Malawi: Government Clarifies On 'Relatives' in Presidential Delegations

Government has issued a statement to explain why President Lazarus Chakwera travelled with his family namely the First Lady, son-in-law, Sean Kampondeni, and daughter Violet Chakwera amidst serious media frenzy and social media gossip regarding the matter.

The statement, which was issued on Wednesday, 28 July 2021 and signed by Government Spokesman and Minister of Information Gospel Kazako reads that the named individuals have travelled with the President because they have important roles to play at the summit.

"For instance, Mr. Kampondeni is the President's Executive Assistant and Director of Communications, Ms. Violet Chakwera is the Personal Assistant to the First Lady while it is traditional worldwide that the First Lady accompanies the President on his travels," it reads in part.

The statement also refutes reports published in the British media that President Chakwera travelled to the UK "to attend a virtual summit blaming internet connectivity in the country".

Government says President Chakwera is attending the Global Education Summit financed by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) slated for July 28-29, 2021 on the invitation of Co-chairs, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and that other attendees include Presidents of Ghana, Sierra Leon, Nigeria and Kenya.

"GPE is the largest global multilateral fund dedicated to education in developing countries which aims at strengthening education systems in developing countries to dramatically increase the number of children who are in school and learning. The Global Education Summit will benefit Malawi in leveraging International Education Grants that will support basic education.

"With economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Malawi's physical presence at the summit is crucial as the country will be among distinguished players in the global education sector, which offers education financing. As a matter of background, Malawi has been a recipient of GPE funding since 2010 (US$ 90 million Fast Track Initiative Catalytic Fund in 2010-2014; US$ 44.5million 2016-2020, Malawi Education Sector Improvement Project; and US$10million grant, accelerated funding on Covid-19 Response May 2020 to November 2021).

"Malawi is in the process of applying for new funding (US$ 57 million from GPE of which US$ 48.7 million has already been approved by the GPE Board) for the Malawi Education Reform Programme (2021-2025). As such, Malawians should be proud that President Chakwera was invited to attend such an important summit as it is an opportunity to negotiate for funding aimed at improving the education standards in the country," reads the statement.

The statement further says the Chakwera administration places matters of education as a priority in its development agenda and such meetings are therefore important in achieving the country's goal in the education sector.

"The Government of Malawi implores all media houses locally and internationally to crosscheck facts with the relevant authorities rather than rushing to publishing inaccurate information that has the potential to damage the reputation of the President and the country," it reads in conclusion.

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