LILONGWE ( Tamanda Mwale, Malawi NewsNow)-Spokesperson on Finance of former governing People’s Party (PP) in Malawi Parliament, Mr Ralph Jooma has taken a swipe at government of selective implementation of travel ban citing Foreign Minister Dr George Chaponda frequent travels amid economic hardships Malawi was going through.
PP’s observation comes amid reports that the incumbent President Peter Mutharika is said to be glooming Chaponda for the presidency in 2019 tripartite elections.
According to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) insiders, Chaponda is the Mutharika’s right hand man for succession than his deputy Dr Saulos Chilima.
Although recent times Chilima has refuted the claim that his relationship with Mutharika went sour, much is visible the way Chaponda travels representing the president in international conferences, meeting and summit.
On Monday, February 29, Jooma levelled the accusation against Chaponda frequent travels in his response to the Mid-Term Budget Review Statement which Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe presented on Friday, February, 26 as the revised budget is pegged at MK906 billion from MK929 billion.
“He travels on his own. He travels where His Excellency the President is going and he also travels where His Excellency the President has decided not to go. He travels and travels and travels to the extent that he risks being declared a non-resident of Malawi”, alleges Jooma amid applause from members in chamber.
Chaponda however did not take the accusation lightly but referred the remarks to Standing order 99 which prohibits reflection on the President, cabinet ministers, judges and others during debate as wrongly presented which Speaker Richard Msowoya ruled Jooma’s sentiments out order that he be struck off the Hansard.
The issue of government officials and their foreign travels has for so long been a concern from various stakeholders saying government loses a lot of money in paying for their travels considering the ailing economy of the country.
Pressure is daily mounting on President Peter Mutharika to fix the social-economic ills currently Malawians encountering which include maize crisis, insufficient of medical and drugs in public hospitals, high inflation and falling of the Malawi Kwacha which has resulted into skyrocketing prices of goods and services.