President Lazarus Chakwera has temporarily moved out of Kamuzu Palace, his official residence and office, and relocated to Mtunthama Residence in Area 3 within Lilongwe to pave the way for maintenance works.
Briefing journalists during the weekly State House Briefings yesterday, presidential press secretary Brian Banda said the President has moved to Mtunthuma because Kamuzu Palace was “in bad shape”.
But he declined to outline the kind of renovations, the contractor undertaking the assignment and the cost, claiming it bordered on presidential security.
Said Banda: “There was money allocated for renovations of State Residences in the past. But looking at how things are right now, we do not believe that those renovations were indeed taking place. That is why the President has temporarily moved out of the statehouse to make sure that these renovations are done.”
The President’s move comes weeks after Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu told Parliament during the Mid-Year Budget Review Meeting that some of the State Residences had leaking roofs.
The minister was justifying the increase in funding to State Residences vote.
The reported dilapidation of State residences comes as a surprise because yearly there is an allocation for maintenance of buildings under the vote. Between 2018 and 2020, about K1.9 billion was allocated for maintenance of State Residences.
In a related development, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, serving a second term, has remained in his private residence in Area 43 over nine months after assuming office purportedly because the Vice-President’s official residence in Area 12 is yet to be maintained.
On Chilima operating from a private home, Banda said it was for the same reason of lack of renovation.
A source in the Department of Buildings said it is standard practice that when there is change of leadership, the State Residences should be renovated in preparation for the new occupant.