Chancellor College political scientist Boniface Dulani has said what South Africa-based Malawian businessperson Ashanti Simbi Phiri is doing to be financially supporting both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is not illegal.
Simbi, who runs a construction and engineering firm Khato Holdings Limited, confirmed to Malawi media that he currently has been funding the DPP and MCP.
“MCP knew me first and they came to me and I knew DPP later and I would do that for anybody for that matter because this is the spirit that I have introduced in this life,” said Simbi to a group of Malawian journalists who are in Johannesburg, South Africa, on tour of some of Khato’s projects.
He said despite having a South African citizenship , Malawi is his home and “I love it that way.”
The bankrolling of DPP and MCP has raised question in some quarters as they interpret it as a move of getting favours from those in power and then have no checks and balances from the main opposition.
Simbi’s Khato Civils came into the limelight in October last year when it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with government to carry out three major projects to provide water to Lilongwe City from Salima, construction of toll gates and an international bus terminal in Lilongwe.
The three projects are valued at $1 billion (about K750 billion).
But Dulani has argued that what Simbi is doing is “not illegal” at all.
“He is allowed under the current arrangement because we do not have a Political Parties Act that would oblige them to declare their sources of funding. The absence of such an Act raises questions on whether political parties are not being compromised. The case of Simbi is [just] one [of such cases]. At least he has come in the open to declare that he supported the DPP and MCP but there are a lot of individuals and companies that are equally funding political parties without declaring [it],” Dulani observed in comments made in the press.
DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila has however said Simbi is not channelling his financial support through the ruling party coffers.
While MCP Deputy Secretary Eisenhowe Mkaka acknowledged that Simbi has offered some support to the but indicataed that “his help had no conditions attached to it.”
In the recent past the businessperson has also made several donations worth millions of kwacha to his home district of Mchinji.
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