Chilima challenges Mutharika on Malawi Covid-19 response: ‘Crisis of public trust’

Malawi’s estranged State Vice President Saulos Chilima has said citizens’ loss of trust in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government is affecting the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Chilima:  Malawi now requires a unifying leader, who is not absent from duties, but takes a non-partisan leading role in the fight against the virus pandemic.

In his televised address on issues of national importance on Sunday evening, Chilima said that it is clear that majority of Malawians are not trusting information on Convid-19 from government officials which is undermining efforts to fight the pandemic.

“It is clear to everyone that government faces serious deficit of trust among majority of Malawians.  The public reaction to information from the government on Covid-19 proves one key thing -the public does not recognise the current leadership as a credible source of information,” said Chilima.

His comments comes after Lilongwe City South West legislator Ulemu Msungama and Kaliyeka ward councillor Richard Banda, who is also deputy mayor of Lilongwe, doubted the authenticity of the Covid-19 results and questioned the manner in which the whole process was conducted in Lilongwe.

This led to Lilongwe City Council (LCC) inviting relevant stakeholders, who included the district health officer (DHO), Malawi Defence Force (MDF), police and the city’s MPs—Msungama, Alfred Jiya and Nancy Tembo—to find a way forward on the Kaliyeka issue, where medical staff are supposed to collect blood samples and trace contacts of those suspected to have interacted with positive cases.

Malawi needs unifying leader

In his national address, Chilima said the loss of trust hampers government’s efforts to fight the pandemic as people cannot cooperate and this leads to people ignoring measures to combat the pandemic.

The Veep said the fight against coronavirus should be owned by Malawians, warning that the current luck of trust by the public will lead to disaster.

Chilima said the nation now requires a unifying leader, who is not absent from duties, but takes a non-partisan leading role in the fight against the pandemic.

“President[Peter  Mutharika should, for once, demonstrate leadership by  inviting opposition leaders, civil society leaders, religious leaders, captains of the industry and even celebrities to be part of the national response,” he said.

Malawi’s government has been publicly criticised for its response to the pandemic, particularly its decision to set up a Covid-19 committee consisting only of ministers from the ruling party.

Chilima then condemned some Cabinet ministers who he said are hell bent on eroding the little trust by organising public rallies while people are being chased from churches during worship.

“How can people trust the government then?”

Chilima said nobody should use Covid-19 pandemic to gain political mileage.

“The stakes are way too high for us to be grandstanding and seeking to gain political advantage out of this,” he said.


He also rapped some ministers who are also directly involved in procuring resources for Covid-19 such as personal protective equipment.

Lockdown review

On impending lockdown, Chilima said there is need to first put the house in order before effecting the nationwide lockdown, stressing that the lockdown that government announced and challenged by human rights groups was not well thought after and was rushed.

Last week, demonstrations took place throughout the country protesting against the lockdown which is feared by a majority population as being more dangerous than the pandemic itself.

Chilima said for instance there is need to know the full extent of the pandemic, and if Malawians have what they need to fully comply with the restrictions while maintaining preventive measures.

“Locking people away from their homes without clear and deliberate public health strategy for steering the lockdown is condemning them to hunger. Majority of people would not sustain themselves during lockdown,” pointed out Chilima.

He said banking on using force to enforce the lockdown would be pinning people against the armed forces and a recipe for social unrest.

The Veep said there is urgent need to abandon or revisit the self-isolation or self-quarantine strategy saying so far it is not working to abate the spread of the pandemic.

Chilima also urged government to scale up testing capacity, and procure more testing kits.

“Lack of testing leads to undetected spread of the virus, thus endangering the lives of many Malawians,” said Chilima.

‘Covid-19 is real’

Chilima appealed to Malawians to follow hygiene procedures such as social distancing and washing hands to avoid contracting the virus and spreading the same.

“I want to urge all Malawians not to be deceived. Covid-19 is real and it is here. It is a dangerous disease which currently has no cure,” he said.

He also paid tribute to healthcare workers, frontline officers who are following up on cases of Covid-19 and conducting contact tracing, workers who are collecting samples and testing as well as doctors and nurses who are caring for the sick.

“You are this nation’s finest. The brave of our bravest. We salute your immeasurable sacrifice and promise to stand with you during this hour of uncertainty and danger,” he said.

