President Peter Mutharika has refused to personally receive a petition from some defied civil society organisations (CSOs) planning the April 27 demonstrations over the controversial K4 billion allocation to legislators.
Mutharika said it is “withful thinking” from CSOs that he would get out of State House and personally receive their petition.
CSOs have unveiled plans to hold nationwide protests on April 27 2018 to express displeasure with government’s handling of the K4 billion allocation to members of Parliament (MPs) and other issues.
In a statement, the CSOs said their decision follows inconsistencies, illegality and a cloud of suspicion that characterised the K4 billion ‘miracle money’ pay-out that raises governance and accountability questions.
But President Mjutharika through his spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said he was not party to the demonstrations and would not be associated with them, therefore it is “wishful thinking” to expect him to receive the petition.
Said Kalilani: “ The President is not part of the planning group on how the so called demonstrations shall go about. If the planners say they shall hand over their petition to the President in person, only them [the planners; can explain what they mean by that.”
Presidential press secretary said in as far as the State House is concerned, President Mutharika is not party to the demo.
The CSOs have maintained that they will push Mutharika to get out of State House to receive the petition.
Through the demonstrations, which the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and others are supporting, the CSOs want to force cancellation of disbursement of the K4 billion fund, and push for the resignation or dismissal of Cabinet ministers Goodall Gondwe (Finance, Economic Planning and Development) and Kondwani Nankhumwa (Local Government and Rural Development) over their roles in the scam.
The demonstrations are set to be held under the theme ‘For How Long Shall Malawians Continue To Be Taken for Granted? Loss of Public Trust in the Current Administration: Time to Reclaim Our Destiny.’
The CSOs argue that the K4 billion allocation is illegal and not in the best interest of Malawians, hence the need to immediately cancel it.
The CSOs have also asked the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to investigate allegations that government bribed some MPs from the opposition parties to frustrate the Electoral Reforms Bills through rejection, abstaining or absenteeism during last November sitting of Parliament.
The K4 billion issue—that initially saw 86 legislators mostly affiliated to the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its working partners getting about K40 million each—came to the fore during the Mid-Year Budget Review Meeting in Parliament in February after Malawi News first reported about the matter.
But Nankhumwa clarified that both sides of the House decided to distribute the money equally, meaning that each of the 193 legislators would now receive K20.7 million.
However, the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) later made a U-turn, saying it does not want to be party to the fund.
Capital Hill has long argued that the money, described as Quick Grant Project, is meant for rural development, but the CSOs feel Gondwe’s conduct on the matter is beneath his resume and a betrayal of citizens’ trust as the country’s purse keeper.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :