Malawi: HRDC Lobby MPs to Block Mutharika's 'Illogical' Stadium Projects

9 September 2019

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) said it will lobby members of parliament against allocating funds Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Be Forward Wanderers stadia projects.

Mtambo (centre) and HRDC officials: Why Mutharika would want to build stadiums for privately-owned football clubs.

President Peter Mutharika, during one of his campaign rallies for May elections, promised to build stadiums for Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.

On Wednesday, Mutharika met with Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and representatives of Bullets and Wanderers at the Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, and assured the two clubs that he will keep his election campaign to build stadiums for them.

He went further to say that the stadia projects will be included in the 2019/2020 National Budget.

But HRDC has branded the stadia projects as "illogical, lack of prioritisation and a outright ause of public funds" for government to finance projects for commercial entities, saying the money could be used prudently to build schools, buy medical supplies and critical needs that have been neglected.

HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo an acerbic critic of the Mutharika regime, said the funds meants for the privately-owned football clubs.would instead be channelled to the health and education sector.

Mtmabo said Mutharika if he insist on the projects he should personally use his cash and not taxpayers money.

"We cannot allow abuse of public resources when we arec already striuggling financially as a nation," said Mtambo.

Mtambo said it is "illogical" for the President and government to fund luxuries for commercial entities when pupils are still learning under trees without adequeate learning and teaching materials in many schools in the country.

He pointed out that two clubs are private firms that are in business and are making profits.

But Mutharika has defended the move as one way of developing football in the country. He said the stadiums will always be used and enjoyed by the public.

Commentators say they would have excused Mutharika if he had said he would offer the two football clubs tax-waivers on materials for building their stadia.

"Why should Malawians, who have to go to hospitals that have no medicine, have to send their children to learn under a tree and walk long distances on rugged roads to access social amenities build stadia for privately-run football clubs?

"This country is known for having visionless leaders, whose priorities are upside down. Is building stadiums for football clubs what DPP calls wise and dynamic leadership? Do not lead us to destruction Mr President. This country does not owe Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers a stadium. Let them build the stadiums from their coffers, not from public coffers. This is unacceptable and the sooner this madness is stopped, the better," reads part of a newspaper column on Sunday.

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