…says Malawi cannot survive without aid
…‘we need assistance to address this crisis’
President Peter Mutharika has contradicted his earlier proclamation that the age of donor aid was over for Malawi by issuing a strong plea to donors that they should not to punish him for the sins that were committed by the Joyce Banda administration.
“You are punishing the wrong people. Cashgate was done by the previous government. Are you going to punish the subsequent government that was not involved in the scandal? In the end, it is the people who suffer when donors withhold support. What is currently happening in Malawi is very serious. We have no medicine in the hospitals because the donors left” said Mutharika in an interview with BBC Hard Talk.
He pleaded with donors to resume the aid to reverse the current economic crisis. He stated that his administration was committed to efforts intended to uproot corruption in order to gain donor confidence. He however said the malpractice was deep-rooted that it would take about 5 years to be successfully eradicated.
“Of course it was the donors’ decision. But I think it was unreasonable to leave when over $60 million had been depleted at treasury… Malawi needs about 5 years to be self-sufficient, to gradually change from an importing to an exporting nation. But in the mean time, we do need assistance during this crisis period” he added.
Donors withdrew aid in 2013 following the cashgate scandal as it emerged that over K24 billion of public funds had been stolen by government and People’s Party officials including cabinet ministers. A recent audit analysis also established that over K553 billion was uncounted for during the 2 years that Joyce Banda was president.
Mrs. Banda who had been implicated in the scandal by two top government and Peoples Party officials maintains her innocence. She left Malawi soon after the outcome of the presidential elections and she has never set her foot in the country ever since, leading commentators to allege that she was on a self-imposed exile, on the run from cashgate-linked prosecution.