APM secretly inspects Bingu statue site

President Peter Mutharika’s push for the erection of former president Bingu wa Mutharika’s statue at Parliament premises in Lilongwe took a step further on Friday.

Mutharika “secretly” visited the site at the National Assembly in an effort to keep the public away.

Statue to honour Bingu

If the project goes on, taxpayers will have to fork millions of kwacha to finance the statue of the departed president who is also Peter’s brother who died in April 2012. Erection of the statue was initially slated for last December.

On Friday, Mutharika and Parliament security had to clear the parliamentary premises of any members of the public including staff, to allow the president’s secret visit.

An hour before the president’s arrival, the main entrance to the National Assembly was closed with only security and those on Mutharika’s entourage allowed to enter the premises before the President arrived in a convoy of three vehicles without the usual sirens and police escort.

This journalist, who was already inside the Parliament perimeter, was ordered to leave the premises by security who indicated that the President’s visit was a private affair.

Speaker Richard Msowoya, Clerk of Parliament Fiona Kalemba, State House Chief of Staff Peter Mukhito met the President in a brief meeting which lasted for less than 15 minutes.

When our sister paper Nation on Sunday broke the news on the statue, opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) described the decision to erect the statue now, in honour of what government terms “Bingu’s great contributions to the country’s political and socio-economic sectors”, as a sign of mixing priorities at the time government is struggling to finance its own budget.

The paper reported that government has engaged renowned South African sculptor Jean Doyle’s Artistic Works Holdings Limited, who designed founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s statue which stands at the Memorial Tower in Area 18, Lilongwe to work on the Bingu statue. n

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