Former ruling Peoples Party (PP) has questioned the 52 member delegation government has sent to the first US-African Leaders Summit, which President Peter Mutharika is expected to attend.
USA President Barrack Obama has invited the Malawi leader to be part of the summit which will largely focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development and its people.
However, government has justified the number of people attending the summit, which include government and private sector officials.
“Is DPP going for the summit or its officials and the party leadership have gone on vacation/retreat after stealing our general elections votes? Why 52 member delegation for seven days when the summit is for one day,” argued PP Publicity Secretary, Kenneth Msonda.
But in a separate interview with Nyasa Times, Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa said the figure making the trip might have been bloated due to the incorporation of members of the private sector.
Apart from Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Energy as well as Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials making the trip, the delegation has been joined by officials from Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM), Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and Press Corporations Limited (PCL).
“I don’t know the figure yet but if they (PP) claim it’s huge, then it’s because they are failing to recognize the presence of the private sector at the summit. People are attending the summit on merit and based on the nature of the conference,” said Nankhumwa.
Nankhumwa disclosed that the private sector officials were not sponsored by government.
“Those from Escom, Farmers Union and Press Corporation are using their own funds to finance the trip, therefore it is unjustifiable to claim party officials are part of the trip, when its known fact that only government and private sector officials are the ones attending the summit,” he added.
Among notable officials attending the summit include Minister of Energy and Mining, Atupele Muluzi who is also President of opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).
Mutharika is expected to leave the country tomorrow for the summit which will attract Heads of States from other African countries.
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