Malawi opposition rejects move to sell presidential jet

Malawi opposition lawmaker has strongly persuaded  government not to offload the presidential jet which was bought by the late President Bingu wa Mutharika .

Mutharika, who died in April,  bought the French-made presidential jet  Dassault Falcon 900 EX  in 2009  for K3.4 billion (about $22.4 million) with projected maintenance and insurance costs at US$300, 000 per year.

President Joyce  Banda announced she was selling the jet along with 80 new Mercedes-Benz vehicles, to help improve the finances of the cash-strapped country.

Belekanyama: Presidential jet should not be offloaded

The international community viewed the move as an attempt to overturn bad decisions made by late Mutharika.

But in his contribution to the budget statement, Malawi Congress Party (MCP)  MP for  Lilongwe Msinja South, Lingston Belekanyama  said the opposition cried foul in the manner Mutharika bought the jet but said it should not be put on sale.

“If we say that we are going to sell the Presidential Jet, what are the benefits?  Is that a long or short
term plan? The truth of the whole matter as MCP has said was very simple, that the President Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda should be using this presidential jet,” Belekanyama told Parliament..

“All what we were talking about that time was that the way how it was bought, it was not appropriate one. We were only told that the money has been spent on this aircraft without going through this House which approves government big purchases like an aircraft,” he told the House.

Belekanyama stressed that the presidential jet “should not be sold; it should be used by our President.”

He said it is “expensive” to charter an aircraft for the Head of State and impoverished Malawi cannot afford

President Banda told parliament last month that she asked cabinet “to determine what to do with the presidential jet: whether to sell it or lease it out.”

“I can as well use private airlines. I am already used to hitch-hiking,” she told a news conference later.

Government will also sell off 60 limousines ferrying cabinet ministers and top government officials.

Presidential jet offloaded

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