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Peter Mutharika’s foundation stones raise eyebrows

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An analyst has warned that the tendency of Malawian leaders, who are fond of laying foundation stones for projects in the run up to elections, should prompt Malawians to start monitoring such activities to avoid being duped by politicians.

Of late, President Peter Mutharika has been laying foundation stones for development projects, a common practice by heads of State. There are numerous projects which were launched by former heads of State, but were abandoned once elections were held.

For instance, former president Joyce Banda left a hospital project at foundation stone level at Cape Maclear. In the case of the incumbent, he laid a foundation stone at Mombera University in Mzimba District in 2015 but, up to now, there are no activities at the site.

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In addition, the President and some Cabinet ministers have been going around, laying foundation stones for dual carriage ways and other infrastructure developments.

This, according to Moses Mkandawire, Director of Church and Society of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, is an indication that there is need for Malawians to monitor the projects in the spirit of promoting transparency and accountability.

Mkandawire said, for continuity sake, the government should start focusing on completing stalled projects which were commissioned by other heads of State before laying more foundation stones for emerging projects whose success is questionable, considering the economic situation in the country.

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“We need to start taking to task our government officials because there is a tendency of laying foundation stones to dupe people. The government is busy laying foundation stones of projects whose source of finance is not known. This raises suspicions that, maybe, the projects are meant to fool Malawians into thinking that the government is doing a lot,” Mkandawire said.

He further advised the government to avoid politicising development projects, which are implemented using tax-payers’ money, saying such moves have the potential to create anarchy in project implementation.

“How is the government going to monitor all these projects at once if, indeed, it intends to complete them within the specified time? Do we have money for these projects? We have other critical issues that require our attention. Why not channel the money into those projects instead of ground breaking new ones whose sustainability is questionable?” Mkandawire said.

But government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, defended the current administration.

Dausi said the government has enough funds to ensure that all the projects it is launching are completed as specified.

He asked people not to criticise the government and, instead, celebrate that the government is doing something for the people, promising that all the projects will be implemented.

“We also have monitoring mechanisms to ensure that there is quality and that standards are being adhered to in all these projects,” Dausi said.

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