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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48 thoughts on “Activist Undule backs less foreign trips for VP as austerity measure”

  1. Kamwendo says:

    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.

  2. Romento says:

    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?

  3. Afera says:

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

  4. Afera says:

    No wonder the cheeks are inflating with zimaobama.

  5. Mapiri says:

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

  6. Happy Eduardo says:

    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.

  7. kamowa John says:

    Mwasiya Zopemphera zija.

  8. Mtondoli Jonazi says:

    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 thet qualified for the jobs or they get the jobs because of cronyism or tribalism or what else? A well educated, articulate, well versed minister or ps who knows his job and has been properly briefed of the requirements of the meeting should do the job.

    Let us stop bickering about useless things and focus on what would build us. Yes, a president is required in certain respects, but that does not mean he cannot delegate to one of his so many minions!!


  9. Kanyimbi says:

    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.

  10. Patriot says:

    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…

  11. Dausi Phiri says:

    I think this man has lost the senses he used to have if not then the gay is looking for greener pastures from the Dpp.

  12. i want a tractor says:

    kodi nkulu uyu samati wapanga retire kodi. iya

  13. Chipapwiche says:

    Hussein is not happy seeing the two in good terms. To hell with him

  14. The Most Concerned says:

    So wat wil u tel the Nation Mr Hussein? Having seen Dr Chilima campaigning for DPP in Mchinji in a well articulated whistle stop? Inu mumvekele there is sour relationship between APM & Chilima? Shame on you!

  15. Kenkkk says:

    It all depends on the importance of the trip and what matters are to be discussed. Where say all heads of state are meeting, then the vp is the appropriate one to go if the president fails to go regardless of austerity.

    Some meeting themes are geared towards a certain ministry, then the appropriate minister can go rather than the president. But we have seen where two ministers are constantly on trips abroad together, chaponda and mwanabveka that is not being careful with our money.

    So undule, you can’t just generalise on this matter, it depends on the importance of the trip and what matters will be discussed at the meeting. Then the choice of the delegation as to whether the vp or cabinet minister should go will be made accordingly.

  16. gober says:

    kodi a mwakasungula mwapanga retire from retirement?

  17. KARU UNITED says:

    I am hearing for the first time that each time a sitting Vice president travels abroad an advance party is sent. According to the Malawian political climate characterised by envy, since it’s inception the VP’s office operates on a shoe string budget & the conditions there are largely austere, unless if things have changed with the coming in of the Right Honourable, Dr Saulos Chilima. Usually the line for a foreign trip would be as follows : The office holder & his / her spouse @ times. Guard commander & two extra guards, to alternate, a principal secretary /special assistant & sometimes an accounts official, that’s it. Most of the bookings are done through respective high commissions or embassies. The truth is the VP is second in command, so where the president can’t go @ times, may be due to spoken english problems the VP should be considered. My suggestion would be for the 2016 UNGA for example the VP should be considered to represent Malawi. I doubt if Mr Undule Mwakasungula has ever worked either in the Office of the Vice president, Office of the president & cabinet or even in the civil service itself. He could have supported supported the idea put forward by CCJP, if the office holder for the VP’s office was a Msowoya. Besides the tone of the article sounds as if Mr Mwakasungula is looking for honourable Sam Mpasu’s famous “BUNS” expression from none other than the sitting president himself.

  18. advisory committee says:

    Undule you dont executive polical set up and succession. What is happening is tha the ministers are being groomed for the position of vip and chilima is being put aside abd this is pilitically good. This will come to pass in the next chitsankho mark my words but nyasatime why have you deleted the earlier comments on this matter you can’t expect good comments all the time

  19. Tose says:

    Great Undule the nation needs people like you. You are just some thing else when it comes to taking and talking your views. It’s exile crop of the Ollen, Kwaulis you guys I admire you
    Undule you are a leader and president in the making…

  20. Mwipwa says:

    I don’t why the same NGOs talking of the president reducing foreign trips and yet they want the veep to do the same. That’s just shifting from APM to Saulosi. Am not sure if the ccjp are trying to campaign for Saulosi nanga si mwana wamuyumba. Great position Undule that’s what we call reasoning…

  21. Longwe M says:

    Continue Bwana President by delegating your Ministers as the Veep has other things to do in Malawi and after all it’s cheap to send them

