Lazarus Chakwera blasts Peter Mutharika
Malawi Congress Party President, Lazarus Chakwera, took advantage of the party’s new found momentum and lashed out at President Peter Mutharika describing him as a pathological liar who chooses to feed Malawians lies
Backed by a strong showing in the recent by-elections and analysts giving his party a favourable forecast in the 2019 polls, Chakwera did not mince words.
“He [Mutharika] seems to be sleeping on the job and he cannot smell the rat in his own backyard and the President has opted for public relations stunts that bear no fruits to suffering Malawians,” Chakwera said when he addressed a press conference on the lifting of maize export ban and energy crisis at MCP headquarters in Lilongwe.
He accused Mutharika of giving the masses a sense of hope “that he is concerned about their plight when his actions tell a different story.”
It has become apparent, he said, that Mutharika and his charges take pleasure in the plight, suffering and misfortunes befalling Malawians as they use these unfortunate situations to cash in and enrich themselves.
He went to town on Mutharika on the case of blackouts, saying “instead of sincerely working to resolve the situation, Mutharika’s cronies have used the situation to enrich themselves.”
“Whether this is with or without the blessing of the State President, we do not know yet. However, it is surprising that the State President has remained silent and has failed to act on the allegation of serious misconduct of senior officials in his own government and Escom,” he said.
He said in October last year, Mutharika himself promised 78 megawatts of diesel-powered generators to fill the gap in power supply and with a promise to connect such power to the grid by December 2016, which never happened.
“The MCP has stumbled on documents officials influenced the Chief Secretary to the Government to order the cancelling of 78 megawatts stand-by electricity diesel-powered generators deal.”
MCP leader demanded a public inquiry into the matter.
He said the company called Aggreko emerged as the successful bidder to provide generators in three selected sites in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Kasungu to the tune of about $74 million and the contract was signed.
But Chakwera said it turned out that State House strangely preferred to have some two companies awarded the contract.
“In fact, two of Mutharika’s own charges at State House, allegedly advised the two companies to write Escom Board chairperson to complain that the tendering process was wrong.
“The truth is that the two of Mutharika’s own charges were hoping to get a cut from the deal. The two companies did as instructed,” Chakwera said.
He alleged that it is at this point that Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) wrote the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) on August 7 seeking guidance as the contract had already been awarded to Aggreko and ODPP advised that, at this point, nothing could be done.
Still not satisfied, according to Chakwera, the State House officials ordered the Chief Secretary, Lloyd Muhara, to ask ODPP to find fault with Aggreko award so that the contract is subsequently cancelled and then awarded to one of their preferred two companies.
“ODP P complied and subsequen t ly launched an investigation into the tendering process. On 28th August 2017, ODPP wrote a report to the Chief Secretary faulting the process and effectively cancelling the Escom- Aggreko contract.
“Chief Secretary eventually ordered Escom to cancel the tender. Thus, Escom wrote Aggreko on 7 September 2017 advising them that the tender had been cancelled,” he said.
The MCP leader said the Chief Secretary instructed Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), where he is board chairperson, to take over the procurement process since Escom had failed.
Chakwera said Egenco recommenced the tendering process and bids were called for and evaluation done but the State House preferred company did not bid.
He said instructions were made at a meeting that Chief Secretary convened at Ryalls Hotel involving Escom board chairperson and chief executive officer in the presence of Mutharika’s Economic Adviser, Collins Magalasi, and two representatives of a company called Altaaqa.
“Clear instructions were given to Escom to award the generator contract to Altaaqa even though they did not satisfy the procurement requirements as per a document in our possession,” Chakwera said.
He said the “beneficiaries” of the transaction convinced Mutharika to stage a joint meeting of Escom and Egenco boards, which he subsequently attended on Wednesday, October 25 in Blantyre.
Yesterday, Magalasi said he could only comment after seeing the statement and specifically on where he is mentioned.
Director of Communications at State Residences, Bright Molande, also said “we should wait for government to make wholesale response to the statement.”
Chakwera also said the lifting of the maize export ban should not have been made end October, after vendors and business connected to DPP have robbed poor farmers of their maize at very low prices for resell at the very high prices upon the ban being lifted.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues