President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday treated vendors to a beer party at Mzuzu State Lodge.
The vendors, who were invited from various districts in the Northern Region, were treated to opaque beer, wine and other brands of alcoholic drinks, and given K15 000 each.
DPP director of youth (North) Kelvin Chirambo confirmed the development, saying the people were celebrating with their leader and being a party, beer could not be ruled out.
He said: “The President wanted to encourage the youth to be strong and woo support at the grassroots.”
According to Chirambo, about 1 200 youths from various political districts in the region attended the party, which means the President spent K18 million on the cash handouts alone.
He justified the cash given to the youth, saying they were travel allowances for going to the meeting.
“It was a party. The youth were celebrating with their leader. At a party you need to celebrate and you cannot rule out beer. As the youth, we are behind Mutharika and we will vote for him,” said Chirambo.
The vendors, who were transported in lorries, made a lot of noise in town, praising Mutharika for giving them free beer and money.
“There was lots of beer. People just resorted to carrying the beer home. Some carried the packs for wine while others put them in plastic bottles. It was just too much. On top of that, we were given K15 000 each,” said one of the vendors.
Some people in the city, including vendors, who did not attend the party, condemned Mutharika for promoting beer drinking and laziness among the youth, arguing that the President would have used the money for a good cause.
Reacting to the matter, Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka also accused Mutharika of being insensitive to genuine needs of the youth.
He branded the beer parties as an embarrassment to the nation, saying instead of promoting development the President is abusing the youth with beer.
Said Kajoloweka: “The youth need jobs, better education, good business environment and developments that would help transform their lives. It is embarrassing that the President continues to organise such parties. Actually, I am not surprised that he is behaving in that manner because he is a president that has not contributed to youth development.”
While confirming the event, Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani claimed he did not see any beer. He said the people might have had the beer after the function with the President.
“By the time we left the function, there was no beer. Maybe that happened after the function. If it was after the function, that is their private life and I cannot comment on that,” he said.
When United Transformation Movement (UTM) was being launched at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre, the DPP organised a beer party at Chichiri Upper Stadium.