Malawi purchases expensive presidential vehicle

President Peter Mutharika has followed in the footsteps of his brother and former late President Bingu wa Mutharika, who had unquenchable lust for class, where at one point he bought himself, using government resources, a top of the range Germany made super-luxury sedan, the Maybach 62 worth US$500,000.

Highly impeccable sources at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe reveal that Mutharika, through his aide,  has ordered from Germany a top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz Sedan, S-Class V-8 worth about US$100,000 (about MK45,000,000).

The AMG  7 speed car  has a stop speed of 155 miles her hours with fuel consumption of   40kms to a gallon of 5 litres.

During the late Mutharika’s time, Malawians, including civil society and faiths leaders were in uproar over the purchase of the Maybach 62 in 2005 when over a million people faced hunger. The Maybach 62 later ‘miraculously’ disappeared.

Merc for Mutharika: Malawi government  sending the wrong signal to donors who will look at the nation and think we do not need the money because we can afford to buy luxury vehicles for the president.

Merc for Mutharika: Malawi government sending the wrong signal to donors who will look at the nation and think we do not need the money because we can afford to buy luxury vehicles for the president.

The sources reveal that while in the late Mutharika’s case, the Maybach 62 was to be on government fleet, the Mercedes Benz S-Class will be a personal car.

A Road Traffic Directorate official confirmed that Mutharika’s special aide Ben Phiri had indeed registered the vehicle with them.

“Yes, it’s true; he came last week to process the registration of the vehicle. That’s all I can confirm,” he said, preferring anonymity.

The Malawi Government is currently grappling to maintain a stable and functional economy, particularly in the light of donors showing no interest to support the national budget. Traditionally, Malawi’s cooperating including the governments of Germany, Britain, Norway and United States of America provided up to 40 percent of the budget.

A Blantyre-based economist said “it is a shame” if indeed, the said vehicle has been acquired against the prevailing economic challenges.

“If it is true, then I think as a nation or government, we have our priorities upside down. I think we require a quick inquiry into how such an expensive vehicle would be bought using government funds.

“MRA (Malawi Revenue Authority) is also struggling to collect enough money through taxes, missing the MK5 billion target last month and managing to collect only MK2 billion. We cannot be messing about with such meager resources,” he said, preferring anonymity as well.

Malawi parliamentarians start meeting from September 1, 2014 to discuss the 2014/15 national budget that is pegged at about MK800 billion.

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