29 January 2019

Malawi: PP Says Mutharika in Misleading Claims Against Joyce Banda

People's Party (PP) spokesperson Ackson Kalaile-Banda has said President Peter Mutharika who is the torchbearer for the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the May 21 Tripartite Elections, on Sunday made some statements and assertions against former president Joyce Banda (JB) which are "startlingly not true."

Kalaile-Banda told Nyasa Times thay Mutharika incorrectly told Malawians during his whistle-stop tour in Blantyre about the construction of Bingu National Stadium, that former president Banda, halted the project.

"Let it be reiterated here that the construction of the stadium took shape under JB's reign. Her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, died before he could implement the idea. JB is also the one who changed Bingu's plan to have the Chinese-funded stadium built in Lilongwe not Blantyre," said the PP spokesperson.

Kalaile said according to the 2012 China-Malawi agreement signed by the then Finance Minister Dr Ken Lipenga, the project duration was two years, starting from 1 July 2013 to November 30 2015, saying when the ground was broken, the project ran steadily. This is why he was able to inaugurate the facility in 2016.

"The delay however, came when he, [President Mutharika], came into power. Firstly, there was proliferation of theft cases on the site. This affected the duration of the project. Secondly, and more significantly, there were disagreements on naming. While all stakeholders wanted it to be called Lilongwe Stadium, DPP-led government insisted that it would be called Bingu National Stadium. There was even debate in Parliament on this in 2015," he added.

President Mutharika also accused Banda for failing to finish the construction of Masauko-Chipembere Highway, Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), and BICC, saying " the DPP government has finished all of these projects."

PP spokesperson said Banda did not tamper with the progress of the University.

"The prolongation of the project was rather technical," he pointed out.

He said the Banda-led government actually secured funds for furniture and fittings, books and teaching materials since the loan secured from China had been for construction of university buildings only.

"As a matter of fact, the university opened its doors in March, 2014 by JB herself, months before APM took over the presidency from her. So which MUST did he complete?

"It's the same with the Bingu International Conventional Center which the five-star hotel is part of. Opened on 1 May, 2015, the construction of the business premises never saw any stoppage, let alone abandonment, as asserted by APM until its completion.

"Umodzi Holdings' records show that significant work was completed while JB was still in power. And when Peermont was signing the management contract with Umodzi in October 2014, what was remaining was some fittings here and there, and some interior design finishes."


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