Mark Botomani, the commissar of enlightenment, should be ashamed. This man has been lying through the teeth to Malawians for over a month that no single tambala has been spent on them as allowances.
From day one, when his name was announced as minister, there has been doubt hanging over his ability to disseminate the right information to Malawians.
Now our fears have been confirmed and we on the streets pray that like one Leckford Thotho, this minister should be booted out. It may not be tomorrow, but surely after July 2, Malawians will be relieved of such excess baggage.
All along Malawians smelt a rat with the way the eight-member Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus has been handling the Covid-19 crisis. One could tell the ministers’ behaviour was akin to a young child who had been shown a candy jar.
Even Vice-President Saulos Chilima—the voice of reason in this government—warned Malawians to sleep with one eye open, because he had it on good record that those in the ‘crisis taskforce’ might be there to pocket fat allowances from the Covid-19 kitty.
Botomani, being Minister of Information was kindly asked if these reports were true, to which he responded with a big ‘no’: “There is no budget line for allowances in the funding for coronavirus,” he cut back.
“…ministers and their technical officers are sacrificing a lot in the fight against the coronavirus. In this regard, they do not pocket any allowances even when they work at odd hours, which is often the case,” he said.
But now documents show that ministers have been getting K450 000 a day as ‘risk tokens’ (whatever that means) while members of Parliament are receiving K350 000.
Before the document and a video in which Botomoni has been captured trying to convince Health minister Jappie Mhango how to conceal the allowances, you would have believed the lies. But now that the cat is out of the bag, people on the streets want him to resign.
We, Malawians are disgusted because we have been having these scandals amongst the governing elite for years. However, the video clip in which Botomani and Mhango are discussing allowances is a very shameful and dishonourable act of the highest order.
At the highest peak of the global coronavirus, an eight-year-old girl joined other Nigerians and donated N2 350, less than K5 000, to the Nigerian government, and this was all she had in her piggy bank.
Ironically, these scriptures of the poor widow’s offering are found on Mark 12:41-44—you should have done better Mark, the minister.
The Nigerian leader, Bashir Ahmad, made a disclosure of this heroic and noble act by the toddler, who like that biblical poor widow who gave all the cents she had and was commended by Jesus, sacrificed all she had to save her nation.
But here we are in Malawi; we have ministers who have jobs that give them decent earnings and enjoy wide range of benefits that include importation of vehicles duty free as they also double as legislators, caught on camera scheming how to conceal the hefty allowances they have been pocketing from the Covid-19 activities. What a shame!
Elsewhere and in the civilized nations, and by now, President Mutharika should have received voluntary resignation letters from these two disgraced men, who are giving him and the country a bad name.
But knowing Malawi, it is business as usual, as if nothing has happened.