……may be he believes Bridgin money will come-MP
Close to K 1 trillion loans, grants and projects committed by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the European Union to Malawi are unlikely to disbursed anytime soon, as President Lazarus Chakwera continues to shield his corrupt associates.
The decision by Chakwera on January 31, 2023, to interdict Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Martha Chizuma and subsequent meeting between Chakwera and Ambassadors of the USA, UK, EU and Japan where the Investigator Magazine was informed the President defended his contradicting position, means the donors and the government are now miles apart.
“The donors told the President to start fighting corruption not just speaking. In short, they told him he is shielding the corrupt and budgetary aid won’t be coming. If the President did not understand, it means aid to Malawi under his government will be stopped, all the projects will be slowed down, donors don’t give money to corrupt regimes,” a former finance minister said.
He said Chakwera’s reckless decision-making process will place Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe under pressure as he will have to revise his budget and exclude any anticipated development projects funding for 2023 to 2024.
“While this decision is said to have been taken to protect his friends and family from possible prosecution, regaining donor confidence after losing is tough. He can forget IMF programme for starters, which means majority of donors and investors will not trust his government. He has been clueless from a start, now he is sacrificing the whole nation,” added another Development Economist, who said Malawians should brace for a free fall of kwacha and shortages of essential commodities.
The Investigator Magazine analysis indicate that the USA has the largest aid programmes close to US$600 million annually and those directly linked to governance are the US$350 million (K450 billion) Millennium Challenge Account programme which would have boosted road and agriculture projects.
The European Union Euro 300 million (K400 billion) projects include a K144 billion loan for rehabilitation of M1 road from Lilongwe to Mzuzu and additional K44 billion which was signed off as a grant.
Chakwera’s quest to protect those corrupt in the MCP could cost additional K250 billion funding to various programmes that the British government supports in various sectors. The UK was considering resumption of budgetary support to help Malawi from sinking into bankrupt.
The IMF and World Bank are unlikely to release money as their funding usually is tied to good governance including fighting corruption.
The President is yet to tell Malawians what has happened in relation to Chizuma and an opposition MP may be the President was waiting for US$ 6.8 trillion from a bogus Bridgin Foundation.
In 1991 donors cut aid to Malawi forcing dictator and founding President Kamuzu Banda to call for referendum and eventuality accept multiparty democracy. Second republican President Bakili Muluzi faced the same music when the IMF pulled out of Malawi programme due to corruption and human rights concerns as he advanced the third term agenda. His successor Bingu wa Mutharika expelled the British High Commissioner in 2011 after he criticized his human rights record, the economy collapsed.
President Joyce Banda who started off with high donor support lost in in October 2013 when the corruption scandal dubbed cash gate surfaced. She never recovered. Her successor Peter Mutharika started without donors but impressed them by 2016 most of them had confidence in his administration. Allegations of cooked books saw donors slow down.
Chakwera who came on a popular mandate has had more than 14 major corruption scandals affecting State House, his party and most of his aides with the most notable being the Zuneth Sattar scandal, AIP K750 million paid to a butchery in the UK and National Oil Company fuel procurement.
The Investigator Magazine has sent questions to State House press office for a comment, will update if an answer is received.