LILONGWE-The presidential jet that the Malawi government bought during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime and attracted the wrath of both the developing partners and fellow countrymen is up for grabs.
Bought in 2009, it was felt that it was not prudent for Malawi to purchase such an expensive jet at the time the countryâ€™s economy was in tatters.
But president Mutharika and his DPP cohorts defended the purchase to theÂ word although Malawiâ€™s economy is still in ailing.
Information minister and government spokesperson during the time the Mutharika led government denied that the purchase of the French made Dassault Falcon 900Ex jet was controversial, pronouncing it was less experience to buy thanÂ hiring whenever the president travelled.
The United Democratic Front was among the opposition parties and civil society groups that condemned the purchase, saying the move signified misplaced governmentÂ priorities as the timing was very wrong and secretive.
One of the countryâ€™s major aid donors, Britain reacted by reducing budget support, to make it clear that their funding ought to be spent in ways that benefit the poor masses.
And it is not surprising that immediately Joyce Banda took over government decided otherwise.Â Banda was vice to the late president Bingu Mutharika at the time the jet was purchased.
Mrs Joyce Banda ascended to the presidency after the sudden death of Bingu wa Mutharika in April this year.
The Malawi leader empowered a special cabinet committee to explore the best avenue of getting rid of the jet because she would not be comfortable to use while the economy of the country was in in a mess.
The recommendation of the committee whose observation is that it will be more expensive to lease the aircraft than sell it off completely has therefore concurred with the presidentâ€™s desire to have the plane disposed of.
Information minister and government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu has confirmed that the cabinet recently met to look at the recommendation by the committee that was tasked on the controversial jet.
Purchase of the jet was estimated at US$22 million an annual running costs of over US$600,000.
Tags: Presidential jet