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Malawi's Press Secretary Dismisses Anti-Strike Rumor

The Malawian government is denying that President Bingu Wa Mutharika has warned a group of students not to go on strike. Media reports said the president told students in post-secondary institutions that a strike would scare away potential investors and would be like declaring war on him. There have been indications that some students in post-secondary institutions were planning to disrupt their graduation ceremonies because the government has not given them their book and stationary allowances. But Mr. Mutharika’s press secretary, Chimubutso Mtumodzi, dismisses those reports. From the capital, Lilongwe, he talked to VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey.

“To begin with there is nothing like that and I don’t know where the media is getting it from. That is on the 3rd of June Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika was at Chancellor College, where he presided over the presentation ceremony of degrees certificates and diplomas. So there is nothing like that in as far as I know.”

Mtumodzi said those concerned about the president’s ability to solve the problems at post-secondary institutions were misled. “You see for the first time in the history of Malawi, the president has made it a point that there is adequate funding to the University of Malawi. You know between 1994 and 2004 the universities in Malawi were closing prematurely and they are always underfunded.”

He dismissed allegations made by the opposition concerning the perceived poor investment climate in the country. “The investment climate in Malawi is very conducive and inviting in the sense that security has actually been given priority and the head of state in the last three or four months or during the opening of the international trade fair in Blantyre made it clear that the police is supposed to protect all the people regardless of their status. Because investment climate can actually be conducive if there is sort of security and Malawi should be a secured state and that has been one of the things that has been lacking in the last 10 years.”

He added, “As a matter of fact, on the 3rd of June Prince Abdul Aziz Faoud of Saudi Arabia came to Malawi as part of his 16-nation tour. And the whole purpose of coming to Malawi was for discussing investment prospect with his Excellency Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika.”

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