The State House Director of Media Marketing, Martha Chikuni, has hired a horde of mercenary journalists and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) social media enthusiasts to propagate a smear campaign against Kuwait Dynamic/Fisd, which was the lowest bidder in the controversial Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) project.

SRWB recently awarded a contract to Alghanim/Plem at $16.3 million, leaving out a Kuwait Dynamic Limited/Fisd, which quoted the contract at $12.3 million.

This was after Alghanim/Plem, a company owned by Malawians Asian origin, had successfully bribed the Internal Procurement Committee (IPC) at the water utility body.

If the project was to take off immediately, Malawians would have been made to cough MK1.6 billion more than what Kuwait Dynamic/Fisd had offered.

The development angered the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), which demanded an investigation into the procurement process that led to the awarding of a contract to Alghanim/Plem by the Southern Region Water Board (SRWB).

CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa, in a statement he issued immediately after the revelation of the shaddy deal, expressed concern that the multi-million Kwacha contract is being awarded at a time when the Malawi government is struggling to provide essential services to its citizens such as drugs in our public health facilities across the country.

Namiwa wondered why the Tonse government would allow such an extravagance at a time Malawi is struggling to offset the huge external debts from international financial institutions.

“And yet SRWB can afford the luxury of offering a contract to a very expensive bidder! It is a well-known fact that the loan for the project from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, will be paid using taxpayers’ money,” read the statement in part.

Namiwa said it was high time the country started reducing its external debts through prudent use of funds, and not by being extravagant, thereby exposing Malawians to more untold misery. But it has now emerged that in a last ditch attempt to achieve their goal, Alghanim/Plem has reportedly released millions of kwacha to Chikuni to propagate smear campaign against local firm.

“They are using social media to tarnish the image of the local company. It’s very surprising that the Tonse government, whose leaders – Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima – usurped power from Arthur Peter Mutharika on the promise to end corruption, is harbouring corrupt officers right at the State House,” said a concerned Malawian and social media user based in Lilongwe.

Another social media user, Rodgers Kadiso, took a swipe at Chikuni for lacking patriotism. Kadiso wondered whether this could happen in Asian countries.

“I would like to plead with Chakwera and Chilima to dismiss officers who are bent on serving the interest of their bellies at the expense of the national good. Chikuni has just demonstrated her lack of patriotism by taking a bribe from Alghanim/ Plem,” he said. [

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