Malawi President Peter Mutharika has come under fire for chartering a plane to get a personal honarary degree when he is preaching austerity amid abject poverty, acute food shortages and a sinking economy – prompting analysts and opposition to observe that the DPP administration is failing to “rig the economy”.
Mutharika chartered a South African plane to go to Ethiopia where he got a doctorate degree of Letters.
Mustafa Hussein, lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College described the president action as regrettable.
“The country is going through turbulent economic times and for the problem to charter a plane to get a personal degree the university was honouring him for his past career goes against the same spirit of austerity which he always tell us,” said Hussein.
He said the country is going through deep probems including acute food shortages.
“Ethiopia is just four hours away therefore it was unnecessary for the president to charter a plane,” he said.
Mutharika has been conferred the doctorate degree of Letters from the University of Addis Ababa where he lectured for years before trekking to the US.
Information minister Patricia Kaliati said she did not know if the State House chartered a plane for the president but described the criticisms as “jealousy.”
She said some Malawians are funny that instead of being thankful that their head of state has been conferred an honarary degree they are busy fault finding.
Speaking on arrival from Ethiopia, President Mutharika said he was conferred the honarary degree because of his efforts to turn Malawi from a donor dependent to a trade dependent.
In addition, he said, the university was honouring him because of his efforts to improve on electricity outages and water woes.
However as he spoke, some parts of the Capiital City, Lilongwe had no water and electricity.