Government of Malawi “has clearly lost direction”: Bishops’ Justice, Peace Commission

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) pose with President Lazarus Chakwera. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The government of Malawi is losing direction in managing the affairs of the country, Coordinators of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in the Southern African nation have said, and warn that the country “is quickly turning into a failed state”.

In a Wednesday, December 7 statement that CCJP Coordinators at the national and Diocesan levels in Malawi signed, officials of the entity of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) say President Lazarus Chakwera's government has been unable to deal with vices including graft. 

“The country's leadership has clearly lost direction on how to manage what can reasonably and justifiably be described as a country in a crisis. In other words, Malawi is quickly turning into a failed state; the indicators are so vivid in the eyes of many, perhaps except the country's leadership itself,” they say.

CCJP officials in Malawi say they find it “unfortunate, saddening, and ironic that the government that incessantly claims to be driven and anchored by the tenets of the rule of law, ending corruption, unity of purpose, servant leadership and focus on the less privileged has clearly deviated from its own principles of governing a democratic polity.”

“This is happening while the political leadership seems to have abrogated its obligatory mandate to safeguard the common good and drive the national agenda for the realization of the much-touted inclusive development as stipulated by the Malawi 2063 aspiration,” they further lament.


Officials of the Commission of ECM say corruption that is “a serious human right and development obstacle which is thriving unabated due to a number of institutional inadequacies” has remained “one of the insurmountable challenges to President Lazarus Chakwera-led government.” 

They say that while the government has lived up to its promise to empower the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and to create a special court to aid in fighting against graft, the institution has failed to serve properly due to politics. 

“Political meddling remains the biggest challenge faced by the graft-busting body in its operations,” CCJP officials in Malawi say, adding that “there is underground political interference in the Bureau's handling of corruption cases involving politically exposed persons.”

They further say, “It is in the public domain that the ACB is not handling corruption cases involving certain political personalities connected to President Chakwera's Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in spite of the fact that grave allegations of the vice have been leveled against such political figures.”

They laud the anti-graft body for arresting and charging Vice President Saulos Chilima for alleged corrupt dealings with businessman Zuneth Sattar.

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Nevertheless, they say that Malawians expect more arrests and prosecution of politically connected people, and underscore the need for ACB to “conclusively and effectively investigate and prosecute all elements of corruption surrounding the procurement of farm inputs such as fertilizer under the 2022 AIP implementation.”

Officials of the ECM commission also call on Malawi’s government to ensure effective governance in the management of its domestic and foreign debts.

“Debt sustainability in Malawi has been a huge macroeconomic challenge for a long time. The country has failed to control and properly manage its domestic and foreign debts and the present government seems to be falling into the trap that successive regimes have failed to avoid,” they say. 

The Catholic Church officials in Malawi add, “It is important to mention that the main problem with the present political regime is that it is still concentrating debt money towards investments into unproductive avenues amid fiscal imprudence in many government ministries, departments, and agencies.” 

The management of domestic and foreign debts will help bring about fiscal stability to the economy, they say.


“It has been noted by CCJP that the Malawi Government is failing to stop the piling up of debts as its only hope is for the lenders to write off the debts. Such governance practice on debt management only brings about instability and uncertainties to the economy in light of the fragility of Malawi's economic environment,” they say.

CCJP Coordinators in Malawi call on the President to “demonstrate his sincerity and genuine commitment towards supporting the ACB and its Director General in the fight against corruption through the provision of security to the staff working for the corruption-busting body.” 

They add that the government needs to ensure “effective governance in the management of its domestic and foreign debts to bring about fiscal stability to the economy.”

“Imprudent spending, investments in worthless economic ventures, and corruption in the management of debt money should be systematically dealt with,” CCJP officials in Malawi say in their December 7 collective statement.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.