Malawi limousine appetites in a bicycle economy

Recently, Parliament has come under fire for what has been dubbed ‘extravagance’. The media is awash with the ‘revelations’ of how Parliament has gone on a shopping spree for top of the range luxurious vehicles to the extent of blowing a whooping MK300 million on just four people. Watching the news and special programs specifically produced by the state controlled MBC TV, you get the impression that someone is having a good time settling scores with the top cats at Parliament other than apprehending the suspected culprits.

Malawi netball players get out of the limo

Malawi netball players get out of the limo

In other news, the man in charge of the public purse, Goodall Gondwe has put it bluntly: “Forget about donors”. He is quoted to have advised government controlling officers and chief directors to be prudent in their management of funds because donors will not provide any funds. “Do not think that if you do certain things or you fulfil certain obligations, then donors will come back. Take it from me, they are not coming back”. Interesting – if we were trying to do the right things just for the sake of winning back donors, and not necessarily for the love of our country, then we are a sick and pathetic nation.

Nevertheless, this is the kind of truth that will set us free as a nation – we are not entitled to freebies and donors don’t owe us a living. Herewith some unsolicited advice to the learned and experienced Finance Minister: Abandon the old budget template and craft a totally new one that takes into account the hard economic realities. We have come of age as a nation and we must learn to wipe our own backside. Please Sir, do away with the current extravagant budget template and formulate a completely radical one in line with the size of our economy.

Based on the explanations from Parliament on the purchase of the vehicles, probably no law was broken. Every “controlling officer” who needed to approve the purchase of the luxurious vehicles, duly approved and treasury funded the extravagance. After all, it has been the tradition that office bearers at that level are entitled to such luxury. Parliament was permitted to be extravagant because that is what was put in the national budget – extravagance. This is where we need some radical reforms. We need a budget that reflects the size of our economy and not one based on our appetite for luxurious living.

With the skewed media reporting, one would think every other government department except Parliament, is clean. But wait a minute. Count the number of luxurious cars on the convoy of the Head of State.

Look at the expensive celebrity Hummers that surround MG2. Think of the two or three official vehicles per cabinet minister. Go to any parastatal and see the luxurious vehicles parked for the Chief Executives, Financial Controllers, Heads of Departments, and you will not believe this is the same country that is going around the world with a begging bow, seeking food handouts.

The extravagant culture has not spared individuals and families. Take a drive around Areas 47, 9, 10, 12, 43 and be shocked to see 4, 5 even 6 bedroomed mansions, housing families of four. Many of them have up to 5 toilets to serve 4 family members. I have always wondered; what is the probability that each family member would need to use the toilet at the same time? But hey, we need to show off to our neighbours – it is our way of life. As the saying goes, monkey see, monkey do. We are simply walking in the footsteps of our leaders.

Malawi is a bicycle economy but sadly, whose leaders and their elite friends have huge limousine appetites. We ride in a convoy of VXs, Prados, Mecs just to go and officially open a borehole, some donated school block or some 13km road.

For our ailing economy, a Toyota Fortuner would do for most senior public servants, although I would recommend a second hand Nissan X-Trail. I drive a Nissan Note, not my preferred choice, but the size of my ‘personal economy’ tells me that is what I can afford to drive at the moment. Most hard working tax-payers drive second hand vehicles, why should those using the meagre taxes collected blow them on luxurious brand new VXs?

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Jj
Guest

Commenter, no a Nissan Note wouldn’t do! Dadaaaaaaaa, but wouldn’t a 25 seater minibus do the job? So what if it was sponsored?

monte
Guest

take agood example of mr Jose mujika using a vw bito car instead of the so called vx shame to our leaders who always want to go to state house to erich themselves.

zencoh
Guest

Am inspired by Charles Sankara areal son of Africa. If we can get leaders like him Malawi can change. These people they forget that they are servants so they dont need that luxury. As long as they have ahouse for free it better

busy signal
Guest

Amalawi always fwe fwe fwe the problem here is that we dont talk one voice, we are all devided in the sense that some guys do not see any problem with this type of extravagance. These are the by products of nepotism, tribalism, regionalism. Had we voters been walking the talk together, i can assure you we can put to a stop all this nosense and get rid of all these old timers through a revolt. Malawi doesnot need donors, plenty of worth here and late bingu was very right and even was tempted to start stealing it.

manze
Guest

Great article, please keep more of these articles publishing.
Maybe people will wake up and defend what’s right.
I am dissapointed with MR CHAKWERA for accepting this bribe. I thought he was a humble man.

I too live in USA but I am always opposed to living beyond your means, in any society.

Rocky
Guest

ll also help you identify when you may have to make some pit stops to adjust accordingly.
Issues of minimum wage and redundancy payment remain non-debatable, and the management should calculate Bella’s
dismissal payment before she leaves the company. If you have a business then it’s crucial
to apply new methods and approaches in order to improve your business.

wilfred
Guest

Nyama idzidyedwa pa maliro, ndiye asiyeni asungwana audolome ngakhale malawi ikulira

Wangie
Guest

Amazing article. Keep up the good work.

Bikiloni Nachipanti
Guest

Second hand cars yes, but we styill get reaped off through extravagant taxes… These same Goodalls impose punitive tax measures because of pride. They do not want to drive same cars as those who are able to get them through their hardwork. Lets get these people off the hook

Jimbo
Guest

This article really puts things into perspective and is to be applauded. There is an expression in Texas, USA – ‘Big hat but no cattle’. Put into the context of this article we could say, ‘Big car but small man’. You can easily recognise a Malawian politician – fancy suit, shiny shoes, sunglasses, big car, the stereotypical African big man. They become politicians for the power, respect and kudos the position brings with it. They are total hypocrites and undeserving of their office.

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