Malawi president blames unrest on aid groups and foreign donors

Reuters reported that Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has accused Western donors of supporting and funding a growing opposition movement that is challenging his leadership.

In a speech on Sunday broadcast on state radio, the President told his supporters to "step in and defend their father rather than just sit back and watch him take crap from donors and rights groups. If donors say this is not democracy, to hell with you… yes, I'm using that word, tell them to go to hell."

According to BBC, Mutharika said he has intelligence reports that suggest Western donor nations are conspiring with civil society groups in planning demonstrations that have rocked the country for months.

"I want to tell you that this month of March they are preparing, with some money from donors, to stage demonstrations and vigils," Mutharika is quoted by France 24 as saying in a ceremony to name a new road in his honor.

Malawi's civil society umbrella group, the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations (CONGOMA), denounced the President's speech as incitement.

"The president should be tired of the problems on the ground, not his critics," the BBC quoted CONGOMA chairperson Voice Mhone as saying in a statement. "Unless he exerts all his energy and resources in finding solutions the criticism will not stop."

Foreign aid accounts for about 40 per cent of Malawi's budget but assistance has been stopped by Western nations after police crackdowns on opposition demonstrations killed 20 people.

The IMF also cancelled a loan program after the violence.

Malawi's economic growth was quickly stemmed by the aid freeze causing a foreign currency shortage and essential items such as gasoline and medicine to run out.

Malawi is considered one of the poorest countries on earth with 75 per cent of people living on less than $1 per day.

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