Malawi ruling PP adamant: JB won’t stop cash hand-outs at rallies

Malawi President Joyce Banda will not discontinue the present cash hand-outs to supporters who attend her political rallies, the ruling People’s Party (PP) has said.

On Tuesday civil society organisations asked the president Joyce Banda to stop making cash hand-outs as doing so would ignite suspicions that she is benefitting from the unpopular cash-gate scandal.

“The President must exercise maximum restraint in hand-outs lest Malawians continue to question the sources of these hand-outs amidst massive looting in government,” spokesperson of the Civil Society Grand Coalition Benedict Kondowe said,

But speaking on Zodiak Broadcasting Station on Wednesday, PP’s Deputy Publicity secretary Ken Msonda quashed the criticisms saying President Banda has a human heart and that she will continue helping the poor.

Msonda:  Cash hand-outs  to continue
Msonda: Cash hand-outs to continue

“President Joyce Banda has a human heart. She started helping the poor long time ago and it’s her inborn character,” said Msonda.

“I t is a known fact that helping others is a gift from God. President Joyce Banda has a track record that she is so kind, she has been helping people even before she started politics,” said PP deputy spokesman.

Msonda said Banda’s cash and food hand-outs should not be linked to cash-gate scandal, saying “we have mechanism as the party to raise resources. As you are aware recently we had Orange Blossom where PP well-wishers contributed a lot of money to the party.”

He added: “We can therefore assure you that PP will continue with hand-outs as assisting the poor is the PP’s priority.”

United Democratic Front (UDF) president and 2014 presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi, a proponent of new regulation on political financing, was quoted by Daily Times on Tuesday that there was a need for general debate on the matter.

“We need to think carefully on how we can process this issue. We should have a broad discussion about political financing and how parties should use such resources. However, if the president can of course show transparency and accountability, it will be an act of leadership,” said Atupele whose father, former president Bakili Muluzi was known for cash-hand-outs.

Government spokesperson and Information and Civic Education Minister Brown Mpinganjira shared Muluzi’s sentiments on a broader discussion on hand-outs.

“We indeed need a broader discussion on hand-outs because there are people who strongly believe they are wrong and there are some who believe they are acceptable,” said Mpinganjira.

Mpinganjira however said it is unfair to link the hand-outs by the presidency to Cashgate.

“Hand-outs started a long time ago, all her predecessors gave out hand-outs perhaps with the exception of Kamuzu and to link hand-outs to cash-gate is stretching the issue a bit far,” he noted.

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