Bishop Mtumbuka says Malawi’s problem not budget figures, but institutionalized corruption

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) Board Chairperson, Bishop Dr. Martin Mtumbuka, says Malawi’s major problem with the national budgets is not the figures or amounts the government allocates to various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), but institutionalized corruption.

Mtumbuka observed that more than half of the money allocated to MDAs is being stolen by some greedy aliens with the help of “some powerful, but corrupt politicians and civil servants.”

Bishop Mtumbuka–We’re not even assured that the proposed 2022-2023 budget will not be plundered by the same people–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

He made these sentiments in Lilongwe on Monday evening during the dissemination of the MEJN budget analysis meeting with the members of Parliament (MPs).

IM Swedish Development Partner financially supported the convening of the meeting to provide lawmakers and leaders of the civil society organizations to scrutinize the proposed 2022-2023 National Budget, which the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Sosten Alfred Gwengwe, presented in the National Assembly on February 20, 2022.

Bishop Mtumbuka, who is also the Head of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga, lamented that there is “no proof beyond reasonable doubt” that the proposed budget will not be plundered in the same manner by the same greedy aliens and corrupt politicians and civil servants.

Ganda–We commend MEJN for convening this meeting, which provides us with a platform to appreciate the loopholes in the proposed budget–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

“Even worse, we have learnt that those who plunder public resources when challenged to account for their evil deeds, don’t run away or hid themselves or apologize. Instead, they gang up and fight like devils to defend and protect each other,” he said.

The cleric warned, “if this devilish behaviour is allowed to triumph over the rule of law in Malawi, God forbid, Malawi will soon join the ranks of Colombia and DRC, which are among countries with lowest rule of law in the world.”

Mtumbuka challenged the lawmakers to take their role seriously by critically analyzing the allocations before approving the budget.

CSO leaders listening to the speech by Bishop Mtumbuka–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

He said Malawians are tired of the behaviour by the parliamentarians to merely rubber-stamp what the government has presented in its budget.

“You need to critically analyze and scrutinize the programmes and figures therein and ascertain if the presented budget will reflect the interests of ordinary Malawians whom you represent in the august House,” he emphasized.

Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Budget and Finance, Gladys Ganda, commended MEJN for convening the meeting, stressing that it provided lawmakers with an opportunity to appreciate the loopholes in the proposed 2022-2023 through the study the network conducted.

Ganda emphasized the need for the civil society and MPs to work together in advancing and championing the interests of ordinary Malawians through the passing of pro-poor budgets.

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