President Peter Mutharika has brushed aside reports that he has taken a bloated entourage to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Malawians are infuriated with reports that Mutharika’s administration has sponsored over 100 participants to the annual ritual of attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Commentators argue that of the number of delegates that attend from Malawi, up to 80 per cent do not add any value to the team’s work at the assembly.
But Mutharika, who arrived in New York on Tuesday, has rejected that Malawi is having a jamboree delegation to New York.
Through his Presidential Press Secretary Gerald Viola, Mutharika said he was welcomed by Malawi Diplomatic Mission to the United Nations led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr George Chaponda.
“Among others present include Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Hon Patricia Kaliati, Hon Joseph Mwanamveka, Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr Peter Kumpalume Minister of Health, the Chief Secretary Mr George Mkondiwa PS for Health Dr Mwansambo and Dr Mary Shaba – PS for Gender as Government Officials who have accompanied the President to New York,” a State House statement said.
According to State House, UN Women has sponsored women from all over the World to attend the UNGA in order for these women to understand the concept of He4She Campaign.
“The UNFPA has also sponsored some youths to the General Assembly to mediate and share common knowledge on the youth empowerment in the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Viola added that other various NGOs in the promotion of Human Rights, Gender and protection of women and children against all violence towards the vulnerable groups have also sponsored attendance of women, youth and other human rights defenders across the global and Malawi is not spared.
“However, Malawi has been represented in many [fora] of UN discussions of which their participation dates early in September when the Speaker of the National Assembly Right Hon Richard Msowoya, the MCP Spokesperson Dr Jessie Kabwira and many others have come and keep coming for their roles in the United Nations platforms.”
He said the President has travelled with three Advisors in politics a Mr Mphepo, in Economics Dr Collins Magalasi and in International Relations Colette Thornicroft.
“It is against this background that State House assures the Malawi nation that the Government of Malawi has not taken the burden of sponsoring any delegate to the General Assembly apart from the officials mentioned earlier,” said Viola without giving the specific number of the delegates sponsored by government.
But media reports indicate that several traditional leaders some of them don’t speak English or any international language are among the list of government sponsored delegates to the meeting.
Commentators say there ought to be some measure of accountability and responsibility on the part of Malawi delegates.
Others protested that members of Mutharika’s delegation were using taxpayers’ money to enjoy themselves in New York while Malawians back home where reeling under a heavy tax regime and economic turmoil.
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