JB attacked over 100 day’s celebrations, govt says no use of public purse

President Joyce Banda has come under heavy criticism from the public and opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in cancelling the national Independence celebrations but held pomp parties in marking the first 100 days in office.

Some civil society groups, clergy and DPP questioned the rationale of holding such celebrations. They further probed the source of funds for all the celebrations that started in Lilongwe, Blantyre and then Ngabu, Chikhwawa.

President Banda ascended into power on April 7 2012 following the death of Prof Bingu wa Mutharika.

Rev Mtonga: No use of public money

The late Mutharika succumbed to cardiac arrest on April 5 at his New State House residence in the capital Lilongwe.

But  the 100 days celebrations’ organizing committee chairperson,  Rev. Malani Mtonga,  told has said there was no use of money from the public purse for all the celebrations.

‘Well-wishers funded’

Mtonga therefore revealed that the funds that were used to mark the 100 days celebrations came from anonymous well wishers across the country.

“The 100 days celebrations were funded by well wishers . Government funds were not  used to organize the events, it is on record, those that still doubt can do an independent investigation and they will prove us right,” Mtonga told Daybreak Malawi programme on Capital FM.

“We received lots of materials be it technical as well as monetary, it is suffice to mention that those that contributed have refused to have their names made public, but let me emphasize once again that no single government penny was touched,” added Mtonga.

The opposition DPP during the Thyolo rally told its jubilant supporters that each of the events cost over K18 million.

DPP’s secretary general Wakuda Kamanga said: “It’s a shame that the government has decided to deny Malawians chance to celebrate freedom day, yet they go on spending spree by organizing celebrations to mark the 100 days that are costing over K18 million per event it is sad indeed.

“As DPP we’re not saying the government has done nothing in 100 days. President Banda has done her best to normalize fuel situation and winning donor confidence back, we’re recognizing those noble efforts, but at the same time all these achievements are being eclipsed by school boy blunders.”

Audit assessment

Meanwhile, Mtonga further said the reason for coming up with the 100 day celebrations was to listen to Malawians through the various gatherings on how best the Banda regime should move forward.

“We are a listening government that is why we have been meeting different people in different gatherings like Ndirande, Comesa, College of Medicine and Ngabu so that we hear from various stakeholders on what they think we should do as we move forward.

“It was an opportunity to audit the president’s 100 days of office. We are satisfied with the constructive contributions we have received from various stakeholders. Yes, it is true in some areas we haven’t done well but to a larger extent this government is committed to serve its people,” concluded Mtonga.

Public reaction 

Reacting to the news, one seasoned journalist Frederick Ndala Jnr questioned sincerity of government’s assertions that no money from its public coffers was touched.

Ndala argues: “The 100-days celebration had no cost to government? Are you sure Madam President? Madam President do you mean to say no government official claimed allowances from government coffers? Fuels? Transport? Food? The venues? You mean all this was paid for by private individuals? Are you telling kindergarten children or what? Save me the crap!”

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