The bed-snatching saga at Mponela Rural Hospital benefiting Mzimba, which is Vice-President and Health Minister Khumbo Kachali’s home district resurrected in National Assembly when opposition Democratic Progress Party( DPP) lawmaker Jean Kalirani asked Kachali to furnish the House with a report n what happened.
The transfer of beds from Dowa to Mzimba triggered controversy when the media exposed the clandestine nature of the operation—moving the items at night; unclear instructions and the political timing as beds were destined to Mzimba, the home of Kachali where there were by-elections on October 9.
“We would want to have the Honourable Minister give a full explanation on what happened when beds were moved from Mponela to Mzimba District. The moving of the beds left children and expectant mothers sleeping on the floor,” said Kalirani when she followed up a question from Mzimba South East MP Rabson Shaba who asked the minister to deploy staff and equipment to Unyolo Health Centre in his area.
But the Vice President said Kalirani “would have put it in writing and then I would handle it in that way.”
He promised that he would bring a statement into the House on the saga.
“Let it come as a question and then we will take it up,” he said.
Kachali was censured for the saga by the media and urged to be sensitive, respectful and show empathy at a time people are going through rough times in the economy.
In one of the findings contained in a seven-paged report released by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) , the People’s Party (PP) candidate Raymond Nkhata used the beds that were removed from Mponela Rural Hospital as a campaign tool in the Mzimba by-elecrtion.
“The relocation of the beds to Mzimba district, where there [were] Parliamentary by-elections, [was] a clear action by the PP government to deprive the people of Mponela access to health services in order to ‘buy’ votes for the by-elections.
“In addition, the ruling PP candidate, Raymond Chatima Nkhata, also misinformed a congregation in the churches in Mzimba that he had bought the beds when in actual fact they had been taken from Mponela Rural Hospital,” says MHRC following the investigation it conducted in the matter.
The report says there was also no clear explanation as to the urgency of the beds in Mzimba or the exercise to be carried out at night.
“Therefore, the removal of the beds and the disturbances that followed was a gross abuse of the patient’s right to human dignity and in contravention of the provisions of Chapter 19 of the Malawi Constitution,” says MHRC.
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