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United Independent Party demands ban of Pres. Banda’s donations

The United Independent Party (UIP) presidential candidate Hellen Singh says the directive that stops politicians from making donations to public institutions during the campaign period should also be extended to President Joyce Banda.

Officials in the Ministry of health recently rejected a donation of 3 million kwacha from United Democratic Front (UDF) presidential candidate Atupele Muluzi meant to help in addressing some challenges facing the country’s three referral health facilities, the Queen Elizabeth, Kamuzu and Mzuzu central hospitals.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry Chris Kang’ombe claimed that the order came from the Malawi Electoral Commission.

In a public statement, the ministry advised all politicians and political parties wanting to make donations to central hospitals to wait until after the May 20 general election.

Reads part of the statement: “As regards the offer from the UDF, it is welcome but we are considering the timing of the donation that makes us rather uncomfortable.

“It would be difficult for some sections of the population not to view the donation more of a political campaign rather than pure social responsibility. We would therefore advise the UDF and indeed any political party or individual politician of similar intention to keep any donation intended for the hospitals until after the elections on 20th May, 2014”

However, MEC officials denied issuing the directive arguing the Electoral Act is silent on the matter.

According to Singh, the refusal by the Ministry means President Banda is also wrong to distribute cattle, maize and houses, if the playing field was to be leveled.

She said such handouts by the President may influence voters during an election, therefore called upon citizens to start demanding their rights on matters that affect their welfare.

President Banda is currently in the northern region for a weeklong visit where she among other things handed over 10 houses which have been rehabilitated at Chisusu Village in Mzimba under her Mudzi Transformation initiative, and launched her People’s Party campaign in Mzuzu.

The President has also been distributing maize to households affected by hunger, including distributing cows to selected households under ‘A Cow A Family Project’.

She also continues receiving massive coverage of her activities on the state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), a development that had been heavily criticized by both opposition political parties and other electoral stakeholders.

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