Former president Joyce Banda is yet to honour a K500,000 pledge that she made during the 2013 Martyrs’ Day commemoration in Nkhata Bay District.
Treasurer for the organising committee, John Chunda, confirmed the development on Monday, saying their various efforts in following up with her yielded no results.
Though grateful that Banda was the first president to grace the occasion, Chunda complained that the broken promise plunged them into serious debts.
He bemoaned the tendency of making unfulfilled promises common among political and public figures.
“You should be aware that year in year out, we rely on well-wishers to put the event together. This is because Martyr’s Day has not yet been gazetted by the government to be a national day as we would love it to be. So when people make pledges, we bank all our hopes on them,” he said.
Chunda said the committee’s chairperson, Senior Chief Mkumbira and other members were on several occasions invited to State House and Banda’s private residence at Chintheche to collect the money but all to no avail.
“Following up on the money later became costly on the part of the committee, so we just gave up, though it was a substantial amount that would have gone a long way in covering some costs. It’s regrettable because we procured some goods and services to cater for the guests, unfortunately, the money never came for us to square the bills,” he said.
Banda’s spokesperson, Andekuche Chanthunya, could not be reached for comment on the matter.
But deputy spokesperson for Banda’s People’s Party (PP) Ackison Kalaile Banda said, as a head of State, the onus to ensure that the pledge was honoured did not lie with her.
He expressed surprise as to why a matter of five years ago is coming out now.
“The president does not remember to have made the pledge, but if she did, then something went wrong within the system. State House has a chief of staff and all other presidential aides that take care of the head of State’s affairs,” Banda said.
During this year’s commemoration, members of the bereaved families asked government to consider incorporating the event in the national budget in an effort to deal with the financial constraints that characterise the commemorations.
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