Kalirani- Daudi tussle: Understanding the tale of Mponela beds

It is not strange that the Women Caucus of Parliament decided to jump into the Mponela beds saga without proper information and when they got it, they decided to play politics and pretend everything was not normal as it was.

Dr. Jean Kalirani, knows that she played politics, as a former Minister of Health she is well aware of how Hospitals in Dowa benefitted from various other hospitals like Phalombe , Mzuzu and Chitipa without any fury that she displayed when it was Mponela.

The fact is Mponela had 34 excess beds, and with the decision by the Ministry to return the beds, today it has 34 extra beds which will rarely be used for the next three years, thanks to the ingenuity of Dr. Kalirani and Women Caucus.

However to those that are not well informed, the Mponela beds saga was merely a show of flexing muscles between two ladies, who have fought personal political battles trying to undermine each other.

Daudi: Deputy health minister

It all started in 2009 when Kalirani joined politics and was billed as a running mate to late President Bingu wa Mutharika. Halima Daudi was already in politics but she had twice failed to make it on UDF tickect.

DPP vice president Dr Jean Kalilani

After 2009 general elections, MP for Dowa South East Chitsamba died in a car accident.  Rumours, according to those close to the two were ignited by Kalirani that Halima Daudi had magically killed the young politician.

When DPP primaries for bye-elections were scheduled, a majority of National Executive Committee Members including Ken Kandodo, Kalirani,

Leckford Thotho and many Cabinet Ministers backed a Mdasauka Chisi against the party’s Secretary General Bintony Kustaira and his strong women Mai Makuta, Chimbalanga and the Youth team’s Halima Daudi.

It was a battle of Ministers and MPs against those that were running the party outside parliament. The same battles happened at the Peoples Party convention, where the Chilumphas and Mias in Parliament fought the Mpinganjiras and Stambuli’s outside parliament.

Halima Daudi won the primary despite the wild allegations against her about witchcraft and also claims by the original “Chewas” who claimed she was a “Yao” from Mangochi.

The battle did not end there. When Dr. Kalirani went into Ministry of Health, she stuffed her Mponela Rural Hospital with adequate materials. Even when drugs like Bactrim were in shortage at big hospitals like Dowa and Kasungu, Mponela used to have enough stocks.
Dowa Hospital is in Halima Daudi’s constituency.

A point worth noting however is Halima Daudi’s son Ashraf has a son with Bingu’s daughter Tapiwa. It might have been the former Presidents influence on the party that she won the primaries though by then the relationship between the two families was strained.

Fast forward to April 5, 2012. Bingu had died a day earlier and immediately Kalirani became midnight player number two after Patricia Kaliati. She has never had peace since then.
Later Joyce Banda decided to pick Dr. Kalirani’s archrival and constituency neighbor in Dowa-Halima Daudi to deputise Vice President Khumbo Kachali at the Ministry of Health. The Ministry where Kalirani had served in Cabinet.

Bootlickers at the Ministry knew Halima’s battles with Kalirani and immediately organized a tour of hospitals for her, as she is a defacto Minister in the absence of her boss Kachali. She immediately went to Mponela where she discovered 34 beds in strore room.

But before collecting the beds, Halima Daudi had a master plan. After the rumours of witchcraft and being a Yao pained her, it was time to puke and transfer witchcraft allegations on Dr. Jean Kalirani. On May 14, 2012, Dr. Kalirani was summoned to Police on allegations of plotting to kill Vice President Khumbo Kachali,  Attorney General Ralph Kasambara and guess who- Halima Daudi, deputy Minister of Health.

Nyasa Times reported:
“Malawi Police Service says they indeed summoned former Health Minister Dr Jean Kalilani and quizzed her on allegations that she sought black magic from a witchdoctor in Lilongwe to stage murder through witchcraft on three Cabinet ministers.

Nyasa Times earlier reported that Police arrested Chief Mputeni of Lumbadzi in Dowa in the plot TO kill Vice-President and Health Minister Khumbo Kachale, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara and Deputy Health Minister Halima Daudi. The chief had alleged that Kalilani was the mastermind of the plan and financed it.

Implicated Police public relations officer Davie Chingwalu said the law enforcers nabbed the chief and two others who include a witchdoctor. Chingwalu said when former minister Kalilani was questioned about the witchcraft plot, she “expressed ignorance.”The former minister who is also vice president of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) claimed the chief wanted to “blackmail” her.

Dr. Kalirani was a bitter woman, her integrity soiled with witchcraft allegations, she vowed revenge.

Coming back to Dowa saga, there was a lie that people were removed from beds and children thrown down.

Interestingly the media failed to ask a fundamental questions as they joined the bandwagon of vendors who were paid K70,000 to make noise on the matter, and an additional K20,000 after the booed Kachali.

The media that travelled to Mponela on Tuesday, should have asked Dr. Kalirani as Zodiak and Nation correctly reported: “THE 13 BEDS WERE TAKEN WITHOUT MATTRESSES.”

The simple question in Journalism would have been “WHERE ARE THE MATTRESSES THAT WERE REMOVED FROM THE BEDS?”

The beds had no mattresses and Hospital beds, for those who use public Hospitals know, one cannot sleep on them without a mattress.

When Kachali visited the Hospital he found many empty beds without mattresses, now WHICH PEOPLE WERE REMOVED ON THE BEDS WITHOUT MATTRESSES, OR WHERE ARE THE MATTRESSES?

The Ministry of Health has since bought mattresses for all the beds including the 13 as there were no mattresses in the first place.

The issue of mattresses is a big failure on part of our media to investigate the truth and report accurately. No one, even in Women Caucus can answer than despite fanning all the fire for political reasons. The story of Women Caucus and how they jumped on the matter will be for another day.

What happened to the Health Committee of Parliament? Will they refund allowances for SADC ICT training which they signed but did not attend? Was it not possible for two MPs to present their petition after their report was submitted to the Speaker who deployed it to the ministry of health.

The truth, no matter how long hidden, will always be told as some things aren’t adding up.

The Mponela saga was one sad case that exposed political and personal power play and a media that took sides without questioning fundamentals such as how could sleep on wire beds without mattresses?

The personal fight between Halima Daudi and Dr.Kalirani will now make it impossible for the Ministry of Health to redeploy drugs from one hospital to another even when a real need arises as people will protest.

Sometimes they say leave government ministries out of politics. Halima Daudi might have failed in political timing but Dr. Kalirani, a DPP Vice President, is expected to go and campaign for her party in Edingeni and Euthini telling them how much they are close to her heart when she doesn’t want to share beds which apparently nobody was using.

There are many lessons to be learned by many here whether in politics, media or civil society.

Health activist Martha Kwataine asked for the resignation of Kachali. But that he is not resignin, how will she approach the Ministry if the need arises?. Now that it is  a fact that beds had no mattresses and nobody was occupying them when they were taken, will Kwataine apologise or find another excuse.

Welcome to Mponela, Welcome to Malawi, where we insult innocent people before finding the truth!

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