Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe turned the opening of Nkhata Bay District Hospital into a political rally, telling people to re-elect President Peter Mutharika and bring back legislator Simon Vuwa-Kaunda in 2019.
In his speech, Gondwe, who is vice-president of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), criticised Mutharika’s predecessor Joyce Banda and her People’s Party (PP) for failing to complete construction of the hospital which has been underway since July 2010 as well as rehabilitation of the 50 kilometre Nkhata Bay-Mzuzu Road which boasts deepening potholes and jagged edges.
Gondwe accused the PP leadership of wasting time stealing public money when they were in power.
Ironically, Gondwe was in charge of the Ministry of Finance at the beginning of Banda’s two years in power and he was forced to resign shortly before he was arrested for being part of the Midnight Six who addressed a press briefing following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in April 2012.
“When Bingu died, we left them to run the show, but told them to complete this hospital and other projects that we had left. What did they do? Nothing. Now we are back. Look at what we are doing under the leadership of Peter Mutharika,” he bragged.
The minister challenged that the party will retain the presidency and ensure Vuwa returns to Parliament come the 2019 general elections.
The hospital premises, where Mutharika addressed thousands of Malawians, was a no-go zone for PP legislator Ralph Mhone and his supporters.
DPP followers and security personnel barred the Nkhata Bay Central parliamentarian from passing through the gates of the new hospital.
In an interview, Mhone termed his expulsion and the songs of ridicule as barbaric and undemocratic.
“The official opening of the hospital was a State function and we are in a multiparty dispensation where nobody should be allowed to perpetuate these undemocratic tendencies. The people of Nkhata Bay Central have one MP.” n