Malawi’s biggest donor, Britain will not be able to resume aid support until the government clamped “firmly down on corruption ” and the cashgate scandal which dates back to 2005 is independently and properly resolved, Department for International Development (DfID) spokesperson Baroness Northover in the House of Lords told peers in Westminster on Thursday .
Peers debated on what the British government can do to support economic and social development in Malawi, led by former First Minister of Scotland Lord McConnell.
Lord McConnell said Malawi has been a “good friend to the UK and to Scotland especially” ever since the days of Dr David Livingstone and his missions in Africa.
He called on the British government to continue to help Malawians “to help themselves”, in the “same spirit” as Dr Livingstone.
But Lord David Steel told House of Lords that Malawi – the former British colony – has been rocked by the plunder of public resources, known as Capital Hill Cashgate scandal – where about K20 million was looted during Joyce Banda’s rule from 2012 to 2014.
He said over USD500 million was stolen over the eight years of the presidency of the late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Lord Steel said the Malawian people have lived under kleptomaniacs who have made a mockery of democracy.
He told peers that the current President Professor Peter Mutharika has been lavish and took a delegation of 68 people to the United Nations and stayed at posh and expensive Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Baroness Lindsay Northover said the British government is not planning to reverse its decision to stop all payment of aid to the impoverished southern African nation, made in November 2013, due to fears over corruption.
“The UK is committed to ensuring that every pound of aid money achieves its intended purpose,” she said.
Malawi, the peers were told, must begin to foster a culture of integrity in public life.
Labour Spokesman Lord Collins joined the debate praising DfID impact on the country which he says has led to Malawi’s economy showing “some signs of improvement”.
“This progress has been achieved through DfID focussing on key priorities of alleviating poverty and inequality through education, health and agriculture and with an emphasis on the equal rights of girls and women,” he said.
Baroness Northover pointed out that Britain continues to provide support to Malawi through other channels and is keen to ensure that the poor do not suffer because of aid cut to government account.
It was learnt that the British government is providing GBP61million this year.
UK government, according to Baroness Northover, is committed to supporting Malawi to implement growth, and political and economic reforms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :