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Can’t Members of Parliament buy own laptops?

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Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya is a sure likeable fellow and usually speaks his mind on any issue.

Lately he has even taken to social media, speaking about his own upbringing up north in Karonga in a large close knit family.

This other day he took us through his long winded professional life that took him on dangerous UN assignments to the ethnic cleansing-motivated war in Kosovo in the early 1990s and to Rwanda where Hutus and Tutsis decided to butcher and machete each other because of empty old age rivalries.

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The Speaker also gave us a peek into his upbringing the other day when he talked about the key role that his elder brother played in early educational journey that led to what he is today.

Simply put, we have a Speaker in this country who is easy going and has no funny airs, which we see in abundance in most of our politicians, about him.

But those who like this trait in Msowoya were pleasantly surprised this week when he chose to stay mute on a subject that we thought he would go flat talking about and it is the K96 million that Parliament has splashed to buy laptops for all 193 MPs, as I am sure the future MPs in three vacant constituencies will get their’s as soon as they will be elected and sworn in.

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Msowoya should be embarrassed that he sanctioned this senseless purchase of equipment on taxpayers’ tab.

Let me make it very clear that I have nothing against MPs having laptops to facilitate their work before I am called names.

The only difference is that I just think that MPs who are tech savvy and need such gadgets should buy them using their money.

What has happened is that Parliament has imposed the taxpayer-funded laptops on some MPs who may not have seen their need. What will happen is that they will simply donate them to their college going children or indeed to girlfriends!

I refuse to believe that all MPs in the House know and appreciate a laptop and I insist that those who do already have one bought at their own expense.

Why Parliament, therefore, thinks all MPs need a laptop beats me.

Some of these parliamentarians are so academically challenged that they have difficulties in contributing to debate in English, making some Malawians to suggest that perhaps such individuals should be allowed to use their own mother tongue.

Does Parliament think such MPs would have a use for a laptop? Have they ever touched one?

Simply put, not all MPs need the gadgets and what Parliament has done is again misuse resources at a time this country needs every tambala just to make the budget balance even on the basics.

But that is what this country is all about; a morally bankrupt nation whose leaders think about themselves and their own luxuries. We have political leaders that are completely insulated from our economic realities and would be happy to preach the need for sacrifice to all citizens for a better tomorrow and yet refuse to take part in it themselves as they wallow in pleasure and leisure.

This is the real story about the laptops.

Is it not budget time? We will very shortly be taken through votes to various ministries and departments and witness the shameless misallocation of resources when State House will be piled with limitless cash while votes to hospitals and schools will be mercilessly slashed.

Old Goodall Gondwe presented his budget, which was full of lies that the economy is poised for big growth at 7 percent, on Friday.

We know nothing like that has happened in the past five years and that, in the region, the average growth is projected to be two to three percent.

Gondwe expects all of us to smile at his lies when Malawians know the truth.

That is why those who say the economy is only working in the mind of Gondwe and his boss at State House, where he lacks nothing courtesy of taxpayers, have a point.

For the rest of us, life is a dreary struggle as we choke under the yoke and weight of taxes for politicians to abuse our resources the way Parliament has done to buy laptops for some MPs that do not need them.

And those who genuinely need them can surely afford them.

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