Leader of the ruling People’s Party (PP) Joyce Banda, who is also the Head of State, has said revelations that her predecessor the late president Bingu wa Mutharika had amassed the staggering K61 billion (about $152m) within his eight-year tenure of office is a testimony to what she has been saying that PP found the government coffers empty when she inherited the presidency in April 2012.
Speaking during a rally at Kaluluma Community Day Secondary School in the central district of Kasungu on Monday, President Banda said had it not been Mutharika’s self-enrichment, the money that could have been used in purchasing drugs and fuel which were in critical shortage during DPP’s rule.
“The advantage is that the money is somewhere else, which we can use for building hospitals and other government infrastructure,” said Banda.
The Banda government has since frozen all but one bank account of the former president in the case where it is demanding K5 billion in unpaid estate duty from Mutharika’s deceased estate.
President Banda however said despite finding empty coffers, her government has done a lot within a year, citing what she called availability of fuel, forex, improved tobacco prices and reduced maternal deaths.
The Malawi leader disclosed that her government will on 25 July hold a review meeting with chiefs on the progress of safe motherhood initiative which she said at the moment has constructed 13 waiting shelters for mothers.
Attacks DPP on nepotism
President Banda also went to town with the former ruling and now opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accusing it of practicing nepotism on public appointments, saying it favored those from southern region rather than those from the northern and central regions.
She said the trend was about to creep into her administration had it been that she wasn’t clever and wise enough to rebuff and ignore government officers who were making nepotistic remarks against those she appointed.
“When I appointed Inspector General of Police [Loti Dzonzi] some people came and told me ‘he is from Ntchisi’, I said ‘what’s the problem?’ and when I appointed the Chief Justice [Anastanzia Msosa] they came to me saying ‘madam she is from Thyolo’,
“When I appointed the Reserve Bank Governor [Charles Tchuka] they said he is Mulhakho from Mulanje on Deputy Reserve Bank Governor [ Meg Kajayanike] they said she is Mtumbuka from the northern region’ I told them off because my government appoints people on merit, ” she said.
President Banda also demonized the DPP for abusing the chiefs and using them as political puppets citing the beating up of chief Mponda of Balaka who was stripped naked at a funeral.
On agriculture president Banda expressed concern over inefficiency of coupons in the farm input subsidy program saying it is against this background that her government is intending to pilot the project in which farmers will be given farm subsidies at club level.
President Banda was on her to the Northern Region where she has lined up a number of activities.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :