Kachali under Dowa fire over snatching of hospital beds: ‘Denies role, says its cheap politics’

Malawi Vice President Khumbo Kachali has come under fire from people of Mponela, Dowa, for allegedly ordering the transfer of some beds from the hospital to Mzimba where he is leading the ruling PP campaign for parliamentary by-elections.

But Kachali (also Health Minister), through his spokesman Kondwani Munthali, denied any role in the saga, accusing the area’s Member of Parliament Dr. Jean Kalirani ( opposition DPP vice president) of playing political games.

The beds, which were taken from the children’s ward, were a donation from Kalirani.

VP Khumbo Kachali: Denies role

They have been given to Euthini and Edingeni health centres in Mzimba.

The development has irked Parliamentary Women Caucus, and Malawi Health and Equity Network who have demanded the beds to be returned.

“The beds should be returned. This is unacceptable,” said Parliamentary Women Caucus chairperson Mrs. Cecilia Chazama after visiting the area on Tuesday.

People in the area demonstrated their anger against the move and chanted anti-government songs, mainly targeted at Kachali and the deputy Minister of Health Hallima Daudi – who visited the area and also comes from Dowa.

Kalirani said she spent almost K12 million (about $40 000)  for the children’s ward including buying the beds and threatened to take the ministry of health to court over the matter.

However, Kachali denied any role in the transfer of the beds, insisting they were moved “based on policy of health ministry which relocates excesses from different hospitals.”

The Vice President’s spokesman also denied reports that patients were left on the floor.

“Nobody was removed from any bed as alleged,” he told Nyasa Times.

The Vice President accused Kalirani for “using the matter to gain cheap political mileage and misleading people with distorted information.”

He said: “The beds, just like so many assets in the Ministry have been moved around to places where there is a need.

“Generators, theatre beds and others have been moved around and there is nothing peculiar about this move than some politician trying to run the Ministry of Health from back door. “

Munthali added: “The Minister of Health has nothing to do neither with the matter nor about the destination of the beds. People have are now making a habit of telling lies and justifying them.”

Hospital in-charge Buthelezi Mvula said he just received instructions through a letter from the ministry headquarters that some beds would be removed.

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