MALAWI: Press Review January - February 2010

22.03.2010 16:44 by Jose Luis Gutierrez Aranda (comments: 0)

News clippings with analysis from the Major newspapers in Malawi



Members of Parliament in Malawi are never short of controversies. It all started with their proposal to have their allocation of fuel revised upwards. The Legislators would want to have 500 litres of fuel per month for each one of them.  There are 193 members of the National Assembly. Their wish is somehow strange. According to some writers who made calculations 500 litres of fuel is just too much for the legislators.

Some observers have noted that the fuel allocation increase will be like another salary raise for the MPs because they get money equivalent to the litres of fuel. If government approves their proposal it means each of the MPs will be going home with the cash and not the actual fuel. Only God knows if all this money is going to be used for its intended purpose.

Already there have been reports of some legislators who desert their constituencies after winning their parliamentary seat. These members are seen in cities and have no time to visit the people who put them into power. One wonders why such MPs are making demands for more fuel allocations when they do not make trips to their constituencies. Of what use is the extra fuel they are demanding?

The same MPs have also had their sitting allowance raised from K15,000 to K20,000.  MPs  have at times  used their positions to have their allowances and other benefits  increased, when they are failing to discuss other more important issues that would benefit many poor Malawians. It is like they first of all care about their own welfare and care less about the voters. Not so long ago some MPs failed to make it back to parliament because of this same care free attitude.

We also agree with political analyst Dr Augustin Magolowondo who noted that 193 constituencies are just too many and therefore too much for a country like Malawi. Still being a poor small country with very minimal resources the number of constituencies is too much. Just like they (MPs) wanted to trim the number of councilors it would not be of any harm if the number of legislators was also chopped.


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