The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on Thursday demanded the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) led government to explain the use of 115 delegates who have been taken to to the UN General Assembly in New York.
President Peter Mutharika has taken a delegation of over 100 people that included cabinet ministers, security aides and support staff to attend the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday in the capital Lilongwe, MCP Publicity Secretary Dr Jessie Kabwira demanded the list of the people who have accompanied Mutharika to the UN on tax payer’s money.
“What we have heard is that the organisations have sponsored them, we demand to know which organisations have sponsored them and list of people who have gone to the UN.
“We are told there that there are ten chiefs, if indeed this is true why taking that big number of chiefs,” said Kabwira.
Meanwhile Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) have released a joint statement accusing Mutharika administration for the bloated delegation to the UN.
The two organisations said they “unreservedly condemn the continued display of hypocritical leadership” by President Mutharika on matters of national importance, saying the Head of State is being on one hand and extravagant on the other.
“Malawians may wish to know that few days ago, President Prof. Peter Mutharika held a press conference where he sent a SOS to well-wishers to offer assistance towards the looming food shortage set to hit over two million Malawians. It was a timely appeal, we thought. Given the stress some Malawians are going through—due to dry spells and floods that hit the country early this year—-the call by the President made sense,” read the statement in part.
The statement signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively said: “What’s puzzling is that no sooner had the President made such a touching appeal than he took with him an entourage of over 100 Malawians—most of whom are mere ruling party hand-clappers—to the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in the USA. We, at CHRR and Cedep find the action by the President a serious insult to the suffering Malawians.”
“The action also undermines the President’s SOS on hunger. For umpteenth time, Mutharika has been preaching austerity as part of his development agenda, and even called upon everyone, especially those in the government to live his directive.
“Through his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, the President even came up with Public Reforms Program to, among others, champion efficiency in public sector. At some point in time, we at CHRR and Cedep gave the President the benefit of doubt on austerity when he could delegate a Minister to afunction that needed his personal presence. For instance during the recent SADC Summit in Botswana, the President did the right thing by delegating the Foreign Affairs Minister in the name of saving resources.”
But presidential spokesman Gerald Viola said the President has taken a lean delegation on public purse including Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati, Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha, Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume, Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa, Ministry of Health Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Mwansambo and Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare PS Mary Shawa.
He also said three advisers Francis Mphepo (politics), Collins Magalasi (economics) and Colette Thornicroft (international relations) are in the delegation.
Chaponda also said some embassies sponsored some of the delegates to the UN. While Britain on Tuesday said it is up to Lilongwe to explain its entourage, Germany said it has not sponsored a delegate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :