Malawi president to supporters: 'Defend your father'

    Bingu Wa Mutharika, president of Malawi. Photo by: Eric Miller / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA

    Malawi’s president has had enough. He said if donors want to withdraw from Malawi, “let them leave and go.”

    Bingu wa Mutharika made the bold statement on Sunday (March 4) at a ceremony naming a new road in his honor. He accused Western donors of funding demonstrations by opposition groups questioning his personal wealth. He urged his supporters to “step in” and ”defend their father.”

    Malawi has seen a number of aid freezes last year. Germany, Norway, Ireland, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Millennium Challenge Corp., the European Union and the United Kingdom have stopped supporting Malawi because of human rights issues. The country’s parliament tweaked a law penalizing homosexuality and expanding the government’s control of the media in 2010.

    The pullouts have left a hole in Malawi’s budget, of which 40 percent comes from foreign aid. It also threatens the AIDS fight in the country and hurting its economic growth, AlertNet reports.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.