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Pac tears into government

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Quasi-religious organisation, the Public Affairs Committee (Pac), has taken a swipe at President Peter Mutharika’s administration for its big appetite for spending at a time the country is sailing in troubled waters.

The attack comes in the wake of recent reports that over 100 people accompanied Mutharika to the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America.

“It has become clear that the economy of this country is in a bad shape, fading away a ray of hope that shone some months ago. Increases in prices of commodities continue to impact on the daily lives of Malawians. The latter has culminated into the dilapidated state of social sectors such as health and education.

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“In particular, Pac is deeply shocked with the lack of medical and equipment supplies in our hospitals.

Coupled with the constant electricity blackouts and water problems, the country seems to be drifting to old days, reminding Malawians of an economic situation of 2011- 2012,” Pac says in a statement released yesterday.

The statement further says a policy contradiction in recent weeks has awakened the conscience of Malawians to question the integrity of the government.

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“A good example is a decision to travel to the UN General Assembly with over 111 officials, as reported, of whom some are simply party officials and sympathysers. On this , Pac wishes to join those that doubt the integrity of this government at the moment. The argument that only few officials have travelled to UN General Assembly lack both context and depth, given that reports indicate that several officials may have found their way to US as a result of UN General Assembly,” says the statement.

The statement further observes that this conduct by the government is a fundamental departure from the correct position of enhancing financial discipline at a time millions of Malawians are struggling to make ends meet.

The statement, signed by Pac Chairperson Father Felix Chingota and Publicity Secretary Peter Mulomole further reads:

“With such a conduct, no doubt, the public policy has been cast into question despite some strides in the area of reform. Of recent, the government dramatised the Public Sector Reform Programme by scraping off Junior Certificate to save MK1.9 billion as a measure of removing unnecessary expenditure in the education system, and yet the Executive on the other hand makes a decision to travel to New York with a huge delegation.

“The gains being made in the public sector initiatives are being taken away by actions of the same Executive —a conduct that manifests retrogressive economic governance. Claims that the current regime may lack vision and direction could safely be sustained.”

While commending Mutharika for maintaining a lean Cabinet of 20, Pac has faulted the first citizen for lack of inclusivity in the appointments.

“Lack of inclusivity at this level has left a big dent resulting in failure to amass support towards positive policy drive. It is our view that old approaches and structures that have contributed to developmental failures in the past cannot solve challenges that they themselves created,” it reads.

Among others, the religious grouping has questioned the killing of ACB officer within the current administration some months ago, arguing that it puts into doubt the commitment to fight corruption in the country.

A political commentator based at Chancellor College in Zomba, Mustafa Hussein, said the attacks on government are justifiable considering the current shape of the economy and the number of people on the UN trip compared to other countries.

“The attacks are understandable because this is a country where citizens expect the government to be implementing austerity measures in view of the problems the economy has faced due to lack of access to donor budgetary support,” Hussein said.

However, Hussein said it would be extreme to state that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has lost track, bearing in mind some initiatives the administration is implementing such as the Public Sector Reform Programme that are doing well and are according to public expectations.

Our attempts to speak to DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila yesterday evening proved

futile as he could not be reached on his mobile phone while government spokesperson Jappie Mhango did not pick our calls despite several attempts.

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