By Chimwemwe Lusungu
Government spent about MK70 million last year on landscaping and refurbishment of the Vice President’s official residence in Area 12 , amidst cries for pay hikes in the public service.
Vice President Saulos Chilima only vacated his Area 43 house after government did touch ups both inside and outside the mansion as per demands. His predecessor Khumbo Kachale did not leave the house in pristine condition and it needed a facelift before it could be occupied.
“It’s true that it was not in good condition but it’s the timing of all this that raises eyebrows when people are striking and drugs are not in hospitals that pains us,” said Yotham Phiri, a member of the civil society grouping that stage demonstrations last month.
Apart from that, Mota Engil was asked to fix roads in Area 12, including the one leading to the residence. We could not, however, independently verify the cost.
The splurge on the VP’s residence contradicts government’s claims that it saved MK20 billion in the first six months of the 2014/15 financial year.
Treasury announced last week that it had targeted to spend MK340 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year but spent MK320 billion.