Chaponda – Bulldozes his way against the laws

BLANTYRE (Sergio Genti, Malawi NewsNow) –Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr George Chaponda who sneaked out to Germany last Thursday where he went to attend a workshop in Berlin  despite being on suspension  following an injunction granted by the High Court restraining him from performing official duties, sneaked into the country on Wednesday  through Chileka  Airport amidst tight State security.

Chaponda was expcted to to land at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe at 2pm on a South African Airways (SAA) flight but changed  his ticket to arrive through Chileka in Blantyre after his itenary was leaked in the media.

The civil society organisations (CSOs) who plan to move the contempt of court case against Chaponda has planned to hold protests on his arrival.

But at Chileka airport, Chaponda had  State security both in plain cloths police officers  and others armed to the teeth in riot gear.

The security officers also snatched  cameras from media corps  who camped at the airpot.

On arrival Chaponda was given all his due ministerial priviledges as he used VIP lounge and whisked away on a Toyota Corolla vehicle  which was escorted by three armoured police vehicles.

Chaponda is currently on forced leave following an injunction granted by   Justice John Chirwa on January 12 restraining him from executing his duties until completion of a probe into the purchase of maize from Zambia .

He  was invited by the German government through the German Minister of Agriculture in December for a conference in Berlin.

The CSOs want Chaponda arrested allegedly for travelling to Germany for a conference in violation of an injunction obtained against him.

Mr  Moses Mkandawire of Church and Society programme of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, said “We expect each and every one of us to respect the Constitution; to respect court orders. But what sort of a society are we creating if a minister chooses to deliberately defy a court order? Is the law just meant for the poor, those being governed and not the authority?

“Remember, the Constitution of Malawi is founded upon underlying principles that include under Section 12 that all legal and political authority of the State derives from the people of Malawi and shall be exercised in accordance with it solely to serve and protect their interests. And the people stopped him from working, but he had decided otherwise, so on whose authority is he working?” he queried.

Opposition parties represented in Parliament have said the allegations that President Peter Mutharika sanctioned Chaponda’s trip to Germany is a serious one demanding to be viewed on its merit in the House.

Government spokesperson Mr Nicholas Dausi, who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, refused to speak on the matter.