Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, has said he has np intention to step down as Cabinet minister which some civil society organisations members have demanded over the controversial K4 billion impending disbursement to legislators but has invited the activists pushing for his ouster to a meeting on Wednesday.
According to a letter dated March 12 2018 seen by Nyasa Times, Gondwe has invited Executive Director of Youths and Society (YAS), Charles Kajoloweka, Timothy Mtambo of Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Gift Trapence of Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) to a meeting at 2pm Wednesday at the Ministry of Fnance headquarters in Lilongwe.
Reads Gondwe’s letter nin part: “I have noted with regret facts being mispresented on the matter ‘K4 billion Parliament saga’ now in the public domain. In order to share with you accurate information, I wish to invite you to an interface meeting.”
The invitation to talks have come at a time when CSOs have demanded the immediate resignation of Gondwe as government’ s purse-keeper and gave President Peter Mutharika seven days to fire Gondwe and his Ministry of Local Government and Riral Development counterpart Kondwani Nankhumwa for their role in the K4 billion unbudgeted funds.
The CSOs have questioned government’s logic in giving MPs the money when they are at the centre of abusing Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and threatened to take the matter to court and the streets with mass protests if the President failed to sack the two Cabinet minister
When asked if they have received the said letter and if they are ready to meet with the Minister, Kajoloweka said :”We are in receipt of said request. Our team will meet and advise on the Minister’s request . This is a serious matter of public interest that cannot be taken for granted.”
The President also said it is not seeking the fiscal chief’s resignation, which was also demanded by leader of opposition in Parliament.
Presidential spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said the CSOs needed to vent their anger on MPs who approved the said package.
He reminded the CSOs that the role of the Finance Minister in public funds appropriation is to present and where need be, explain appropriation proposals before Parliament.
“In the case of the constituency project funds allocations, the whole House, including the opposition side, approved it. How then should the Minister of Finance be blamed for a decision that our members of Parliament collectively made?
“I find the call for the Minister of Finance to resign or get fired on the basis of the project funds allocations completely ridiculous,” he said.
Capital Hill has argued that the money, termed quick grant project, is meant for rural development.
At first, the money was reportedly earmarked for only 86 constituencies belonging to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators and those who supported the quashing of the Electoral Reforms Bills in Parliament last December. Each constituency was earmarked to receive K40 million.
But after Malawi News exposed the issue and debate ensued, Nankhumwa, as Leader of the House, said the money would be distributed equally among the 193 constituencies, with each constituency receiving K20 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :