First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s visit to a school in Mulanje on Saturday ended in embarrassment as the Catholic Church rejected her donation of 40 bags of cement.
The first lady through her Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust wanted the cement to be used for reconstructing a Providence Girls Secondary School hostel which was destroyed by fire earlier this year.
But Archbishop Thomas Msusa, the chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), told the first lady that the cement was not needed since a donor had already offered to rehabilitate the hostel.
Msusa whose church owns the school later told the local media that the first lady and her organization did not seek information from the church regarding things that were needed at the school.
“They did not ask us. They just came to the school without any knowledge. In fact, they just came without any information,” said Msusa.
He added that the church could not have told the international donor to stop after the first lady had offered her help.
Following the rejection, Mutharika decided to leave the cement at the school for other projects.
The first lady also managed to donate 40 suitcases, 40 school bags, 40 mattresses, plastics cups and plates, soap, exercise books, mathematical instruments, bathing and facing towels, sanitary pads, 40 double deck beds and school uniforms for students at the school.
During the visit to the school, Mutharika was accompanied by Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Minister of Culture, Civic Education and Community Development, Cecilia Chazama, Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia and DPP General Secretary Greselder Jeffrey.