President Mutharika - Chewing millions on luxurious foreign travel

President Mutharika – Chewing millions on luxurious foreign travel

LILONGWE ( Malawi NewsNow) –Malawian President Peter Mutharika said on Thursday October 8, 2015 that he will not step down because of accusations of extravagance in the face of austerity talk

The President has been under fire from the public following accusation that he travelled with an contingent of over 100 delegates to New York for UN general assembly’.

It is feared that Malawi blew K300 million to K500 million of taxpayers’ money for the trip.

But Mutharika speaking at a presser was in a defensive mode, arguing that some of the delegates to New York have been sponsored by other organisations such as those in the UN family.

When question time came, FM 101 journalist Edwin Mauluka boldly asked whether Mutharika was willing to resign, in line with calls by some civil society leaders, over the blunder they saw in the Malawi leader for wasting resources lavishly.

In reply, Mutharika said: “No. I am not going to step down.”

He also blamed Malawi media for what he called ‘irresponsible’ reporting about his trip especially on his hiring of a jet and demanded an apology in the same vein.

“I heard the jet was just sitting in Dubai by this irresponsible radio station and also by spokesperson of Malawi Congress Party (MCP). This is completely false and they owe me an apology. I never rented a Jet to USA; I rented for five and half hour to go to Dubai. From there I took the commercial flight,” said Mutharika.

Commenting on IMF decision to suspend Malawi credit facility, Mutharika said the country will work on the recommendations and get back on track by December.

He, however, spoke of the need to walk-the-talk on austerity measures but ironically disclosed he is continuing his globetrotting with a trip to India next week and then London in December.

Malawians have been complaining about Mutharika’s non-stop foreign trips in light of the tough economic environment characterised by skyrocketing inflation rate high interest rates in commercial banks hovering between 32 and 37 percent as well as a paltry gross domestic product (GDP) growth of three percent in 2015, a downward revision from a rate of about six percent.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on finance and economic issues, Mr Alexander Kusamba-Dzonzi, who said the future for ordinary Malawians, is bleak in light of the tough macroeconomic environment.