The whole President of the Republic of Malawi had to momentarily abandon other businesses on Wednesday to take the mic to refute allegations that he travelled with a larger-than-life entourage of 68 to New York.
The President said that he has travelled to US with only 20 State House employees and not manpower of 68 as other quarters are trying to make the world believe.
He also revealed that he is not that “crazy” to pay MK6.8 million a night for a single room, but said he is only crazy enough to pay MK800, 000a night for a single room. He clarified that his Presidential Suite normally costsUS$390, but he had to folk US$2,000 for the same room as prices usually rise this season every year due to high demand caused by the United Nations General Assembly.
The President patted himself on the back for travelling 10 days before his scheduled address to the Assembly because he still found the rooms (at MK800, 000a night) still cheaper than his friends who came after him.
Mutharika also said that part of the delegation (not the 20 from State House) has come from ministries and that others have been funded by the private sector.
He mentioned three journalists from Malawi News Agency; two from Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and one from The Nation newspaper.
For starters, it would have been better if the President had remained quiet and not bothered to respond to the allegations. In fact, the more he tried to clarify the issues, the more he entangled himself in his own web of lies.
The only thing, perhaps, the President succeeded in doing was to tell Malawians that among the 68 delegates that he has taken to New York, 20 are from State House. If he chose to respond in person to the allegations, maybe President Mutharika should also have come clearer to tell Malawians how many among his delegation are from ministries and how many are being funded by the private sector.
Whatever the case, all delegates on his entourage (whether from ministries, State House, or from the public and private media) are being funded from the taxpayers’ purse, and they are 68 of them.
According to a reliable source, the cheapest suite at Waldorf Astoria Hotel at Park Avenue, New York costs $10,000 a night. This is a world-classfive-star hotel where all US Presidents have stayed and stay when on official business in New York. This is also where the legendary film actor Eddie Murphy did his famous movie ‘Coming to America’.
The President simply lied when he said he is paying US$2,000 a night. Why he lied is anybody’s guess. Suppose we give the President the benefit of doubt, and that he is staying in US$2, 000 (MK800, 000) a night room. Does it make prudent economic sense then to travel to New York 10 days before his scheduled address when many leaders (with healthy and bouncing economies) were in their countries attending to important national matters?
Is US$2, 000 a night cheaper for 30 days? The presidential ranting from Park Avenue in New York, therefore, sounds more like a desperate attempt by a confused dinosaur with his back to the wall.
President Mutharika has chosen to play poker with taxpayers’ money and it is particularly dangerous looking at the fact that it is too early for his presidency. His explanation on this one is only coming across as a clanging cymbal.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :