Zambia’s ‘donated’ fuel yet to arrive in Malawi

As the public viewing of the body of Malawi’s former President Bingu wa Mutharika starts today, Monday, government is yet to receive the five million litres of fuel “donated” by the Zambian President, Michael Sata.

President Sata’s government announced last week it would donate the five million litres fuel to help facilitate funeral arrangements for late President Mutharika.

But information gathered by Nyasa Timesshows that the fuel was yet to arrive in the country and be officially handed over to the Malawi Government.

Widowed ex first lady Callista Mutharika and late Mutharika's brother Peter at Parliament during public viewing. Photo by Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times

Chairperson of the funeral organising committee Henry Mussa confirmed the development but was quick to report that “the fuel is in transit and should be arriving in the country anytime now.”

“True, the fuel is yet to arrive but I have been in touch with our Minister of Energy Goodal Gondwe who has assured me that the tankers are in transit and should be entering the country anytime and will be officially handed over to our President, Her Excellency Joyce Banda,” Mussa said.

The chairman, who is also Minister of Local Government said, also said a technical committee has been set up to work on the logistics on how the fuel will be used.

However, Mussa said as chairman of the funeral committee, he would have loved to sell the fuel in filling stations other than just distributing it to people for free.

“As chairman, I would have loved that once the fuel arrives it should be supplied to the filling stations so that it is sold and the money be deposited into the funeral expenses account,” he explained.

However, uncertainty still surrounds the fuel deal on whether the Zambian Government is loaning Malawi or it is a pure donation.

While Mussa insists that the fuel is a donation, other reports indicate that Malawi may have to pay for the five million litres.

This uncertainty follows a vague response from Zambia’s Lands, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma last week on whether it was a donation or a loan when he said the two countries “will discuss the payment soon after the mourning period.”

Yaluma said this when he made a symbolic presentation of the fuel to the Malawi government in Lilongwe last week.

And a report on also indicates that the Zambia Government has asked Malawi to pay for the fuel which was highly hyped to be a generous donation.

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