In the wake of the ‘zero-aid’ budget, Malawi tax payers are coughing millions in a day to President Peter Mutharika’s hangers-on delegation that include a shoe-shiner , chef and waitress from Malawi at the United Nations General Assembly in New York .
Mutharika, who is booked at Hitlond Midtown in New York, is travelled with a shoe-shiner Fabbiano Luciano Mitengo whose official title is called ‘Presidential Valet’.
However, in the same delegation, Mutharika has a specialised shoe shiner Paulosi Norman Chisale who has served him for years –but is travelling as State House Director of Security Services.
For a trip outside Africa, daily allowance for the President is $500 (about K285 000), a Cabinet minister gets $400 (about K228 000), principal secretaries (PSs) get $300 (about K171 000) and any officer below the position of director and below gets $280 (about K159 600).
Also in the delegation is Lady-in Waiting Elieha Chisala whose job is make up for the First Lady .
Also in the delegation is a chef Jimmie Dzimbiri and a waitress. Judith Mphepo.
Apart from these State House staff, there other political guests of Mutharika who have going for orgy shopping who include Chief Kabudula of Lilongwe, DPP politician and murder suspect in Robert Chasowa case, Noel Masangwi.
Chief spy, Director General National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) Nicholas Dausi and his secretary Mervis Chilakata.
As Malawi is facing economic turmoil, there has been public anger over p and frustration on government’s insensitivity of sending 121 people, perhaps the largest delegation to the UN.
Government denies sponsoring the alleged bloated delegation, claiming that it sponsored only 18 people for the trip, with the others having been sponsored by non-governmental stakeholders.
Human rights and consumer activist John Kapito has since urged Malawian leaders to add more value to the annual trips to the UN by marketing the country instead of appeasing praise-singers.
Kapito, speaking during an exclusive weekly straight-talk Chichewa programme called Tiuzeni Zoona on award-winning Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) on Sunday, said he wished he could stage a dramatic public protest whereby suitcases of the reported bloated Malawi delegation to the UN could be forced open, as the people fly back home, to prove that the shopping sprees were their trip’s main focus.
Describing the annual UN meeting as a club or a talk-shop for global leaders, Kapito suggested that Malawi could have saved money by sending only about a 10th of its delegation.
Founding president Kamuzu Banda was not going to UN every year. His successor Bakili Muluzi, the president who served longest in multi-party democracy for 10 years only appeared at the UN twice, the first year he was elected and the final year of his tenure.
Muluzi’s handpicked successor Bingu wa Mutharika was also going annually but at times delegated his foreign minister , his brother and the incumbent.
Information and Civic Education Minister Jappie Mhango has said government has given its “comprehensive explanation, over and over” and said those who want to stretch the issue further should do so but the DPP administration would want to “move on with the business of further developing this country.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :