Synod condemns First Lady on fuel, forex

By Andrew Nyayah, Nyasa Times

The CCAP Synod of Livingstonia has described as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘misleading’ assertions by the First Lady Madam Callista Mutharika that people who live in the rural areas do not need fuel and forex.

“She should be the right person to advise the president but her pronouncements have cast doubt about her character. She is misleading the nation,” the Synod’s Secretary General reverend Levi Nyondo told Nyasa Times in an interview.

Ironically the First Lady said this to a group of mainly villagers in Mzimba district when she officially opened a MK50 million Matuli Health Centre that will serve more than 15,000 rural people.

Callista: Hits at NGOs

Local print media quoted her saying that the Malawi government is aware of the fuel and forex problems but argued that these do not affect people in rural areas.

Callista sounding foul- mouthed like her husband President Bingu wa Mutharika said  NGOs who spearheaded the July 20 anti-government protests which left 19 people dead needed to go away ‘akagwere uko’.

She said people in rural areas do not have vehicles; there they should not raise their voices on fuel and forex.

But Nyondo said: “Fuel is needed everywhere from villages to cities. People have cars, generators, and maize mills. In fact the problem of fuel is affect people in the villages most.”

Reverend Mezuwa Banda said the First Lady’s statements shows that she has failed as mother of the nation.

“That is the problem when older people marry women many years their junior. People in the villages are suffering. As a church many of our members are in the rural areas and we know what they are going through. The fuel forex issue is no light matter,” Banda said.

He also said it was unfortunate that the First Lady has put herself to public scrutiny by such utterances.

“Now we are able to compare and see the source of problems because behind every successful man there is a woman. It’s possible that she might have demanded to be paid a salary for doing charity work. We can’t be surprised,” said Banda.

Apparently the civil society groups, in their July 20 petition sent to the President, wants Callista to refund her K1.3 million (about $8, 700) monthly salary to government paid to her for charity work as National Coordinator for Safe Motherhood and Early Childhood Development and have her contract nullified.

Mutharik has been asked to act on the demands or face further nationwide demonstrations on August 17.

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