

Muwanga remained secretary for Dzonzi as he rose to become Inspector General of Police and with it he rose to the rank of Superintendent when Dzonzi was appointed deputy head of mission at the Malawi Mission at the United Nations Headquarters.

“Muwanga is an MCP loyalist from Lilongwe. He has supported the party even with finances,” said a senior MCP official who was worked with Muwanga. Some junior police officers have reported him asking them where they come from during operations and that he ordered promotions for officers from specific areas.

Mr. Dzonzi has taken oath as a commissioner in the inquiry.

The future

The public expectations on the inquiry is already low as the President has promised and failed to deliver the final reports to the public including the civil service reform committee report on allowances which he had tasked the vice president to chair after billions of Covid money was lost in 2021.

Another report is a self-professed assessment of the cabinet which has never been made public and some worst performing ministers continue to enjoy the tax payer’s resources only by the Presidents “prerogative.”

No comment

The Investigator sent email and WhatsApp questions to the officials mentioned in this article. The Investigator has not received response from the President’s Press office, the Malawi Police Service national spokesperson, the Ministry of Justice and any of the government departments since sending official questions on Thursday.