Rights activists, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has faulted President Lazarus Chakwera for abusing taxpayers’ money by taking a bloated entourage of 66 people to South Africa, saying this is a recipe to economic downfall.
HRDC chairperson, Gift Trapence said there is no justification in the decision for the President to have such a huge number of people on his entourage.
“We are calling on the President to exercise financial prudence. Taking with him 66 people on a trip is just too much,” said Trapence.
Out of the 66 people in the entourage, eight were Cabinet ministers.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka defended the 66 strong presidential entourage that accompanied Chakwera to South Africa last week.
“Each one of them had a role to play in South Africa. They did not just go to South Africa for nothing,” said Mkaka who was in the entourage.
He said the Chakwera administration is not shaken and will continue concentrating on important issues that can develop the country and its citizenry.
Social commentator Emily Mkamanga wrote in one of her columns:”Experience in Malawi has shown that the only time the citizenry seems to matter to the leadership is during the election period. Even then, they are just used as stepping stones into power in exchange of mostly empty promises. Once safely in power, people who had made it possible are taken as trouble makers who must not be listened to. Sometimes the same people are told that they know nothing.”
Chakwera and Tonse Alliance members sharply criticised former president Peter Mutharika for his usual tendency of having a bloated presidential entourage in foreign trips United Nations General Assembly.