Malawi government has lashed out at critics who have accused President Peter Mutharika of hiring a league of advisors, saying the “impression” that they will defeat the austerity spirit is “erroneous and an irresponsible mockery of the truth.”
Many commentators have faulted Mutharika for appointing the bloated team of advisors deemed as continued trend of patrimonial leadership and politics of appeasement where groups of people feed off the State through a president who plays the role of a patron.
But government through Minister of Information, Civic Education and Tourism, Kondwani Nankhumwa said critics were not in sync with the “correct information” on the presidential advisors perks “before seizing their right of expressing themselves.”
Nankhumwa, who is also government spokesman, said had critics accessed the “correct information they would have easily understood that falsehood can never get any worse to suggest that the Cabinet savings have been swallowed up by the Presidential Advisors’ pay.”
Governmet spokesman released information perks of Ministers and those of advisors to “ prove the absurdity of the claims” by critics.
Nankhumwa pointed out that “the savings from a reduced Cabinet have not, cannot and will not be taken up by the perks of Presidential Advisors and Assistants.”
According to government spokesman, perks of a cabinet minister includes:
- A taxable basic salary of K7.2 million per annum, which translates to K600, 000. 00 per month
- A hospitality allowance of K20, 000. 00 per month
- Utility allowance of K80, 000. 00 per month
- 1000 litres of fuel per month
- Free security
- Free accommodation
- One official vehicle
And presidential advisors:
In Grade D/P2 at a salary of K402, 441. 00 per month
- Mr. Francis Mphepo Chief Political Advisor
- Mr. Bright Malopa Chief Advisor on Communication and Strategy
- Dr. Collins Magalasi Chief Economic Advisor
In Grade E/P3 at a salary of K352, 910. 00 per month
- Mr. Symon Vuwa Kaunda Special Advisor National Unity and Parliamentary Affairs
- Mr. Nick Masebo is Special Advisor on Youth
- Mr. Wiktor Songazaudzu Sajeni is Special Advisor on Capacity Building
In Grade E/P4 on a salary of K308, 505.00 per month
- Mrs. Annie Makuta is Special Advisor on Women
Nankhumwa however did not disclose salaries and grades of what he decribed as “special assistants” to the President who are Ben Phiri and Mavuto Bamusi.
“Since this is a clean wage, the salaries to the Presidential Advisors and Special Assistants are inclusive of water, electricity, housing, security, cellphone and telephone allowances.
“However those in Grade D/P2 are entitled to a vehicle for self-driving where vehicles are available. At the moment they are yet to be allocated those vehicles.”
Dr Henry Chingaipe, a governance and development specialist, is on record saying the appointment of advisors has given an “impression that the government is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they create an impression that they want to do serious reforms and create an efficient and effective bureaucratic State while on the other, the political calculus is that they have to appease or reward supporters and sympathisers by creating opportunities for them to feed off the State.”
Chancellor College associate professor of law Edge Kanyongolo has since proposed that Malawi should develop a legal provisions to guide the process of appointing presidential advisors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :