Malawi: Chakwera's Spin Doctor Defends Blair Engagement, Says No Cost to Malawi Taxpayer

President Lazarus Chakwera (file photo).
1 December 2020

State House has dismissed media reports that the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (TBIGC), which is expected to establish a Delivery Unit to help the government in service delivery, will siphon taxpayer's money through salaries and other expenditures, saying the government would not spend any money on the service.

Speaking at Sanjika Palace on Monday through the Weekly Brief program, the executive assistant to the President, who is also director of communications at State Residencies, Sean Kampondeni, said that Blair has committed to provide the service at no cost to the Malawian taxpayer.

"These people are here, committed to assist the country, and the President is welcoming of any help, from any experts, who are willing to do so without taking advantage of the Malawian people, and taxpayers money," said Kampondeni.

He said the institute would assist Chakwera's office to install a delivery unit to address deficiencies within the government machinery.

Kampondeni said : "There are issues of unprofessionalism, incompetence and people occupying positions they are not qualified for, among others, so one of the things President Chakwera has out on his agenda is to set up delivery unit that diagnoses capacity deficiencies in the State machinery so that his Cabinet, advisers and staff can address the gaps."

Recent Social Media reports observed that Blair was only coming to Malawi to harvest poor people's taxes.

The reports further said that per year, Malawi would be spending over MK700 million to pay Blair's people, and that they would provide them with offices, posh houses as well as expensive cars, all on the heads of taxpayers.

Observed the commentators, President Chakwera has 21 advisors and does not need to engage a foreign organization to help him govern. The Institute had also partnered with former President Joyce Banda's administration and had failed her, said the reports.

Kampondeni revealed that the Blair team will help President Chakwera achieve two things, namely helping the Tonse Government address capacity deficiencies within the government machinery, and would also help the President, as an incoming chair of SADC with insight on governance issues since Blair institute has had its operations in 16 African countries over the past decade.

Kampondeni further said the Blair institute does not set any agenda for countries but only helps the governments in implementing their agendas.

On the accusation that Blair worked with former president Joyce Banda in 2012, and the looting of money in a scandal that is now known as Cashgate happened while they were in the country and therefore must not be engaged again, Kampondeni revealed that during that time the focus of Blair was to provide a metric of performance at the office of the President and Cabinet which is still used to date.

"They were not involved, nor were they engaged in 2012 in providing any expertise or counsel or advice related to Malawi's financial system. They did not work with the Ministry of Finance nor did they work with the Treasury and as everybody knows, these are the institutions where the looting took place," said Kampondeni.

Tony Blair, who is the Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change is Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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