Presidential and ruling DPP spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba was business as usual on Thursday, downplaying criticisms over President Bingu wa Mutharika’s brother, Peter, for his use of presidential helicopter to fly him to Mzuzu for campaign and inaugurate street lights.
Peter, DPP presidential candidate and Minister of Foreign Affairs, used the presidential chopper last Sunday from Lilongwe to Mzuzu, where among other activies he openly declared his interest to inherit power from his brother in 2014.
His use of helicopter attracted criticism from many Malawians who took in on local radio phone-in programmes and social networking sites.
Ntaba speaking on Daybreak Malawi programme on Capital FM said there was nothing inappropriate or illegal about the DPP presidential candidate use of the helicopter.
“Those people who are complaining he should not use a helicopter, what legal basis, moral basis or any basis do they have for those complaints or for faulting the presidential candidate in that manner,” said Ntaba.
“If the president gives permission for anyone, in this particular aspect a presidential candidate, a Minister for Foreign affairs and international cooperation, his brother, you know there are all those aspects. If the Presidents gives permission, he has his absolute discretion to decide who is going to use such a facility isn’t it, but is not the first time anybody in the cabinet or anybody is using the facilicity that is ordinarily used by the president isn’t it,” said the presidential spokesman.
“What is wrong, I am failing to understand,” added Ntaba.
The presidential spokesman said Peter Mutharika “is not the only cabinet minister who has used these State House facilities, vehicles, accommodation in this case a helicopter.”
The DPP presidential candidate himself is also on record to justify his use of the chopper.
“I was in cabinet meeting until very late in the evening and I went to Mzuzu to donate to Mzuzu City Assembly and Mzuzu University. The following day Sunday we had an invitation from the Livingstonia Synod which made it imperative to seek such type of transport. There’s nothing to it,” Peter Mutharika is quoted as saying.