Mpinganjira blasts Malawi donors on aid freeze

Information Minister Brown Mpinganjira has accused Malawi donors of hurrying withholding their aid to the country over cashgate scandal without giving much thought of the consequences of their decision on the welfare of Malawians and fear such action would create on other African leaders.

Speaking during the launch of the CCAP Blantyre Synod radio on Thursday where he was the guest of honour, Mpinganjira said he is disturbed over the donor aid freeze which has come at a time when Malawi government is at the centre of its anti-corruption drive which the donors themselves champion.

“If anything Malawi deserved a pat on the back from the donors, because what the government is doing is fighting corruption which started with previous administration long time ago. And President Joyce Banda is supposed to be commended for being the only President who has come open implementing the anti-corruption drive,” said Mpinganjira.

Mpinganjira – who is also government spokesman – said the donor aid freeze is sending a bad precedence to future leaders and of course other African leaders as they will trump upon on any effort that would expose corrupt practices in their respective countries for fear of having donor aid frozen.

Mpinganjira making his speed at the synod radio launch
Mpinganjira has hit at donors for aid freeze saying its unfair punishment

He pleaded with donors to consider reversing their decision, arguing that it is now no secret that the Joyce Banda administration is doing everything within its means to root out corruption.

The government spokesman cited several interventions that have followed the cashgate scandal including the arrest of the suspects, the sealing of a loophole in the financial managed system, hiring of forensic auditors and the seizure of property suspected to have been obtained through fraud.

Other commentators have also described the donor aid freeze as unjustifiable, saying the money which was stolen from Capitol Hill is not part of donor funds.

“We wonder why the donors acted in such way because personally I don’t think the money stolen from Capital Hill is from the donors. It’s tax payer’s money Malawi Revenues Authority collects which forms 60 percent of our national budget. This means that the 40 percent of donor’s contribution remained untouched where ever it is kept. After all many donors were yet to contribution to 2013-14 national budget,” observed a local economist.

While condemning the act of stealing from government coffers, the economist says it was unwise for the donors to rush into the withholding of money while “their own championed investigation into the scandal is not concluded”.

“The problem with donors is that they enjoy playing around with poor people’s lives. They are selfish, full stop.”

Finance Minister Maxwell Mkwezalamba has recently warned that Malawians will experience tough times for the next six months as results of donor aid freeze.

Two weeks ago, Malawi’s major donors under the Common Approach to Budgetary Support (Cabs) announced the withholding of $150 million (about K60 billion) earlier earmarked for the October and December quarter of the 2013/14 financial year due to financial mismanagement at Capital Hill.

The donors  – contribute about 40 percent of Malawi’s national budget- expressed disappointment at revelations of the plunder of government resources and have since delayed budgetary and sector support until corrective measures are taken.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Malawi is in a crisis following donors withholding aid.

IMF Mission Chief Tsidi Tsikata told reporters that his organisation strongly condemns looting of public resources at Capital Hill, saying “the situation has triggered anger among Malawians as well as uncertainty to Malawi’s economic outlook.”

Veteran broadcaster Verson Idi on the middle inside the studios...Photo Jeromy Kadewere
Veteran broadcaster Verson Idi on the middle inside the studios…Photo Jeromy Kadewere
Amai Amvano witnessing the launch
Amai Amvano witnessing the launch
Happy faces celebrating the opening of the radio station....Photo Jeromy Kadewere
Happy faces celebrating the opening of the radio station….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

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