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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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“Dedicating K8more billions to vague ‘maintenance’ is an ingenious plan to siphon more money for State House’s nefarious activities”

BY IDRISS ALI NASSAH

In the last financial year, State House was allocated K14.5 billion, and now they want an additional K8 billion.

In all, about K23 BILLION.I am yet to be convinced that the state residences really require so much money for maintaining their grass, fence, furniture and whatever else. For perspective, the magnificent Salima Waterfront Hotel cost Sunbird about K6 billion, and here you have shameless people wanting K8 billion to – Oh Godot please! – fix leaking roofs.

My suspicion is that dedicating K8 more billions to vague ‘maintenance’ is an ingenious plan to siphon more money for State House’s nefarious activities.

But you would think the first thing President Chakwera would want to do on coming into power is to cut the frills and excesses of the past regime and demonstrate to everyone that there was a new sheriff in town who understands that leadership is public service and not an open cheque to live lavishly on the taxes of poor people. One way we can do that is to turn some of these state residences into very agreeable hotels so that the taxpayer shouldn’t have to bear the cost of needlessly having a PALACE for the president in virtually every region of the country.

We have, perhaps, six state residences and it means everything is duplicated. You will need six of everything—so there are going to be six sets of double-door fridges for every room that needs a double-door fridge, six flat TV screens for each room that needs a TV, six sets of lounge suits, six lots of household furniture, six toasters, six ovens, six lawnmowers and so it goes. And the list is long.

Imagine the savings to be made were Malawi a properly run business and shareholders decided that the company didn’t need to keep and maintain six residences. It will come with a little inconvenience for the president, I admit, because he can’t be in Mangochi and suddenly decide to have all of Chikoko Bay for himself and his hangers-on. But he can always book in advance and still use it alright, should Chikoko Bay, or Sanjika in Blantyre, be turned into a hotel.

The worrying thing about all this is that you get the distinct feeling that this wastefullness is just the beginning and, if it proceeds unchecked, it will get worse. Those fretting away poor people’s money are themselves too ensconced in it to realize the error of their ways.

Instead of rubbing hands together and saying let’s get on with rebuilding a nation broken by greed, mismanagement and corruption of the past years, our current lot seem only too happy to expend enormous energy helping themselves to taxpayers’ money, travelling around the world at our expense in private jets, collecting enormous allowances in the process and blaming the past every time they cock up.

I had hoped we would be past groaning about such things but it seems our politicians, as soon as they taste some little power, begin to suffer from the same peculiar diseases of arrogance, megalomania, theft, greed, corruption, impunity and shamelessness that afflicted those that went before them.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I agree with Idriss Nassas sentiments about excess and unnecessary State House extravagant expenditures. Additional budget increase to State House residence has been a culture and one way of siphoning money from taxpayers money to enrich the President and his family. State House is full of wastage and the annual budget is already too much.Chakwera is extra vacant and he seems to skin the government as much as possible he has a large family living on state expense.
    One would have thought that the budget for State House would be reduced but instead the Finance Minister is increasing giving loop holes to abuse the money for personal use.
    We have this before Mutharikas both Bingu and Peter abused State resources by building mansions.
    Chakwera is on the same path getting free money through State House resources and building his mansion.
    It’s high time the Parliament Budget committee reviewed State House budget allocation so it is reduced and money put to good use for the benefit of Malawi people.
    Selling or converting State House residences that are not necessary is one way of saving taxpayers money.

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