November 3, 2011 by newsdzezimbabwe
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has decided to take a month-long holiday in Australia after the end of the Commonwealth summit while the people of Malawi struggle with fuel shortage, forex scarcity and economic turmoil, Nyasa Times has learnt.
The Malawi ruler according to top sources he has pencilled in the return home on December 28, 2011.
The 78-year-old ruler has been accused of demanding US$500,000 from National Bank of Malawi for himself and First Lady Callista Mutharika.
“They needed US$ 273,000 in cash and the rest to be loaded in their cards,” a top source said.
However, the National Bank said they could not manage that amount of forex to one family and he forced Reserve Bank of Malawi to give him that money.
Mutharika had gone to Perth in Australia to attend the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The Malawi delegation, which included his younger brother and heir apparent, Peter Mutharika the foreign affairs minister has since returned home after the summit, ended on October 30.
State House could not deny that Mutharika would return in December.
An official said the president was not so much on holiday but on leave to ‘reflect on the Malawian crisis’.
Malawi is in an economical turmoil with a budget deficit of 40 percent for the 2011/2012 financial year.
Tobacco sales, Malawi’s major forex earner have hit the bottom low with volumes in sales done by almost 50 percent compared to 2010 translating to a loss of over US$200 million.
And its donors are not willing to release over US$500 million in aid.
For instance, the World Bank is concerned with threats to press freedom and what it terms ‘shrinking political space’ in reference to intolerance by the current leadership to dissenting views.
Similarly, Malawi’s Common Approach to Budgetary Support (CABS), which comprises of influential donors such as Germany, UK, US, Norway, African Development Bank, said it is highly concerned with the government’s failure to adhere to the rule of law and good governance.