Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), which is currently being haunted by the K30 billion (about $120 million) revenue scam, suffered another embarrassment recently when it offered its two vehicles to ferry Peopleâ€™s Party supporters to Lilongwe to witness the opening of the Budget Session by President Joyce Banda but the party refused the offer.
PP regional organising secretary Ian Nankhuni said when the vehicles came, he was informed. But he said the vehicles were returned by the partyâ€™s administrative secretary the Reverend Peter Kaleso.
Kaleso confirmed in an interview that he returned the vehicles because the partyâ€™s principle is not to use government resources for its functions. Said Kaleso on Tuesday: â€œTwo vehicles came, a coaster and a twin cab for regional members and secretariat officials, respectively. A transport officer at MRA sent the vehicles and I talked to him to get the vehicles back.
We refused the vehicles because it is PPâ€™s principle to respect separation of powers between party and government and that will never happen [using government resources].â€
Kaleso said the party will also not use government buildings for party functions. He also cited the recent government ban of women civil servants from dancing for the President as another example of separation of the two institutions.
â€œWe do not want to repeat mistakes of previous governments by using public resources. That is what we agreed [when the party was being formed],â€ said Kaleso.
MRA spokesperson Steve Kapoloma confirmed receiving our questionnaire on the issue and said the matter was referred to the head of administration for response.
The head of administration had not responded as we went to bed.
Chancellor College political analyst Dr. Mustapha Hussein welcomed PPâ€™s decision to refuse MRA vehicles and cautioned the institution to realise that government administration has changed and should not be overzealous by abusing public resources in trying to appease politicians.
Said Hussein: â€œIt is our prayer that that should continue but we know when people are in second term of office we see them messing up.â€
For MRA he said: â€œMRA should realize that we have a new government. They should be the last to do that [offering vehicles] even when requested.
They should ensure that public resources are put to good use. Management should learn from what has happened and should change mindset of appeasing politicians. This also goes to other public institutions.â€
PPâ€™s move is in sharp contrast to what Democratic Progressive Party and United Democratic Front regimes were doing.
In 2005 Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), Blantyre Water Board (BWB) and Malawi Housing Corporation came under fire after sponsoring over half a million Kwacha on fuel for DPP and using their vehicles to ferry party supporters to functions conducted by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
On instructions from Ministry of Statutory Corporations on July 28 2005, Escom released two 7-tonner trucks while both BWB and MHC each released one truck to ferry DPP supporters to the presidentâ€™s meetings in the Southern Region. They were instructed to put full tank in all the vehicles and distribute DPP cloth in Nsanje, Mwanza and Phalombe. Some of the vehicles that were during those functions were 2 SC 740, 2 SC 506, 4 SC 62, and 3 SC 208.
Former spokesperson of the party Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba challenged the critics to take the party to court.