Activist Undule backs less foreign trips for VP as austerity measure

Government’s deliberate austerity measures in the face of economic hardships is the best explanation why cabinet ministers are sometimes preferred to the Vice President Saulos Chilima when it comes to foreign assignments, a political and governance expert has noted.

Undule: There is no gulf bettwen the President and his deputy

Undule: There is no gulf bettwen the President and his deputy

Undule Mwakasungula, who once headed several human rights and governance institutions, has said this while querying the rationale of statements made by Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and political commentator Mustapha Hussein.

The two entities have told Malawi News that it is wrong for President Peter Mutharika to delegate some foreign assignments to cabinet ministers at the expense of Vice President Chilima.

According to Mwakasungula, people need to understand the concept of austerity in regards to national goals.

“Every time the Vice President travels outside the country, the logistics of his trip are not as straightforward as some might think. If we talk of austerity then it is better to send cabinet ministers for some of these foreign meetings than a member of the Presidency,” he argued.

Added Mwakasungula: “Is austerity only applying to the President? I think those saying that President Mutharika is not in good terms with vice are trying to create a mountain out of a mole hill or they have their own agenda which is to create a gulf between the two. In my personal opinion I don’t see any signs that there are sour grapes between the two.”

A snap dig-in into the Vice President’s foreign trip shows that he – just as the President- his office sends an advance team. This means he also takes a small delegation on any foreign trip.

In contrast, a cabinet minister only needs his Principal Secretary and may be one extra ministry official to manage everything at a foreign meeting.

“With an understanding that the President has some must-attend functions every year, it is only prudent not to confine all foreign trips in the Presidency. By sending cabinet ministers we are saving a lot of government resources,” said Mwakasungula.

Malawi adopted austerity policies last year as one way of managing public resources in the face of lack of budgetary support from donors.

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Kamwendo
Guest

Now Mwakasungula is thinking like a Malawian. How come he has come up with an opinion not expected from wakwithu? Let’s help the current administration build a nation not dividing the President and the VP for our political vendetta. Sometimes it is you the journalists who promotes hatred by bring up stupid things. Malawian journalists grow up.

Romento
Guest

It is absurd to mention austerity in the same breath as APM, DPP, Chaponda and Mwanavenkha. If Mwavenkha’s full list of foreign trips for 2015 was released Malawians would be shocked. This guy spends more time outside Malawi than inside Malawi – he is always out of the country with the blessing of APM. The Ministry of Trade and Industry’s budget must be reeling from the frequent foreign travel of its Minister. Why should austerity only apply to Saulos?

Afera
Guest

How would the believer compare Peter,s blotted village team with his explanation?

Afera
Guest

No wonder the cheeks are inflating with zimaobama.

Mapiri
Guest

The VP has traveled only twice or thrice since he can to office. So the article is irrelevant

Happy Eduardo
Guest

Mmesa kumeneko nde kupempherako? Undule is still a believer and I back what he has said. He is very right and there is nothing unchristian in what he has said.

kamowa John
Guest

Mwasiya Zopemphera zija.

Mtondoli Jonazi
Guest
I agree totally with Undule and disagree totally with most of the comments raised here. I expressed a similar view when the picture of APM standing in a queue waiting to board a commercial airline surfaced and people suggested the country buy a jet for the president. In my opinion, a properly briefed, well-prepared Minister or PS will handle the job as well as a whole president (even better depending on the mettle of the person representing the country), for a fraction of the cost. Maybe it then boils down to the type of ministers or ps’s we get. Are… Read more »
Kanyimbi
Guest

We want Chilima to be given work. If the vice president has no work to do but is receiving salaries, Can we expect a civil servant to work hard? Chilima is not a lazy man. Please give him work. We are tired of being one of the poorest on earth. WE WANT CHANGE.

Patriot
Guest

Is Mr Mwakasungula so shallow minded? I’m disappointed because I always held him in high regard. Any person who can’t see that its the same ministers who are delegated or who accompany the president(Chaponda and Mwanamveka)is myopic! This doesn’t require rocket science – the president is grooming one of his own. We’ve seen it before – -this is history repeating itself…

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