By McMillan Chasunda
The Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika can borrow a leaf on how to approach national issues and living-according-to-your-means from the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kenyatta has shown from time to time what responsible leadership is all about. He has even humanized the presidency, way above many Africa leaders including our own Malawi President Mutharika
Take for instance, how the two leaders have behaved towards the United Nation General Assembly to be held in New York, United States of America.
Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika is accommodated at the Astoria Waldorf Hotel in a presidential suit costing US17,000 per night. And for 15 nights he will be in USA, he will spend US$255,000 (equivalent to Mk 110million) on accommodation alone. He will also spend close to US$20,000 (Mk8.6million) on food and beverages.
While President Mutharika is spending this whooping figure, his counterpart, Kenyan President is sleeping in a hotel costing US2,000 per night, and he will spend only 10 days in USA meaning he will spend on accommodation US$20,000 (Mk 7.6million) the same bill that the Malawian leader will foot on food and beverage.
On another issue of concern, the Malawi leader has carried along a 68 man delegation including party cadres, journalist, friends, government officials, family members, traditional leaders and security details that all them are being paid an average allowance of US$400 per day for the next 15 days. By the time Mutharika comes back to Malawi the entourage will have send close US$408,000 (Mk175,440,000). In comparison, Kenyatta’s delegation only comprise of 5 people inclusive of security details.
Furthermore, Mutharika has chartered a plane to USA at a cost of over US$500,000 (MK215,000,000) for the whole delegation. In comparison, Kenyatta has used a business class of Kenya Airways for his delegations at a cost of USS50,000 (Mk20.7million) for the whole delegation
This pattern of expenditure by presidents of the two countries is in sharp contrast the development index of the two. Kenya is ranked 27 places ahead of Malawi at 147 while Malawi is at 174. One would expect that the leader of lower ranked country like Malawi would be prudent enough to spend less as compared to the leader of Kenya. Malawi leader has exposed his appetite for luxury as compared to his Kenyan counterpart.
Surprisingly, the pattern of expenditure comes with the background of lack of resources to manage the country which has seen donors withdrawing budgetary support leading to many development infrastructure programmes stalling or abandoned.
Presently, the Dedza boarder infrastructure project has been stopped, The Thyolo Hospital Maternity wing is also stopped among many affected projects.