Commentators have expressed mixed reactions towards President Peter Mutharika’s hosting of university students at Sanjika Palace over the weekend where he feasted with them and splashes out K24 million cash handout.
At least 1200 students enjoyed the windfall and got K20 000 each.
Economist Henry Kachaje said he could not make sense of the “nonsense” of President Mutharika’s gesture.
“ A university professor from the famed Yale University decides to host Malawian university decides to host Malawian university students from various institutions and gets them drunk at the at the State House? Did he check the ages of the students before giving them his cheap beer?
“Most students get selected at ages 15/16 these .There is a high probability half of them were below the age of 18And you still think this is okay?” Kachaje, who is immediate past president of the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) posted on Facebook.
But one the students who attended the Sanjika feast and spoke to Nyasa Times said there was nothing long to network with the President.
“Even in United Kingdom the Conservative Future movement of university students gets time to be invited to 10 Downing Street for a meeting with a Prime Minister and have few wines,” he pointed out.
The students endorsed Mutharika as the DPP torchbearer in next year polls.
Chimwemwe Chipungu, the DPP university coordinator said all the money came from the DPP.
“We never used a single penny from the state coffers. All the money came from the party,” said Chipungu.
Chipungu said the president would be meeting the party youth cadets today in Blantyre.
The President’s gesture is widely seen as an offensive to counter national elections campaign, code-named Youth Decide 2019, following what former first lady Callista Mutharika said recently that Mutharika, 79, would be too old to carry on as he would be 84 at the time of leaving office in 2024 if re-elected next year.
The former first lady argued that it is normal that thinking capacity levels deteriorate as one gets older, and, therefore, favours Vice President Saulos Chilima, 45, to represent DPP in 2019.
But Finance and Economic Planning Minister Goodall Gondwe said running the President’s office and government affairs is serious business that requires the old who have experience and not “babies” who are novices on State matters.
Mustaffa Hussein, a political scientist from Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, said Mutharika is trying to win sympathy from the youth while George Phiri, a political scientist from the University of Livingstonia (Unilia), said the youth as they are just being used by politicians.
He said he expected the college students to appreciate the process of endorsing a party presidential candidate.
A newspaper editorial said DPP tug-of-war on who to lead the party in the 2019 Tripartite Elections can only be fairly sorted out by free and fair elections at a democratically arranged convention.
Mutharika has personally declared that he will seek a second and final mandatory term next year, saying he is not going to lead DPP in the elections, the party will be heading to opposition.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :