First Lady Gertrude Mutharika should simply order her Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust to quickly raise a cheque of K5 million as a refund of the money that belongs to people with HIV and Aids in this country, irregularly taken out of National Aids Commission (NAC).
Without returning the money, I am afraid, she is making the already difficult job of her husband, President Peter Mutharika, even more difficult.
On his part, the President should also advise, nay, order his tribesmen at Mulakho wa Alhomwe to likewise pay back K9.4 million which also belongs to Malawians but was siphoned under duress out of NAC to fund the yearly jamboree at Chonde that passes as some cultural day for the Lomwes.
Trusts all over the world excel either on being beneficiaries of some rich baron’s deceased estate or raise their money from the public through sustained campaigns.
Operating on this principle, there is nothing wrong in theory for First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s Beautify Malawi (Beam) trust to raise money for the activities of the organisation.
We cannot deny who she is and the fact that somehow people will pay up because of the fact that she is wife of the President.
Obviously those that pay up have ulterior motives to gain favours from the powers that be which can easily be greased with hefty donations. That is part of life we must learn to accept.
But NAC is a different ball game altogether. The money that helps HIV positive Malawians throughout the country is from a donor and the name is Global Fund. It is for the sick. Their lives depend on it.
Beam and the First Lady as well as Muhlakho should accept that a mistake was made. They cannot justify getting money meant for HIV positive people and use it for the launch of the trust or for the dancing at Chonde.
It is generating bad press for the President, which he does not need at the moment as his problems are knee-deep and Malawians want solutions.
The economy is biting and everybody is going or threatening to go on mass action. The Judiciary is paralysed due to a strike by support staff and soon Parliament will also follow suit after staff there rejected an increment that they have deemed too little.
Members of staff at ACB have also threatened to down tools. They too are demanding money. And, like the uncontrollable October bushfire, this is spreading everywhere. Everybody wants money and fast otherwise they will go on strike.
The public service delivery systems are in a shambles so much so that in Blantyre it has become more normal not to have water than have the running taps as the famous pump number nine at Chileka seems to have gone crazy lately. At least that is what we are always told.
These are the problems that the President must spend his energies and time on and not be dousing the fire that was caused by Beam or Muhlakho wa Alhomwe.
These two should simply accept that they made a mistake in accepting the money that belongs to HIV positive Malawians to sustain their lives. They should do the needful—pay it back and we all move on from this sad saga.
Anything else will project the First Lady as an adamant woman who does not care about public opinion.