President Peter Mutharika says he has bought Marcopolo luxury coaches for domestic football powerhouses—Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers—with his personal money.
Speaking through his press secretary Mgeme Kalilani on Friday, the President also said the buses arrived in the country on Thursday.
“After the State President made the pledge [at Nyambadwe Primary School ground last Saturday in Blantyre], he assigned some people to look for two buses.
“Initially, the people identified [two] small 16-seater Hino buses and the State President said no, he wanted bigger buses and that is when the Marcopolo coaches were identified and they have been bought with his personal money and not government,” said Kalilani.
However, he could not immediately give the value of the buses and where they had been bought.
Said Kalilani: “I need to check on that with one or two people… But they are now being branded.”
But at press time, he had not reverted to Weekend Nation.
The presidential press secretary also said there was no political attachment to the gifts as the President only responded to requests made by the two clubs during the launch of their stadia projects.
But Nomads chairperson Symon Sikwese on Friday said they had not been briefed of any developments regarding the issue of buses.
He said: “We are still waiting. So far, I haven’t heard any news.”
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga also said he was not aware of any developments and asked for more time to make a follow up as he had been out of office.
However, football analyst Humphrey Mvula wondered how the presidential press secretary could not immediately give the value of the buses and where they had been bought.
He said: “It is not possible that somebody can buy a bus that he does not know the value. And if indeed the buses are in the country then it should have been incumbent for the buyer to inform the beneficiary… At least they should have been involved in the branding process.
“The way I look at it is that it could be a tactic of buying time or an attempt to use buses that are already in the country to make sure that official delivery happens after the [presidential] election and that would be a hoax.”
Responding to the requests from the two teams to buy them buses during last Saturday’s function, the President said: “Funso la mabasi… Mabasi tikupatsani lero. Bus imodzi kwa Big Bullets, bus ina kwa Be Forward Wanderers.” However, the two teams did not get the buses on the same day as promised.