Malawi President Charters Jet To UN Despite Shrinking Malawi Economy
Lilongwe – Despite his promise to the Malawian people to spend capital resources more wisely, President Peter Mutharika on Thursday chartered a presidential jet to the US for the United Nations general assembly, Nyasa Times reports.
It was not immediately clear how much the government had paid for the chartered plane.
Mutharika also failed to disclose the number of his entourage accompanying him, with various delegates leaving at different times to disguise the true number, the report said.
Last year Mutharika caused an outcry by taking 116 people along with him. A government official, however, said that the number had been reduced this year.
This was not the first time that Mutharika caused an uproar using taxpayers’ money to charter jets.
In July, the leader of the southern African country came under fierce criticism for chartering a plane to receive a personal honorary degree in Ethiopia, according to a previous News24.
Turbulent economic times
Analysts and opposition leaders lambasted Mutharika at the time, saying his ruling Democratic Progressive Party had failed the economy.
Mutharika chartered a South African plane to Ethiopia where he received a doctorate.
Mustafa Hussein, lecturer at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, described the president’s actions as regrettable.
“The country is going through turbulent economic times and for the president to charter a plane to get a personal degree at the university that was honouring him for his past career, goes against the same spirit of austerity which he always tells us,” said Hussein.
But the countgry’s finance minister Goodall Gondwe insisted that the president could not travel economy class, despite a motion that prevented government officials from flying in business class.
Gondwe said that the motion did not affect the Head of State, insinuating that a directive to have Mutharika travel economy class was absurd.
“You mean the president should travel economy class?” Gondwe shot back to a question regarding the new motion and its effect on the president.