…Malawi Embassy questions Mutharika conduct
Opposition political parties in the country have described Malawi President Peter Mutharika’s decision to blow more than 500 million Kwacha on a trip to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York as “irresponsible” and “selfish”.
Mutharika who has been accompanied by 111 people including chiefs, friends and party fanatics has already spent K115 million on a one-way transport fare for the bloated entourage.
In an interview with Malawi24, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Jessie Kabwila said Mutharika’s act is “unprecedented and irrational for a country going through economic challenges.”
Kabwila said it is unfortunate that the president has demonstrated his “irresponsible behaviour and selfishness in a way that hurts Malawians.”
She said amidst Malawians’ struggle to earn a living, the president has demonstrated Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) “love of luxury”.
Kabwila said: “This illustrates his irresponsibility and cruelty to suffering of Malawians in time when life is very difficult. The kwacha is taking a huge hit, hospitals are not functional and there is looming hunger. This cements that it is not a caring government.
“It is not surprising that the majority of people who have gone to New York are not even going for work there but are party members who are appeased for whatever is going on.”
Kabwila questioned DPP administration’s transparency and called for submission of names of people who have gone to New York and their role at the UN meeting.
“I am coming from America where I also visited Malawi embassy. Everybody is astounded with the number that government has sent. The Embassy is questioning DPP government’s behaviour to fund for party loyalist and appease them in this way,” said Kabwila
The People’s Party (PP) has also expressed worry with the DPP administration’s way of running the country.
PP publicity secretary Ken Msonda said that DPP is undemocratic and its leaders doesn’t have the welfare of poor citizens at heart but only aims at enriching themselves.
“The leadership is clueless on how to run this country. It is talking about other government institutions tightening economic belts on expenditure as the country is experiencing economic meltdown whilst the Executive is doing the opposite,” said Msonda.
An economist has since advised Mutharika to stop having too many international trips saying that government must consider the economic status of the country.
“There are a lot of challenges that have rocked different government sectors that need much attention. In my own observation not all the meetings need him to participate,” said the economist Nelson Mkandawire.
Mutharika has always said his foreign trips are crucial to the development of the country since he engages international communities to help government activities.
“Have we seen that development? We will agree with the president when we see the so called development,” said Mkandawire.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, George Chaponda has downplayed the reports saying that the Malawi leader has only taken aboard 20 officials, a figure which experts still believe remains high.
*Additional reporting by Luke Bisani.