Malawi Govt urged to stop Mardef, Yedef projects

Malawi government has been urged “to be decisive” in curtailing the Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef) and its sister project, Youth Development Fund (Yedef).

In a an editorial comment, Malawi’s flagship daily, The Nation said the  two projects  should go to save the country’s meager resources and ensure all those who mishandled the projects account for their acts.

The editorial call comes after the paper reported that Mardef has paid K61.2 million (about $153 000) for warehousing equipment wrongly procured for the Yedef.

According to the paper, the figure is bound to rise to K69.2 million by the end of April or K75.2 million (about $188 000) by end of July, when the new financial year begins, based on the K2 million (about $5 000) monthly, warehouse rental that Mardef pays for the tools.

Chihana (L) and Mseka: Wrong equipment
Chihana (L) and Mseka: Wrong equipment

The K61.2 million has accumulated over the three years Mardef has kept the equipment meant to have been distributed to youth clubs across the country under the late President Bingu wa Mutharika dream project for the youth.

Secretary for Sports and Youth Development Alex Mseka, told the paper that the problem was that Treasury procured wrong equipment, not what “we specified following our needs assessment.”

Malawi’s Youth Minister Enock Chihana corroborated by saying that the equipment, such as the briquette making machine, is “too huge for the kind of youth we targeted.”

In its editorial, The Nation said “Mardef planners got it all wrong when they settled for equipment, which they imported from as far as India, that was not suitable for Malawian beneficiaries.”

Tne authoritative paper says that Mardef and Yedef “were brilliant ideas which were badly implemented has been proved by the outcome of the programmes.”

It said the whole saga “is testimony that we have intelligent leaders who, unfortunately, are not wise enough to rise above the dictates of their political ambitions for the good of the country.”

Meanwhile, Ministry of Sports and Youth Development is pleading for an extra K3 billion (about $7.5m) bailout from Treasury for the Yadef project.

The  Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime reportedly  controlled the fund from party headquarters such that only its youth supporters benefited.

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