Former Ambassador to Japan, Dr. John James Chikago has added his voice on the recent decision by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to fire Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr. George Chaponda over his involvement in the Zambia maize-gate scandal, saying Chaponda’s firing is a victory for Malawians.

Mutharika fired Chaponda on Tuesday after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) invaded his house and confiscated money amounting to MK124, 500,000.00, $57,500.00, R22, 370 and other currencies.

Speaking in an interview with FaceofMalawi reporter, Chikago said pressure from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Malawians in general forced Mutharika to fire Chaponda.

“In fact it is wrong to say Dr. George Chaponda was fired by the President. The truth is that it was because of incessant pressure from CSOs, private media and Justice Msosa’s recommendations. The President was asking for evidence of money changing hands otherwise he was not convinced that Dr Chaponda was involved in shoddy deals.

“To me this was victory from citizens’ pressure which forced the President to formalize the people’s decision,” said Chikago.

He also blamed the President for taking too long in firing Chaponda.

“Leadership is about taking strategic decisions. That means taking appropriate and timely decisions. Now you can see what happened due to the delay in firing Chaponda….the Ministry of Agriculture building was on fire. Who takes responsibility for that fire,” he added.

On the calls by some rights activists in the country to have Chaponda arrested, Chikago urged them to respect the laws of the land.

“Chaponda has committed a number of offences under the Laws of Malawi deserving his immediate arrest but do not forget that as Parliament is on, all members of parliament enjoy immunity from arrest.

“In that regard let us respect our own Laws to wait and see what will happen to Chaponda after parliament adjourns,” said Chikago.

Meanwhile Umodzi Party (UP) President Professor John Chisi has asked the President for fire all Cabinet Minister.

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