MCP MP Kapiseni ‘caught’ politicizing NEEF loans, forcing officers to favour party cadres

The ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Salima Central, Gerald Kapiseni is acting in sharp contrast to President Lazarus Chakwera’s that all qualified and deserved Malawians will be able to access loans from the National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) without regard to political party affiliation.

During the opening of the 2021/22 of the Budget Session of Parliament last May, President Chakwera said the fight against corruption is integral to the creation of wealth, jobs, and food security and if a tax funded loan programme like NEEF is corrupted by greed and partisanship, then its intended purpose of stimulating economic activity, inspiring agribusiness, and lifting young entrepreneurs out of poverty is defeated.

MP for Salima Central Gerald Kapiseni Phiri

But in one of leaked phone conversations that Nyasa Times has listened to, Kapiseni is heard speaking to a NEEF ‘manager’ for Nkhotakota in an authoritative and threatening tone, accusing NEEF in Nkhotakota of side-lining MCP youths in the disbursement of ‘individual’ loans.

The MP introduces himself as “Gerald, MP Salima Central and a senior member of the MCP Lakeshore region, which comprises Nkhotakota and Salima districts”.

Kapiseni informs the NEEF ‘manager’ that he was approached by MCP youths from some parts of the district who complained that despite meeting all the conditions, they are not being considered hence contacting him.

“I have learnt that there is now a new ‘manager’ in Nkhotakota, and I took the liberty to call you and inquire why this is the case,” said the MP, who recently told President Chakwera at a rally in Salima to ‘root out’ all DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] ‘cadets’ who are employed in public service.

MP Kapiseni informs the NEEF manager that there is a list of names of MCP youths that was submitted to the NEEF district office for consideration and that these individuals must be assisted at any cost.

The seemingly apologetic manager informs the parliamentarian that the disbursement process had just began and that most individuals in Nkhota Kota had received their loans, adding that may be the time the MCP youths had complained to him, the transactions had yet to be completed.

But Kapiseni retorts: “As I am calling you, not even five minutes have elapsed since they complained to me,” mentioning names such as Aubrey Mazizi and Martin Mponda as some of the individuals that are being side-lined.

The MP continues to accuse NEEF of favouring MCP youths from Nkhotakota North-east of the newly-elected MP, Overtone Kondowe and that “we, the old MPs are no longer respected”.

The Nkhotakota NEEF manager, who identifies himself as a Mr Nyanda, informs the MP that he would look into the matter and ensure that all the concerned MCP youths are given the individual loans.

The MP also talks to Salima NEEF manager, a Mr Dzinyemba whom he asks about the status of applications for individual loans for a number of MCP youths. The manager informs the MP he only has less than 10 applications for individual loans from MCP youth members and that he is not aware of the list the MP claims was sent to his office.

Dzinyemba says that he only has a few names including that of Kanyenda, Dambo, Lunguzi, Stain Lunguzi, Moses Kalimba who are in the system pending consideration for individual loans.

The MP then says he would forward to the manager the list of all members that he wants should be considered for individual loans and also the “40 clubs” for group loans.

MP Kapiseni admitted in an interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday, November 25, 2021 to have indeed talked with the two managers.

“I represent all people and whoever approaches me as their MP should be given equal treatment regardless of their party. So if MCP youth are complaining of being side-lined they need to be treated as equally eligible to be given loans not for free but if they meet all requirements.

“For your information, these are youth who voted for MCP and Tonse Alliance whose manifesto clearly stipulated that if they vote for Chakwera they will be given NEEF loans and it should not be politics today because they voted with the hope to access NEEF loans. In summary, NEEF loans were being mentioned in political rallies,” said the free-talking parliamentarian.

During the official opening of the Businesswomen Summit organized by the National Association of Business Women and Feminist Microeconomics Alliance in Lilongwe recently, President Chakwera condemned some members of the Tonse Alliance for conspiring to use NEEF loans to reward party loyalists.

“I have noted with grave concern that within our parties of the Tonse Alliance, there are people conspiring to politicize the loans programme by using its funding scheme as a way of rewarding party followers. But this is unsustainable and toxic because the prosperity I want to see NEEF facilitates is national, not partisan,” he said.

Kondwani Nankhumwa, Malawi’s opposition leader in Parliament, recently told the House that not many people are able to access NEEF loans and that only those that support the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) are able to get the loans.

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