The Good News: On Friday, a Malawian court has sentenced 9 senior police officers to 14 years in prison (each) for stealing MK 55 million ($164,000) from the Malawi Police Service. An estimated 1/3 of Malawi’s national revenue is lost to fraud each year. Read the full article here.
The Bad News: Paul Mphwiyo, Malawi’s national budget director, was shot and seriously injured while entering his home Friday night. Mphwiyo is being treated at a South African hospital and is currently in critical – but stable – condition. In an official statement, President Joyce Banda called the shooting a “targeted attack aimed at silencing him and the government in the fight against high levels of corruption and fraud.” Read the full article here.
President Banda has admirably made the fight against government corruption one of the pillars of her political agenda, jettisoning the presidential jet and cutting her own salary by 30%. Her willingness to lead by example in this cause have made her an object of admiration among the international community and, one hopes, a source of inspiration to her own people and government. But admiration and inspiration can only take you so far. The challenge for Banda is how to sustain the fight against corruption and protect potential whistle-blowers when the very people tasked with protecting those whistle-blowers – the police – are one of the biggest sources of corruption. Banda and her government must prioritize rooting out corruption within police ranks to create an environment that encourages speaking out, not silencing those that do.