People have expressed mixed feelings with reports that govenrment is constructing a statue at Parliament building in honour of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Bingu, the ex-World Bank economist turned politician, died after a cardiac arrest on April 5 2012.
The Bingu sculpture was done by renowned South African sculptor Jean Doyle’s Artistic Works Holdings Limited, who designed founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s statue which stands at the Memorial Tower in Area 18, Lilongwe.
Nyasa Times understands the Mutharika monument will be like that of Kamuzu.
However, people have expressed mixed feelings on the decision to erect the statue in honour of what government terms “Bingu’s great contributions to the country’s political and socio-economic sectors”.
TimesTalk phone-in programme on Times Radio on Thursday, many people did not oppose to the statue as was the case with Mahatma Ghandi of India whose bust in Blantyre drew the public anger.
However, some people expressed reservations on the site for Bingu’s statue, with others saying it could have been near Kamuzu’s Masoleoum.
One contributor identified as Mr Mapanda said it was wrong to spend millions on Bingu statue, saying he ended being “more autocratic and intolerant of criticism.”
Mapanda said pro-democrcay hero late Chakufwa Chihana deserves nation’s honour with a statue.
Apart from Kamuzu Banda, government has on several occasions announced plans to construct a mausoleum for the late Chakukwa Chihana. But despite the many pronouncements on Chihana’s mausoleum, there has been nothing on the ground for years now.
Many others said Bingu, the “economist-in-chief” should be remembered for the positive things he did while ruling the country.
Sources within government estimate that the statue will cost taxpayers in excess of K120 million, including travel expenses for government officials and family members who have been supervising the work.
Others commenting expressed reservations that taxpayers should fork millions of kwacha to finance the statue of the departed president in the current prevailing economic conditions.
When Nation on Sunday newspaper first broke the news on the statue, opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) described the decision to erect the statue now as a sign of mixing priorities at the time government is struggling to finance its own budget.
Minister of Information and Communication Technology who is also government spokesperson Henry Mussa said all is in order for the statue at Parliament.
“It is justifiable to mount it [the statute] around Parliament precincts, as this is a symbol of honour to the late Bingu wa Mutharika for the unprecedented infrastructure development which the country gained because of his bold decision to shift Malawi’s diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing, China, in 2007,” Mussa said in quotes reported by Daily Times.
President Peter Mutharika, who is also Bingu’s brother, privately visited the site at the National Assembly last month.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :