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Lazarus Chakwera against bloated entourage

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CONCERNED—Chakwera addressing the gathering

President Lazarus Chakwera says he does not want too many senior government officials accompanying him wherever he goes.

He was speaking Friday when he officially opened Golden Peacock Hotel at Chichiri in Blantyre.

Chakwera said there were too many senior government officials at the event, challenging Secretary to President and Cabinet Zangazanga Chikhosi to draw a protocol of who gets to accompany him to functions.

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“As far as I am concerned, there are way too many senior government officials at this function. And the fact that they have come from all over the country means that the cost of this function alone is more than what any of us can justify. Mr. Secretary to the President and Cabinet, this is your domain. Please develop a protocol that makes sense in determining how many officials accompany the President for public functions and on what criteria. We cannot just let officials burn taxes like this needlessly. That kind of wastage cannot continue,” he said.

Among others, apart from Vice President Saulos Chilima and Minister of Tourism Michael Usi; Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe, Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe and Minister of Transport Sidik Mia accompanied the President to the function.

President Chakwera also ordered Inspector General of Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs to re-look at his transportation across the country so that Malawians and tourists are not unnecessarily inconvenienced for long hours when he travels.

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“I traveled by road from Lilongwe to Blantyre yesterday, and for some strange reason, motorists were hindered from moving for the entire stretch. This is not acceptable. There has to be a better way of managing my transit across the country without disrupting the movements of Malawians and tourists for four hours.

“Malawi is a friendly, peaceful, and free country and we cannot be operating as though we are in a war zone. When I travel within the Capital, motorists are not made to wait for any more than 15 minutes to let the motorcade pass, and I want this to be the case when I travel across the country,” he said.

On the hotel, Chakwera said tourism is a top priority for his administration, stressing that tourism is a critical driver of the economy in the new Malawi.

Chakwera said inauguration of the hotel is a harbinger of his administration’s strategy for job creation.

The President then challenged investors to construct structures of Golden Peacok’s standards and not ‘some shacks’ along the lakeshore corridor.

He then challenged the investors to hire local people to work at the hotel.

“We are not interested in seeing jobs such as hotel gardeners, receptionists, accountants, waiters, being done by foreigners simply because the hotel belongs to foreigners. This practice doesn’t happen anywhere in the world, and no one should imagine that we will allow it to happen here,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Golden Peacock Managing Director Mike Zhang said a peacock is a symbol of success in China and he was happy that the peacock has landed in Malawi.

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