Malawi: Blair Coming to Harvest Taxes of Poor Malawi People, Chakwera Wrong to Entertain This Nonsense - Critic

President Lazarus Chakwera (file photo).
30 November 2020

A social media activist Onjezani Kenani has lashed out at reports that former United Kingdom (UK) prime minister Tony Blair wants to set up an advisory office on governance results delivery at Malawi State House and the Office of the President and Cabinet, saying their activities will be opaque as they coming to feast on the poor people's tax money.

According to Tony Blair's website, the Blair Institute is looking to set up a new project to support the government of Malawi to strengthen its delivery and implementation mechanisms.

Kenani took to Facebook to query Blair activities: "What do they mean, 'strengthening delivery in the Presidency'? It means nothing. They are simply coming to harvest the taxes of the poor, like they did last time. All paid for by the poor people of Malawi. This is not right. President Lazarus Chakwera is wrong to entertain this nonsense."

He noted that Blair Institute are already recruiting the people who will be paid for by the taxes of the poor in Malawi.

Blair has been criticised for being opaque.

"When [Peter] Mutharika stole the election, these people did not speak. Their newspapers - Africa Confidential and Foreign Policy - were busy laughing at our efforts to take the case to court.

" When Mutharika tried to rape the constitution in the Chief Justice saga, these people did not say a word. The moment we won, they came running with all sorts of ideas, just so they can harvest taxes of the poor. Taking advantage of the fact that we consider anyone from Europe as better than ourselves," wrote Kenani.

He further pointed out that President Chakwera has 21 advisors. Six of them - called Chief Advisors - are at the same rank as Cabinet ministers. They even drive the same types of vehicles, the Prados. The other 15 - special advisors - drive Toyota Fortuners.

"With such a phalanx of advisors, Dr Chakwera's government still wants to bring in Tony Blair's people. It would have been OK if they were to be paid by their own resources but no, we will be paying for everything.

"The poor who are sleeping on queues to buy fertilizers will be paying for everything. The poor without medicine and equipment in hospitals will be paying for everything. K700 million per year.

"This is sad. If you guys have run out of ideas to run this country just say so," wrote Kenani.

TheTony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), a charity set up by the former prime minister, opened the same office in Malawi during the Joyce Banda administration but closed down soon after the K30 billion 'cashgate' corruption scandal emerged.

The AGI had been working closely with Mrs Banda and stepped up its "Malawi project" when it sent four advisers to the capital Lilongwe since July 2012 and the agreement was to support President Banda up to the presidential election in 2014.

Banda lost the elections but helped to propel the incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera to power through the Tonse Alliance and is a close ally to the Head of State.

The Blair Institute says will seek to strengthen connections with other key ministries and agencies both in the centre (the vice president's office and the ministry of Finance and Economic Planning).

"Our Malawi team may extend to include advisors in these or other Ministries, depending on the sectoral priorities of the Presidency," said the Blair Institute.

It said President Chakwera is looking to strengthen the capacity of his government to implement his vision for development, as outlined in his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) manifesto and in the manifestos of parties in his Tonse alliance.

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