Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Dr Lazarus Chakwera, has refused to comment on the issue of salary increment by government for Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament.

Chakwera in a Press briefing held on Monday in Lilongwe said as an MP and Leader of Opposition he has conditions of services and therefore cannot respond to media reports.

Chakwera said he will wait for official communication adding that it’s not about him but rather Malawi.

Chakwera’s salary, has been raised from K600 000 per month to K1 608 million representing a rise of 168 percent plus fuel coupons of 1 000 litres per month and K350 000 as housing allowance as he is paid on scale of cabinet ministers.

The 193 Malawi parliament will be getting K600 000 ($1,150) per month from K126 000, representing 376 percent. They will also 1 000 litres per month in fuel allowance and K350 000 as housing allowance.

MCP spokeswoman Dr Jessie Kabwila, known for being critical, has said the salary hikes were justifiable.

Kabwila said MPs, who were lowly paid, spend a lot in their respective constituencies by helping people but asked government to explain to the nation the justifications so that tax payers should understand.

“Government should have explained how we work as MPs, how lowly paid we were and how we spend personal money in our constituencies,” Kabwila is quoted in the Nation on Sunday.

“I can challenge you; an MP cannot retain a seat if they do not give anything to the constituents. We take almost all our earnings to the people we serve,” she said.

But opposition Peoples Party (PP) spokesperson Ken Msonda described the development as “strange”, saying it has send signals that government has money and that it must immediately adjust salaries for teachers and all other sectors that are demanding pay hikes including a constitutional body, the
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB and the Judiciary.

According to Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa the hikes were in line with the 2014/15 National Budget.

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