A national youth grouping, Civil Society Youth Consortium (CSYC), has asked the Speaker of Parliament, his deputies and the Leader of Opposition to withdraw the new vehicles that were purchased at K300 million failing which they will hold nationwide demonstrations and petition the President to push for proper closure of the issue in line with their demands.
The issue has caused a public outcry as it comes at a time when government is trying its best to control luxurious expenditure so as to serve Malawians better and stay on track for the International Monetary Fund monitoring mechanism which defined the country’s economy as off-track towards the attainment of the Extended Credit Facility.
In a statement that was read out during a news conference in Blantyre on Thursday, CSYC officials queried the transaction citing the current economic situation in the country as not tallying with such an extravagant expenditure.
“We are disturbed by obscene immorality and imprudence displayed by the National Assembly in purchasing of the four vehicles at such an amount at a country is in dire economic situation.
“ We demand that the purchased fleet be withdrawn from the National Assembly immediately to be disposed off through a sale at market value or be put off the road in the interim as a way of sending a clear message that such extravagance cannot be tolerated in these tough economic times,” reads part of the statement by CSYC National chair John Thawe and Publicity Secretary Kenneth Mtago, made available to Nyasa Times.
It added: “We demand that the cars be withdrawn from National Assembly fleet immediately and be disposed off at market value or be put off the road in the interim so as to send a clear message to all Malawians, especially public officers, that extravagance using public money in these tough economic times cannot be tolerated”
The consortium, which has over 300 youth organizations under its jurisdiction, faulted the Speaker, Richard Msowoya and Leader of Opposition, Lazarus Chakwera, for failing to uphold what their Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has preaching.
Recently, the party has been attacking President Peter Mutharika on his entourage and his hiring of a private jet to the the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
“Comments by the Speaker questioning whether people want them to be to walking on foot are just as insulting as they are rude to a majority of Malawians living in abject poverty.”
“Work cannot come to a halt even if they did not have the new cars owing to the fact that all the four beneficiaries have several cars on duty and others that are personal. Furthermore, all the four officials have just benefited from K24 million loans that were approved by Parliament months ago,” reads the CSYC statement.
The youths also faulted the stand taken by MCP saying that the whole transaction was carried out last year as such it should not be questioned as a very recent deal.
“Their sentiments are even a more confusing disconnect of the reality on the ground because Malawians know very well that the economy has not been performing any better since Cashgate was exposed in 2013.
And on top of that, the President himself stopped any increment to his benefits last year because he knew how much the economy could not cope with such expenditure.
Chakwera and Msowoya ought to emulate this kind of consideration for public money” President Mutharika sometime last year stopped increment on his, his Vice and cabinet minister’s benefits and left them where he found them when he assumed office.
Currently, members of Parliament get more benefits than a deputy minister. Furthermore, the executive arm of government also stopped any purchase of new vehicles for cabinet ministers and judges among others as a way of saving public money.
The youth consortium highlighted that the money saved from this ‘unnecessary’ sale can be used to construct around 20 school blocks and waiting shelters at hospitals on top of serving all referral hospitals for the whole month.
Public discourse through the media has shown that Malawians are not in favour with the purchase of the “fuel guzzlers”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :