Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, has finally seen the need for him to come out and explain himself on the K4 billion jamboree that he planned to secretly dole out to Members of Parliament (MPs) who supported government’s agenda in the last meeting of Parliament.
Gondwe has written leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that have been vocal on the issue, inviting them to a round-table discussion. The minister bemoans what he calls distortion of facts on the issue.
But we wish to remind Gondwe and his colleagues in Cabinet that they mishandled the whole issue. The inconsistency that Gondwe has displayed over the issue raises more questions than answers.
At first, Gondwe was adamant and claimed the money was from some “donors” who opted to remain anonymous. But Gondwe should realise that he and his colleagues are governing based on the trust that Malawians expressed in the last tripartite elections. The Republican Constitution is very clear that the administration’s continued stay at Capital Hill is dependent on sustenance of that trust.
It was, therefore, unimaginable that Gondwe could treat Malawians like children, withholding the identity of the so-called donors of public funds. Malawians have a legitimate reason to be worried. These days, the world is concerned abort issues of money laundering and State capture. It is very strange that the Cabinet resolved to have an arrangement with people who opted to remain anonymous to the beneficiaries.
Then Gondwe said the largesse was an experiment. One cannot imagine how insensitive a Cabinet can be to start experimenting with lives of Malawians, flouting laid-down procedures and ignoring priority areas.
Poor Malawians are failing to access police security because the police have no fuel to patrol the country or even rush to a crime scene. So many Malawians are succumbing to treatable illnesses just because public hospitals have no drugs. Yet here is a Cabinet that resolves to let the people continue to die of treatable diseases as it experiments on how to buy loyalty from legislators.
Above all, President Peter Mutharika and his ministers swore to uphold, protect and promote the law in Malawi. The appropriation laws stipulate that no one can spend money from public coffers without running the proposals past Parliament for debate and approval. Why did Mutharika allow his Cabinet ministers to run a parallel funding system?
It is, therefore, an insult to see Gondwe continuing to be adamant by saying that facts are being distorted on the issue. For him to invite and plan to lecture the CSOs is immoral. He has already dug in his heels that he is right. He is not!