Weeks afterward and Housing Minister Kezzie Msukwa was arrested by the country’s graft busting body, the ACB for corruption, President Lazarus Chakwera, has not spoken about it, neither has he fired him.

The development has left the public puzzled and eyebrows raised over the President’s commitment to rule of law and fight against corruption.

Msukwa was arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for his alleged involvement in corrupt land dealings with businessman, Zunneth Sattar, who is currently under investigation by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and Malawi’s ACB.

Analysts have questioned Chakwera’s delay to fire Msukwa, considering his vow to have zero tolerance to and uprooting corruption in his administration, during his presidential campaign trail.

Commenting on the matter, human rights and governance expert, Charles Kajoloweka, who is also Executive Director for Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) described as unfortunate the President’s inaction on the matter.

“Principle requires that those who have criminal records hanging over their heads should be excused from public office.  It is done to protect the integrity of the office that they hold. In principle, Kezzie Msukwa is compromised and is not a legitimate occupant of that office. Until allegations against him are cleared, he remains a criminal suspect and criminal suspects should not be near public office. We cannot let him continue holding to the office as a minister for the crimes committed in the ministry, because that has the potential of undermining the investigations and credibility of accountability.,” said Kajoloweka.

Governance watchdog, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (CSAT) Executive Director, Willy Kambwandira, who was not impressed by the President’s inaction, called for the immediate resignation of the minister.

He said it was only noble for public officers implicated in corruption or any criminal matter to step down to pave way for investigations.

“Integrity is paramount for people entrusted to run a public office. Fundamental principles of our constitution demand that public officers should always demonstrate personal integrity at all times, in order to strengthen public confidence and trust. Now where a public of officer is suspected to have been involved in corrupt dealings, it is always a noble thing to step down to pave way for investigation. It is unfortunate that the Minister has failed to step aside. We expected the President to act quickly by removing the minister from office until he is cleared of any wrong doing,” said Kambwandira.

He added, “Any delay to act on the matter is a violation of public trust and governance as enshrined in the constitution and does not demonstrate commitment to fighting corruption. Again, the delay may raise speculation that the President is protecting the cabinet minister.”

Contacted for comment, State House spokesperson, Anthony Kasunda, said the President has already made his decision and will make it known soon.

“The President will make that decision known at an appropriate time,” he said.

Msukwa is fighting his arrest in court, after initially applying to the High Court for a judicial review.

In a ruling on Msukwa’s judicial review, presiding Judge, Zione Ntaba, described the ACB’s conduct as “to a degree unconscionable and unreasonable and more so just to cause embarrassment to the claimant”. She however referred the matter to the Lilongwe registry of the court.

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