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Opposition criticises DPP’s foreign policy

Opposition political parties in the country say the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is taking the country backwards by implementing policies which led to some of the traditional partners to stop supporting Malawi’s fiscal budget.

Among others, it is alleged that President Peter Mutharika has shown interest to purchase a presidential jet and establishing bilateral relationships with the Brics, a bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a decision they allege has displeased bilateral partners.

The President’s decision is a reverse of former President Joyce Banda’s policy that started normalising relations with traditional donors.

“The reason why Malawi is struggling today is because of the foreign policy articulated by President Peter Mutharika who said was going to the Brics. This has annoyed our traditional partners … They want to prove a point that the Brics cannot look after us,” said Umodzi Party President John Chisi at a press briefing in Blantyre on Saturday.

Chisi said the President should realise that some of the Brics member states do not agree with Malawi’s traditional donors hence their reluctance to help the country.

He said Mutharika should emulate what former president Joyce Banda did by devaluing the kwacha whose results saw the country having commodities that many Malawians were lacking citing foreign currency and fuel.

“Sometimes when you are in diplomatic relations, you must see where the wind is blowing to. If you are a beggar you are not a chooser. If you depend on other people today and behave strangely, those people who give won’t give you unless if you have your own things,” he said.

In a separate interview, Malawi Congress Party (MCP), spokesperson, Jessie Kabwila, said despite the cashgate issue, the signal that Malawi has shown of going towards the Brics has also played a part for donors to shun the country.

“If we were running our affairs responsibly, chances of keeping more donors would be higher than the present case,” said Kabwila.

Both Kabwila and Chisi observed that Mutharika has not behaved differently from his late brother Bingu, saying it was anticipated following announcement made during the campaign period.

Both opposition politicians said Mutharika ma deit clear during campaign period that he would continue from where his brother stopped.

But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila said the policies Mutharika talked about during campaign period are now government policies hence government was better placed to comment on the matter.

Secretary for Information Justin Saidi said he could not comment on the issues that he has not heard or read about.

On his return from United Nations General Assembly trip in New York, Mutharika argued that it was not necessary for a country to expose its poverty by letting its president wait for connecting flight at an airport for over 10 hours.

During his inauguration at Kamuzu Stadium, Mutharika indicated that the country would move towards the Brics, a development that some critics feel would adversely affect Malawians.

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