Friday, February 5, 2010

Malawi: Mutharika warns Malawians not to expect 'chunks of money' from AU

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika Thursday warned "over-expectant Malawians" that there would not be a "chunk of money flowing into the country because we have assumed the chairmanship of the African Union," PANA reported from here.

Since his election to head the AU for the next year at the weekend, most Malawians - especially Mutharika's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) zealots - have been saying "Malawi stands to benefit" from Mutharika's ascendancy to the pinnacle of African politics.

However, economists have warned that in fact, Malawi should expect to foot some cost surrounding the chairmanship.

Said Mutharika in remarks broadcast on state radio: "As chairman of the AU, I will be traveling to different countries to meet different heads of state and organisations. We will get some prestige."

Mutharika was speaking on his return from the AU summit in Ethiopia, where he was elected chairman of the largely peace-making continental body, taking over from Libyan strongman Mouammar Kadhafi.

"After transacting the business of African Union, I will take an opportunity to address challenges that our different sectors of the economy are experiencing and that would be our major benefit.

'However, after the end of our tenure of office, we will evaluate the benefits," he said at an airport news conference.

Finance Minister Ken Kandodo wants Parliament, currently sitting in the capital, Lilongwe, to approve 500 million Malawi kwacha (about US$ 3 million) to run activities that the president would undertake as AU chair.

The funds will also enable the country, which depends on donor funds for its development programmes, to host AU meetings, including one by African finance and planning ministers set for March in the administrative capital Lilongwe, according to the Finance Minister.

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