A month after President Lazarus Chakwera signed a $6.8 billion (about K7 trillion) grant with Bridgin Foundation, there are still no clear details on the real motivation of such a kind gesture, which is almost three times the country’s national budget.
Isaac Cheke Ziba, Executive Director for a Mzuzu based organization, Social Action for Development-SAFD, says they have received no response from the Foundation and the Belgian government on their request for clarification on the grant.
The grant is widely described as a game-changer by Tonse administration fanatics. If the grant goes beyond paper work, it is expected to finance some high profile projects deemed critical to the country’s attainment of the Vision 2063.
SAFD sought confirmation from the Belgian government, where the Foundation claims is headquatered, if it knew that Bridgin was providing such a huge grant to the Malawi government.
There are still questions and suspicions on the Foundation’s credibility as the “Good Samaritan” does not provide more details on its website citing “security reasons”.
“Information sharing and clarity are important in democratic processes. As Social Action for Development (SAfD), we seek information from both Bridgin Foundation and the Belgian Government about an entity headquartered in their capital, Brussels. Both have our requests for information and are yet to come back to us,” explains Ziba in a written response..
But Ziba says they will not give up until truth is known on the grant.
He adds: “From the 3rd of January 2023, we will vehemently be following this up. All we need is information that is credible independent and clear.”
Days after the grant signing, the Foundation’s Programme Director, Christophene Prieels hit back at critics, calling on Malawians to embrace mindset change; saying the grant wasn’t even much in terms of development for the country.