By Senior news analyst
Renowned and one of the senior political analysts in the country Dr Henry Chingaipe says the recently released Afrobarometer Report on corruption in Malawi has a number of unanswered questions to justify the assertions that corruption in the country has risen.
During a meeting held to mark the release of the report Chingaipe took to task the authors of the report to explain several issues but of interest he said was that since the findings were based on perception, the report was supposed to go further to explain what has triggered such a perception.
“Without undermining the report there is need for information to know if the perception is because there is more reporting on corruption or because there is more money involved or is it because there are more cases in court now. These are very important questions which the report could have addressed.”
The Afrobarometer Report has also triggered an outrage on social media mainly after observers noted that the report’s conclusion that corruption has increased is in sharp contrast with the latest Transparency International (TI) report which shows that corruption in Malawi has gone down.
The TI report shows that in 2021 Malawi moved to number 110 on the Corruption Index from 129 the previous year scoring 35 points from 30 scored in 2020. The TI assessed 189 countrie and ranks countries from 1 to 189 with 1 being the least corrupt while the scores are out of 100% with those scoring below 30 regarded as the worst corrupt.
The TI Index in essence means that Malawi has improved greatly with some observers suggesting that the measures and action done by the current administration such as firing and arresting Cabinet Ministers, a thing that has never happened in previous administrations, has helped the fight. These measures have also led to increased reportage on corruption in the country leaving people with much more information on corruption than ever before.
Chingaipe argued that the Afrobarometer Report could be right that this is what people are saying because the more information people have about corruption the more they could perceive that corruption has increased. Chingaipe said perception has drivers which could also include social media where people have free access to such information.
One social media commentator argued that it was difficult to believe the Afrobarometer Report while all renowned bodies like the TI are saying that corruption is decreasing in the country.
“For argument sake, lets agree with Afrobarometer and that will mean Malawi has gone back to what it was before 2020 which would be on position 129 or above and a score of less than 30. Now, I don’t think it would be practical and possible for a country to make such a movement within a space of less than 12 months,” said one commentator.
The Afrobarometer report said that most of Malawians support President Lazarus Chakwera’s bold action of firing Cabinet Ministers who were found to be entangled in corruption. The report indicates that more than 83% or eight in 10 Malawians (83%) strongly agree with the idea that Cabinet Ministers and government officials charged with corruption should be fired immediately.
The Afro Barometer report also revealed that 57 % of Malawians agrees with Government proposal of giving amnesty to those returning fortunes realised through corrupt means.
Malawi’s Attorney General and Government Chief Legal Advisor Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda issued out a 60-day amnesty to all alleged companies and individuals who defrauded the public purse in their business dealings or illegally acquired wealth through theft or fraudulent and corrupt procurement processes to voluntarily pay back the said wealth or face the long arm of the law.