Catholic bishops in Malawi have criticised President Lazarus Chakwera’s government for paying lip service to the fight against corruption and for lacking a clear plan of action to address the woes facing the country.
In a pastoral letter signed by seven bishops and published on Sunday, the Catholic Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi slammed Chakwera for not doing enough to act against corruption, which they described as “the cancer that is largely responsible for keeping this country very poor and under-developed.”
“As Catholic Bishops we, together with all concerned Malawians, are deeply shocked and dismayed by the recent revelations concerning the plunder of public resources by foreign nationals in partnership with corrupt politicians and civil servants.”
They urged Chakwera to “demonstrate concretely that our battle against corruption is not just mere lip service but a genuine and relentless fight to eliminate this cancer in our country.”
They accused “some greedy Malawians” in Chakwera’s administration of “siding with those responsible for the plunder of resources instead of siding with the poor who are victims of corruption”.
“In the interest of building a more just and transparent Malawi that benefits all its citizens, let no agent of corruption, however powerful, wealthy or who their connections are, be shielded or protected, provided that he or she is given proper recourse to the legal processes of the courts,” the bishops said.
Chakwera’s administration has been marred by corrupt practices by some of his ministers and other officials.
The Malawian leader has since late 2021 relieved three ministers of their responsibilities amid allegations of corruption, but none of them has been sentenced so far.
The bishops also accused the Office of the President and Cabinet of undue interference in the operations of state-owned enterprises and of failing to champion a programme of action to guide Malawi out of poverty.
“The politics of appeasement and patronage have continued, pretty much like in previous regimes. This is particularly true in the appointments of chief executive officers to various parastatals.”
The interference has affected the performance of the SOEs, to the detriment of the welfare of ordinary Malawians, the bishops said.