Two of the country’s vocal human rights’ bodies have expressed concern over President Peter Mutharika’s ‘development’ rallies and status of Access to Information (ATI) Bill.
The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (Cedep) said they are disappointed with Mutharika’s wastage of the country’s resources on “political rallies disguised as development rallies”.
In a joint statement, CHRR and Cedep cited the recent rally in Mangochi where six Cabinet ministers and other government officials accompanied the President at the cost of taxpayers.
“This is outrageous! While we appreciate the need for the President to address the nation on government’s development plans, we find the expenses that accompany such functions excessive for the current state of the economy,” said the two in a statement.
On November 14, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) held a rally at Mangochi Old Airport Ground where, among others, Mutharika defended the appointment of new Clerk of Parliament (CoP) Fiona Kalemba, describing her as the best in drafting bills.
The presence of six Cabinet ministers at the rally was in contrast to what DPP government told the nation in June that, in the spirit of the Public Reforms Programme, presidential functions would only be attended by a relevant ministry.
On ATI, which government seems not ready to bring before Parliament for enactment, the statement signed by CHRR and Cedep executive directors Timothy Mtambo and Gift Trapence respectively, said they find it an insult to Malawians that the President indicated in his opening address of 46th Session of Parliament that the bill would be tabled, but the story is now different.