Presidential press secretary Brian Banda has dismissed as “gossip” reports in social media platforms that government is buying a presidential jet for President Lazarus Chakwera.
Banda said the claims that Chakwera is intending to buy a presidential jet were hearsay.
This comes hot in the heels of social media reports that the government was buying a Gulfstream 4 GLF4 as a presidential aircraft for Chakwera.
“Chakwera believes in Malawians doing so much with too little and an issue of buying a presidential jet is not being discussed at the moment,” he said.
The presidential spokesman stressed that Chakwera is not keen to lavish lifestyle and will not be purchasing a presidential aircraft.
Ordinary Malawians, millions of whom struggle to get by on just $1-a-day, reacted with anger with speculation that Chakwera want an Air Force One-style jet – which could have set the impoverished nation back by million of dollars.
Late president Bingu wa Mutharika bought the presidential jet in 2009 at a cost of about $13.3m, claiming it was less expensive than leasing a plane every time he travelled. But it came to be seen as a symbol of African kleptocracy.
Former president Joyce Banda refused to travel in the jet since she took office in 2012, following Mutharika’s unexpected death and sold the 14-seat presidential jet, Dassault Falcon 900EX jet.
Malawi is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, with at least half the country living in poverty and an average life expectancy of 55.