Atupele Muluzi leader of United Democratic Front (UDF), The first party to lead Malawi under Multiparty rule has serious doubts about the leadership of Lazarus Chakwera on the Management of the Coronavirus.
Sharing on his ever-popular Facebook page Atupele writes:
My fellow Malawians, watching the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the country under the governance of the new administration, one would wonder if indeed COVID-19 is indeed a priority.
I raise 11 points for your consideration:
1. Leadership is seen through the commitments made in the national budget but as far as President Chakwera’s administration is concerned, there are no COVID-19 funds allocated in the national budget.
2. The DPP administration established up to 41 sites for testing across the country but as we speak only 11 of these sites have testing kits. The public is struggling to get tested, we are witnessing both cases and deaths being underreported also a result of limited testing abilities in the country. This is seriously undervaluing the gravity of this pandemic in the country.
3. Health workers across the country are demotivated by inadequate PPEs and allowances. As the numbers of infected health workers increase across the country. What plans does the government have to support our health workers who are infected? None, certainly nothing we can see.
4. The APM administration had initiated risk allowances for all health workers and unfortunately, we do not see any plans to implement this under the new leadership.
5. The APM administration had set aside 6.2 Billion Malawi Kwacha to cushion low income urban dwellers with social cash transfers. The Tonse Alliance has removed this showing how much it does not appreciate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the poor Malawian, who live on hand-to mouth and depend on small businesses for their daily living. Urban Malawians will be poorer and poorer.
6. The treatment centers that the DPP administration put up are now stretched, what is this new government doing to providing extra space? During your campaign, Malawians were promised you would turn state houses into treatment centers, we are still waiting, Malawians are still waiting.
7. A presidential task force full of cabinet ministers was appointed in the DPP government time but it was demeaned. This government has done the same, on what moral basis were they disparaging the previous government?
8. We are now seeing increasing teenage pregnancies across the country. This means socioeconomically we will see a less empowered girl-child and we are not seeing how the government is taking care of these issues. What plans are there to make sure girls are back to school or are exposed to school environment even in time of Covid-19 as we are in?
9. The Chakwera administration must know that campaign season is over, and it is time to act and fulfill what they promised to Malawians. We have lost men and women prematurely due to COVID-19, may their souls rest in peace. We see people being sent back daily from health facilities due to inadequate testing. Cases have not reduced; neither has the death rate. We are just not testing enough. Malawians are dying daily; Malawians are being infected daily. More than what is being reported. Yet still COVID-19 does not seem to be a priority for the administration.
10. The DPP led government provided money for the procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 isolation sites, such as ventilators, oxygen cylinders, patient monitors, and newly opened oxygen gas plant at QECH and the gas plant underway in KCH…. these are DPP led initiatives, we want to see what the new government will do.
11. Lastly, it is not clear how the coordination for COVID fight is being handled. Is it DoDMA, is it OPC or some hired officer to do the work? Without clearly defining the coordinating office, the battle is almost lost.