"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Muluzi fails to pay shopping bill amid claims his visit has negatively affected business at Metro Stores

Muluzi rejects K21m Metro bill


16:08:37 - 04 April 2008

president Bakili Muluzi is disputing a K21 million bill that Metro Shop
in Blantyre gave him after his lunch hour shopping binge at the
departmental store on Wednesday.

Press Corporation Limited (PCL), owners of the shop, said Thursday they
were conducting an unscheduled stocktaking to find the validity of the
sales following Muluzi’s contention against the K21 million bill.

Ironically, the UDF is looking for a similar amount to hold a convention on April 24 and the party is short of K9 million.

Muluzi’s visit to the shop has led to loss of sales for the entire day,
according to PCL Group Operations Executive Pius Mulipa who responded
to The Daily Times questionnaire Thursday.

“The bill came to plus K21 million. The bill has not been paid yet,
because it is being disputed…on the grounds that there could be errors
occasioned by the congestion and general stampede, which occurred in
the shop,” Mulipa said.

Mulipa said his group was conducting a stocktaking exercise at the shop
so that they could definitively conclude the validity of Thursday’s

He said the conclusion would be reached today after the stock-take results are out.

The departmental store remained closed since Wednesday following
Muluzi’s decision to pay bills for all other customers he found in the

It turned out chaotic instead and there was a stampede as some people invaded the shop to benefit from Muluzi’s generosity.

Mulipa said the former president’s visit had negatively affected business at the shop.

“The shop closed all afternoon Thursday, which obviously led to loss of
business. A lot of goods and some equipment were damaged in the
stampede that occurred when people rushed onto the shelves,” Mulipa

He also expressed concern about reports that some ordinary customers
who went shopping and were caught up at the store had some of their
goods forcibly taken away from them.

Senior managers of Metro shops and workers were Thursday engaged in
stocktaking, a development that inconvenienced some shoppers in
Blantyre’s central business district.

Muluzi pledged to pay bills for all other customers he found in the shop and reportedly left an open cheque.

The shop is expected to be re-opened today(Friday).

Some UDF Young Democrats Thursday stood on guard at the entrance,
scaring away unsuspecting journalists who went there to follow up on
the incident.

“Shop titsegula mawa lachisanu. Tikupepesa chifukwa chakutsekaku [We
will open the shop tomorrow. We apologise for this
closure—management],” read a notice placed at the exit gate to the
Metro shop.

UDF Deputy Secretary General Hophmally Makande, who was locked inside
the shop on Wednesday evening after Muluzi’s shopping, declined to say
whether Muluzi had paid his bill for all the shoppers or not.

“Ask Metro,” Makande briefly said.

Muluzi arrived well before noon on Wednesday, and apparently
overwhelmed with the people inside and the goods they picked, he told
them to pick two packets of sugar, two loaves of bread and a bottle of
cooking oil only.

Coincidentally, these are goods that Muluzi uses at his political
rallies to demonstrate his economic understanding that prices of basic
commodities are higher during President Bingu wa Mutharika’s time than
during his 10 year regime.

Muluzi himself bought a few groceries and left an open cheque for the shop to bill him on behalf of the other shoppers.

He is on campaign for re-election as UDF presidential candidate for 2009 polls.

He will face Vice-President Cassim Chilumpha at the party’s convention.

The generosity Wednesday came days after UDF flighted adverts in the
media appealing for more money from well-wishers to top up the budget
for the party’s convention, which is K9 million short.

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