Malawi First Lady’s K1m salary scrapped

The on-going talks between the Presidential Contact and Dialogue Group (PCDG) and civil society organizations appear to be making progress with revelations that the government has conceded to stop paying First Lady Callista Mutharika a K1.3 million as coordinator of Safe Motherhood in Malawi.

In the July 20, 2011 a 20-point petition, which became the agenda of the dialogue, the CSO’s also demanded that the contract for the First Lady be nullified.

A communiqué released on Tuesday indicates that the March 28 deadline set by CSO’s as last day of their participation in the dialogue does not stand as both parties have signed to reconvene for further talks in the third week of next month.

Callista Mutharika: Salary scrapped

According to the communiqué, after the meeting, which was facilitated by UN under-Secretary General Sahlie-Work Zewde, six issues have been resolved since the dialogue started.

“The Following issues have been resolved: Chancellor College impasse, motorcade for the vice president, First Lady’s compensation package, Malawi Housing scandal, unexplained public servants’ wealth and Presidential assets declaration.” reads the communiqué.

The dialogue group has also recommended reform of the current legal framework to provide for assets declaration and verification on entry and exit for senior civil servants, parliamentarians, cabinet ministers and the president.

On the issue of a deposit of K2 million for mass demonstration, the communiqué says the issue was just a public statement and it was not implemented.

They noted that no circular has been issued and that the president has publicly clarified that he expressed his initial thoughts on the subject and had not laid down a directive; also he has not pursued the issue in his capacity as head of state and no formal directive will be issued.

The dialogue group recommended to the government that the issue of local government elections, penal code/injunctions bill should be considered by parliament during its next session.

The dialogue team has also urged government to engage relevant partners and involvement of CSO’s as needed, in the ongoing dialogue processes on the issues of shortages of drugs and forex and electricity blackouts.

”There should be public commitment from the executive arm of government that it will respect all court orders for or against it,” read the communiqué

The communiqué has been signed by leader of the PCDG, Archbishop Emeritus Bernard Malango and leader of the CSO’s negotiation team, Voice Mhone.

Mhone told journalists in Lilongwe that all the issues in the July 20 petition were tackled and that what remains is implementation.

Malango he was satisfied with the outcome and that other salient details would be known at a press conference slated for Wednesday.

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