Citizens petition Malawi MPs to drop K10m fuel demands: CSTU threatens strike

Malawi’s prominent human rights activist Billy Mayaya has drafted a petition which Malawians are signing online denouncing demands from members of Parliament (MPs) to get K10 million (about $27 777) each as fuel allowance arrears.

The National Assembly has 193 MPs, which means the total amount paid would add up to K1.9 billion (about $5.3 million).

But the petition demands the legislatures to drop their “preposterous” demand.

“Since the dawn of multiparty democracy in Malawi, Members of Parliament once elected have taken their constituents for granted. Enough is enough. We, the People of Malawi demand that the prop estrous request by Parliamentarians be withdrawn as it will continue to place the burden on poor Malawian taxpayers,” reads the petition.

Mayaya: Petition to MPs to withdraw demands for MK10 million in fuel allowance arrears
Mayaya: Petition to MPs to withdraw demands for MK10 million in fuel allowance arrears

One of the signatories to the petitition, activist Faustace Chirwa wrote: “For heaven’s sake our Parliamentarians should be realistic in their demands in view of the economic challenges the country is facing. They should be in the fore front feeling sorry for civil servants who are earning pathetic and low salaries in this country. Their constituents continue leaving in dire poverty while they collect hefty allowances and salaries! Serve the people first!”

Another signatory Dawn Gowa Nyasulu wrote: “The demand is ill-timed and not in good faith!”

In his post, John Chirwa of Lilongwe said Malawi needs “medicine in hospitals as priority.”

Meanwhile, president of Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU), Eliah Kamphinda Banda has threatened to resume the civil servants strike which they suspended last week if President Joyce Banda’s administrations bows down to members of parliament’s fuel allowance arrears demands.

“Parliamentarians have the right to claim their arrears but the economic situation now is not ideal for such claims,” Kamphinda Banda said on Zodiak Broadcasting Services (ZBS).

He warned that if Banda’s government dares to disburse the arrears, civil servants will resume the strike.

“The understanding would be government has the money, it cheated us,” said the Union leader.

But President Banda has put her foot down, saying her administration will not bow down to such demands because “the economy of Malawi is in a mess “.

Contributing in a live radio debate organized by ZBS last Friday, members from the general public took turns to dress down the legislators some going to the extent of calling their demands ‘total madness.’

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