Malawi:Bowing to Pressure first lady Callista Mutharika loses hefty Salary

The release, co-signed by the CSOs head of negotiations, Voice Mhone, and the PCDG’s head of negotiations Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Bernard Malango, furthers states:- “the primary objective of the meeting was to chart and agree on a road-map for the dialogue process that outlines realistic targets, clear benchmarks, time-frames and monitoring mechanisms.”

A special envoy of United Nations (UN) chairperson, Ban Ki Moon, a Madame Sahle-Work Zewde, the world body’s Under-Secretary General, witnessed and also pended her signature at the two-day meeting in the capital city, Lilongwe.

First Lady Madame Callista Mutharika’s salary scrape off, deposit of MK2 million for Mass Demonstrations, unfair use of national broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television and radios have been discussed and resolved, adding to the few other benchmarks that were fulfilled.

MBC is often used to castigate government critics and send threats.

“The two negotiation teams,” states the statement, “agreed that the issues of chancellor college impasse, motorcade for the Vice-President, First Lady’s package, Malawi Housing Scandal, unexplained public servants’ wealth, and Presidential Assets Declaration were resolved”.

The teams therefore recommended that “reform of the current legal framework to provide for assets declaration and verification on entry and exit for inter alia, senior civil servants, Parliamentarians, Cabinet ministers and the Head of State”.

On the deposits prior to holding any civil disobedience or protests of peaceful means in nature, the teams noted that note a single circular was advanced or was issued to that effect.

“…no deposit of MK2 million has been required and that the President has publicly clarified that he expressed his initial thoughts on the subject and had not laid down a directive; also that he has not pursued the issue in his capacity as the Head of State and no formal directive will be issued”.

The joint communiqué dated 26th March, 2012, further refers the MBC matter to the next meeting and formulated concrete recommendations for submission to government, including on local government elections and penal code/injunctions bill for consideration by Parliament; those pertaining to government’s engagement of relevant partners and involvement of CSOs, As needed, in ongoing dialogue processes on the thorny issues of electricity shortages, forex scarcity, and drugs shortages; on specific measures to take, within a specified timeframe, in order to effectively address the issues of fuel; and, on the issue of Respect for Court Orders, that…

“There should be a public commitment from the executive arm of Government that it will respect all Court orders, for or against it.”

Government since resolved the University of Malawi’s impasse at the statutory Chancellor College in Zomba City where lecturers and authorities tussled for over 100 days on issues of guaranteeing their academic freedom. A lecturer, Dr. Blessings Chinsinga, was interrogated by the police chief, Inspector General Peter Mukhito for using the Middle East (Egypt and Tunisia) popular leadership takeovers as examples in his lessons.

Authorities also reverted a directive to withdraw the First Vice President’s motorcade after she fell out of grace with Mutharika and his ruling party. Veep Joyce Banda openly challenged the president’s intentions to field his younger brother, Peter Mutharika as an automatic ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) president and national presidential candidate come Presidential and Parliamentary Elections (PPEs) in 2014.

CSOs questioned the multi-million dollar Ndata Farm ‘palace’ and other ventures gained over a small period of time belonging to Mutharika. They also want Malawian’s to be told how much the president is wealth over the same period.

The teams will be engaging each other again next week of April 2012 to further discuss substantive issues relating to the implementation plan.

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