  22. Brown Soko says:

    I support what Undule has said

  23. Gondwe Brown says:

    Let’s all rally behind good policies brought by APM

  24. Manda says:

    There is no issue by Delegating Ministers

  25. zenzene says:

    Amwakasungula mwayamba kudya mazila adppinu amene akupatsa a Bamusi takudziwanikaya

  26. Mtonga says:

    let APM do what he knows and continue sending the Ministers so that Malawi can save some monies

  27. Mavuto Nkhonjera says:

    I see no problem for the President to delegate the Ministers we need Austerity measures

  28. Thindwa says:

    In APM we trust and understand

  29. stephen says:

    light and darkness do not associate.

  30. chatonda says:

    Why is this man on the wrong side of everything these days. His comments are very strange and it clearly shows that he is up for something from the same DPP that arrested him countless numbers before. He wants to be considered for a bribe and yet he claims to be a born again. What a nosense.

  31. johntembo says:

    101% Mr Mwakasungula. You are really thinking and writing outside Northern Region. You are a true Malawian here. You will be next MP sure!!!

  32. Nosu says:

    There comes Undule now… seeing things they way they are. You are very right Undule. Some of these NGOs are just irrelevant. ..are you not coming back to CSOs ..We miss you
    .sInce you left nobody has filled the shoe. .It is too big to fill ..They justale noise and nothing. .but for you you are a man of action. .go go Undule we need leaders like you. God bless you Undule

  33. Kaka says:

    Sure that’s the way to go… no demarcation of the two. Undule keep on giving guidance to the nation. Bravo bravo UDK. We see proud of you. God bless you

  34. Koma says:


  35. Sapitwa says:

    Spot on! Kamuzu mostly sent his cabinet Ministers to represent him. Nothing suspicious this time with APM. If there is a rift between the two, signs will quickly show. The information will fly quickly like wild whirl wind for us to know.

  36. A mwakasungula what ru saying .why nit reducd the travek allowances for ministers.mos,ps etc that would be something..suspend fuel, fond allowances too.
    Give us fhigues how is savsd vo vs minister…and outout/inout of such mtgs whether by vo or nduna..

  37. advisory committee says:

    Nosense VIP azikana yekha akanakhala mtumbuka the article would have been different. Undile is becoming irrelevant by and by

  38. La 40 Lakwana says:

    He has seen that by serving God he will not survive but serving the government of the day he will be better off because he will be supported by even the failed government.

    People have no trust in the Mwakasungulas , they will end up badly like selves, these are selfish people and very bostfull as if they own Karonga. Even the time we were in Tanzania they never came close to many of us , they shared scholarships among themselves, kamutundu kodzikonda kameneka. Amaufuna Archboard Mwakasungula kuti adzakhale president wa Malawi, what a joke ? The can go to hell

    1. wa ku Simba says:

      You know what? Your comment is smack on.
      Even in North America, the northerners are well known for sticking together, and marginalizing people from the center and south. Cliquish. “Boycotting” events, en mass, organized by people from other regions.
      Even extending an olive branch seems not to work. I have no idea why they approach relations this way.

  39. Gertubut i says:

    How about 115 people to UNGA?

  40. Mary SC says:

    Komatu amanyuzi mukufuna kuwapweteka amuna anga already the president thinks my hubby paid the reporter, CCJP and Hussein to write the story.

  41. Mathanyula says:

    How does a delegation of 3 retarded ministers be cheaper?

  42. Khwesi says:

    Please leave my friend Saulosi out of it mumupwetekesa. He is enjoying good relations so far with the president ndanena ndanena.

  43. Musova says:

    Undule mukunena zoona akulu tiyeni titukule dziko apa mmalo molimbana ndi za. Ubale wa president ndi vice omwe uli bwinobwino.

  44. Mulhakho says:

    I agree with your reasoning undule. For the record VP is not sidelinined he has been on 11 foreign tripsmin past 18 months. All is well

  45. Thembulembe says:

    I have been asking myself where did the story on the front page of malawi news come from? It is in bad tatse a sheer example of bad journalism i see skeletons of propaganda all pver.

  46. musova says:

    Masiku ano anadya banzi awa asiyeni sangayankhule za nzeru,musova pompano God is watching.

  47. Chenji golo says:

    Thats being wise Undule. Keep it up.

Comments are closed.