Malawi has so far registered 34 cases of coronavirus – with three confirmed deaths – but frontline staff say the country’s health sector is ill-equipped and unprepared to respond to the pandemic.

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2 years ago

Someone had to stand up and tell the nation what is going on regarding Covid 19. I don’t think we would have gotten to this state of affairs had DPP/APM acknowledged that we have a national crisis which requires inclusive participation for solutions. Why the general public distrusts government is because you cannot rule out partisan politics in this crisis. It is common knowledge that the more the cases of affected people the more it suits DPP to declare deferment of the fresh presidential election. This would give the DPP government more time to loot the country bare. Have you… Read more »

2 years ago
Reply to  Mtete

Poor Mtete, has the government not done something to your knowledge? We have heard the president addressing the nation, setting up a committee that is responsible to deal with this pandemic. Appeal from well wisher to support and the lockdown you rushed to stop at the court. In your imagination, you wanted govt to make special invitations, or them guest of honour to Covid 19 ? Already, the opposition mind was on election not Covid 19. Infact they even refused there is no Covid 19 in Malawi. How do you work with people who are on denial, have no regard… Read more »

Kuswa Kuswa
2 years ago

Arafat Zeze and his friends fake accent ex-reverend and Timothy Ntumbo have taken it as a career to discredit what comes from government ad not being credible. It had take CDC and WHO country reps to tell Malawians that the tests are credible and certified. You stupid Zeze has gone to the extent of calling publicly the cabinet Committee as incompetent. Yourself and your fellow musketeers sent your henchmen led by wa homo uja to get a court injunction through the high appetite for palm oil judge. See now, evidence of local transmission. Your blind and illiterate followers do not… Read more »

2 years ago

Koma the sulking challenge wandipeza bwanji !

Iwe chilima
2 years ago

Kodi garu iwe chilima uzaoneka pa ballot paper kapena chakweea. Leave chilima he is a mad person with 4mps. Having 4mps shows clearly that he is not popular
Kukamwa ngati nkhwere

2 years ago

Bwana Chilima, You Are second in command . The whole Vice President of Malawi. If you feel or think something is wrong why don’t u go talk to ur Boss? I think U r just embarrassing urself by washing ur dirt linen in public. If u have a bone to pick with ur Boss, do it in private. You know where he is. I’m sure by virtue of ur office Sir, U have access to him. Don’t come on air trying to look all fancy, intelligent and all that. Every body knows u r in DESPERADO

Chilungamo Nchabwino
Chilungamo Nchabwino
2 years ago

Good one Saulos. This problem needs a task force not decisions made behind closed doors by people that have no expertise in anything. We have not heard from Bwana for days. Even after the Police-Malawi Prison embarassment. Good leaders are ambitious, that’s what made Kamuzu outstanding. If you feel you can make a better leader than else then make the sweat. They need competition otherwise they never pull up their socks.

2 years ago

Absalomu chonde tafatsa tawapatse mpata a Chakwera alankhule — inu ntchito yanu ndiyothandiza kunyamula katundu wa Chakwela kupita ku State House kkkk kaya muli pati kaya!!! kkkk!!!! koma mupole moto kukhala President si phada ayi!!!!!!! Please learn to humble yourself….

2 years ago

KKKK koma Chilima yu satilepheretsa masankho ife a MCP, this idiot is too talkative, zikutiwawatu

Che Peter
2 years ago

Is Saulos CHILIMA vice president? and if he is, is he being paid for holding that office? if he has got clever ideas especially at this time of great suffering and uncertainty would it not be advisable for him to channel those ideas into government in order to support the people in his role as vice president? He seems to spend most of his time talking absolute rubbish. He thinks he is Mr good, always in a hurry to be president. He does not care about the people but himself. Support your government and move forward together. This man together… Read more »

2 years ago

Chilima you are a power hungry power grabber who has politicised the Covid 19 crisis. You are selfish and your thirst for power is dangerous for Malawi. Can you explain how you and your party UTM has amassed the money you are busy throwing into your campaign. Poor Chakewra doesn’t know what is going to hit him, working with you Chilma, because your single goal is to be the President and you Chilma will not wait to get to No 1. You will destroy Chakwera but worse still you will destroy Malawi.You are in the pocket of the biggest bribers… Read more »

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