DPP MP Chilenga’s hefty self-serving retirement package proposal courts HRDC wrath

Malawi’s firebrand human rights watchdog, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), has condemned a proposal by the members of Parliament (MPs) to introduce retirement packages for lawmakers amidst economic challenges that have slowed down general development of the country.

The condemnation follows revelations that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator for Chitipa South, Werani Chilenga, intends to move a motion in the august House proposing that MPs grant themselves substantial retirement packages disregarding the prevailing dire circumstances faced by the Malawian population due to the ongoing economic challenges.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence argues that the evident pursuit of self-interest and greed exhibited by the MPs deeply concerns (us) and undermines the cherished principles of justice and fairness upon which our nation stands.

“In the midst of an economic crisis that has inflicted severe hardships upon the citizens of Malawi, causing them to grapple with unmet basic needs and escalating difficulties, it is inconceivable that elected representatives would prioritize personal gains over their duty to serve the people. HRDC perceives this action as a significant infringement on the fundamental human rights of Malawians, further exacerbating existing inequality and poverty. This decision not only stands as an injustice but also sends a disheartening message that the voices and concerns of ordinary citizens are being disregarded and silenced,” reads part of the statement.

Trapence: That is greed

HRDC vows that as an organization unwaveringly dedicated to safeguarding human rights, it shall not remain passive bystanders while such grave injustice unfolds.

“HRDC is unwaveringly committed to pursuing legal avenues to challenge this reprehensible act and thwart the implementation of these self-serving retirement packages. We pledge to exhaust every available legal means to ensure that those responsible for such actions are held accountable. We firmly believe that the focus of the Parliament should be directed towards resolving the ongoing economic crisis that grips Malawi. Issues such as fuel and forex shortages, coupled with the rising prices of essential commodities like maize, have left Malawians struggling, unable to access basic necessities through ADMARC depots,” says Trapence in the statement.

The coalition has called upon lawmakers to demonstrate sensitivity to the prevailing crisis, stressing that the current state finds Malawi grappling with a staggering K7.9 trillion debt thus it should be evident that failing to service these debts raises the critical question of where the government will find additional resources to finance the proposed gratuity.

“In our plea for justice, transparency, and the well-being of our nation, HRDC urges all Malawians who share these values to unite in support of our mission. We are resolute in our endeavor to combat greed and inequality. Together, we can safeguard the rights and interests of our people, upholding the foundational tenets of democracy that define our society. HRDC is steadfast in its commitment to protect and advocate for human rights. We will remain the steadfast voice of the marginalized, persistently demanding accountability and fairness for all. Let us stand united in this pursuit of justice and collaborate to create a Malawi where the rights and dignity of every citizen are upheld with reverence,” concludes Trapence.

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