Main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has accused Ministers of Finance and Local Government of the act of criminalizing the government unbudgeted controversial K4 billion allocated to parliamentary constituencies, saying the opposition has saved the State from being criminalised by regularising the funding with MCP president Lazarus Chakwera demanding that the two ministers should resigns with immediate effect .
Chakwera, who is also Leader of Opposition, said in his closing remarks to the sitting of Mid-tern Budget Review of Parliament on Friday.
“Before this House rises, I would be remiss if I did not go on record to lament the great injustice that government has done the Malawian people during this sitting. I am greatly disheartened by the fact that we in opposition have had to once again come to the government’s rescue from its own blunders,” said Chakwera.
He said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led administration through the Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe was “caught red-handed” in the act of flouting procedure and violating the law in its acquisition and distribution of K4 billion earmarked for the development of the whole nation.
“Five bad decisions by the Government deserve special attention: its decision to hide the source of the funding; its decision to make contradictory statements about the source of the funding; its decision to unilaterally decide that the development funds should be allocated to less than half of the country’s constituencies; its decision to allocate the funds in a clandestine fashion outside and with no accountability to this House; and its decision to hide the criteria it used to allocate the funds. All of this has left us Malawians justified in our suspicion that the allocation was a kickback to some Parliamentarians who are more concerned about keeping their seats than keeping their integrity,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said the opposition felt compelled to arrest the situation by stopping what amounts to an act of theft.
“Putting the interests of the nation above our own political ambitions, we did not feel that in would be in the nation’s interest for the Government to be reduced to a common criminal, for if the State is criminalized, our very Republic would collapse,” he said.
He said the Finance Minister would not have to put the legislators in such an impossible situation, “to choose between his act of criminalizing the Government illegally and our act of decriminalizing the Government legally.”
Said Chakwera: “But in the valley of decisions there are no wishes that turn into horses, and so in the interest of the nation, we have acted to make sure that there is no record in the history of this House that we allowed the illegal act of spending Malawians’ taxpayers’ money without Parliament’s approval.”
Chakwera said the parliamentarians later agreed the K4 billion should be spread to all 193 constituencies instead of just 86 “to make sure that the money is used as it is intended, not as a trophy to reward political exploitation, but a resource for the development of all Malawians, who will now benefit in every constituency through the construction of bridges, schools, and hospitals, to name a few.”
He said: “ This was a case of us stopping a man from stealing food from his employers’ kitchen to reward his friends, and then finding a legal means to return the food to its rightful owner, even if it means those seeing us carrying the food back to the owners may judge us wrongly by thinking that it is we who are the thieves.”
The MCP president said since measures have been taken to rectify the situation, the opposition demand further action “in order to recover what credibility this House has lost in the process.”
First, he said the opposition demand that the actions of the Finance Minister and the Minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa be fully investigated, not only by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, but also by the relevant committee of Parliament “to determine, with evidence, the nature and extent of their wrong doing, and whether they took these actions on their own or on orders from the President.”
Secondly, the opposition, according to Chakwera, demand that the two Ministers in question,” out of respect for the Office of the President and this House, should tender their resignations.”
Chakwera also took a dig at the DPP, saying since Malawians are suffering from poorly funded and resourced public services and program, the governing party should use its “newly discovered talent of finding money in mysterious places “ to find more money to complete the projects it guaranteed in the 20 promises it made in its Manifesto but has largely yet to fulfil.
He said failing to do so “Malawians feel that the opportunity to fire the lot of them in a matter of months cannot come soon enough.”
But presenting his ‘discontinuance’ speech in Chamber on Friday, leader of government business in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa did not comment about the resignation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :