President Lazarus Chakwera’s pledge to give each Flames player who played against Senegal K1 million and K500,000 to those on the bench came under scrutiny on the BBC Focus on Africa programme Tuesday evening.
During an interview with Bola Mosuro, Information Minister Gospel Kazako backed the decision arguing that it’s in line with Malawian culture of doing things the way it wants adding that the country is moving in the right direction.
This comes against a background of economic hardships the people are facing and the presenter questioned the timing of the decision noting that the President could have focused on pressing needs than making pledges to the national team.
Musuro also claimed that Malawians writing on the BBC page argued that the players have already been paid hence no need for the pledges and bonuses.
Kazako nonetheless backed the move stating that Malawian culture promotes the exchange of gifts during happy and sad occasions such as funerals, weddings and engagements.
He therefore described the attacks and criticisms as unwarranted and unjustifiable.
“You might wish to know that it’s not just President Lazarus Chakwera that has pledged things of value. You are looking at so many Malawians, so many business men some are giving eggs some are giving animals some are giving land
“I think this story somehow to me is smelling some fragrance of imperialism of some nature because these things happen in America, it happens in Britain there you do these things one way or the other, so this is how we do things you know, accept that this is how we do things.
“We accept we are poor yes, but we are not poor to an extent that we cannot exchange gifts. In our culture we give gifts it could be animals, it could be land, it could be money and the thinking that this is wrong because we have problems I think that’s very retrogressive.
When pressed further if the gift was from the President’s pocket or from public coffers, the Government’s spin doctor was quick to point out that it is Malawi money happening in Malawi and going to Malawians.
“ I think as I said this is not smelling good at all cause what you are saying basically is to say you are poor and you cannot give each other gifts. You’re saying you're poor then you can’t motivate each other, you're poor then you cannot do anything I think we don’t have to be looking at things that way.”
He backed the President’s move which he said many people are happy with even from the comments on the BBC website.
The Information Minister faulted Mosuro's line of thinking which he said is guiding and directing Malawians on how to motivate the players.
In the course of the interview, he reminded the BBC reporter on how well Malawi had managed to hold Senegal which is a big team and how the southern African nation had been robbed a penalty and victory
Kazako bemoaned the general phobia coming from the BBC that the poor should not motivate their people.
Not wanting to be outdone, Mosuro however corrected him stating that many contributors on the BBC website were cheering the Flames despite being underdogs and that the comments were very balanced.
Below are some more of the sentiments.