Malawi: New twist in political drama

A statement from the office of President Bingu wa Mutharika said Kaliwo was suspended “for not following the right procedures”; Muluzi was called in to answer questions on the disappearance of US$9.5 million of donor money during his time in power.

The Malawi government is struggling to get this year’s budget passed in a hostile parliament.

Muluzi’s spokesperson, Sam Mpasu, castigated the government for bad faith over a promise not to arrest the former head of state on his return from Britain, where he had been recovering from back surgery.

Parliament has been meeting for almost two months to pass the budget and has rejected several line items, including funding for the information and tourism ministry.

On radio and television last week Mutharika accused the leader of the Malawi Congress Party, John Tembo, and UDF leader in the National Assembly, George Ntafu, of trying to sabotage the budget.

Tembo, who heads the country’s largest party, responded that the opposition was just doing its job by questioning “certain allocations”.

According to the Malawi Economic Justice Network, an advocacy NGO, the delay in passing the budget could jeopardise Malawi’s chances of having US$3 billion of foreign debt forgiven. Securing the write-off hinges on an International Monetary Fund team, due in the country to assess the government’s performance under its Poverty Reduction Growth Facility. ‘ Malawi Nation.

August 2006
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