United States embassy in Lilongwe granted 115 visas for Malawi delegation to United Nation in New York, confirming that the country had a bloated entrouge but President Peter Mutharika only approved 18-member delegation to accompany him, which has raised eye brows on who is calling the shots.
US ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, could not comment on the number of the visas they issued, saying they are “confidential matters.”
Palmer however confirmed that the size of the official delegation is what Mutharika approved.
She is quoted by Malawi News that the UN only gave six passes to Malawi delegation and that suggest that 109 people were hangers-on.
But the US diplomat said there many activities that go on at the UN “in the margins that are important.”
In its editorial, Malawi News called for President Mutharika to apologise, saying Malawians have been let down.
“When the President arrives tomorrow from New York, they expect nothing short of an apology and promise to stop this madness that is engulfing our country and making life a hell for everybody,” reads the paper’s editorial comment.
Information Minister Jappie Mhango said the public should know that there is a marked difference between a presidential delegation and a Malawi delegation.
“Not every member of the Malawi delegation at the UN is part of a presidential delegation,” he said.
He explained that those who make a presidential delegation are staff and officials from selected ministries and departments approved by the President based on their relevance to the agenda of the General Assembly and their importance to his assignments.
“The Malawi delegation is made up of everyone who attends the UN General Assembly from Malawi. Government meets the cost of a presidential delegation. Members of the Malawi delegation are covered by sponsors identified by themselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, human rights campaigner Billy Mayaya has told Nyasa Times that President Mutharika may have the best of intentions for this country but some of his advisors are either deliberately misinforming him by taking advantage of his advanced age for their own benefit .
“If the President is only aware of 18 people being on his entourage to New York, you mean he didn’t notice the eventual horde that accompanied him eventually?? He is either a stooge or in control. If his directives cannot be followed, then there is something intrinsically wrong with his Presidency,” said Mayaya.
“If the Government can blatantly lie and say that the donors funded such buffoonery in the light of Cashgate, then they are under the assumption that Malawians were born yesterday. If the Government can blatantly thumb its nose at taxpayers so that they foot this insultingly vulgar bill while the country verges on the precipice of economic collapse, then questions must be raised about his capacity to lead as well as the quality of the advice he receives.
“While Malawians suffer under the shadow of poor service delivery-no water, electricity, health and education sector collapse- “elected” leaders go on a rampage of mapwevupwevu! This will not end well,” Mayaya ranted.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :