Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has said the appointment of leader of Opposition in Parliament Lobin Lowe into newly formed an inclusive Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus was an ambush, claiming Lowe was not consulted.
President Peter Mutharika said Tuesday evening that the task force replaces the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 that has recently come under fire for alleged shortfalls in communicating critical technical health issues.
He disclosed that Lowe has accepted to serve in the task force “on behalf of opposition parties.”
The task force is to be co-chaired by a Cabinet minister and a professor in public health which will report directly to the President.
But addressing a news conference on Wednesday, MCP secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said the idea to have an inclusive committee was welcomed but the appointment of Lowe was not done in good faith.
“Honourable Lowe was not consulted. What happened is that he had an informal chat with Brown Mpinganjira on the need of Covid-19 committee to have members of the opposition.
Veteran politican Mpinganjira is executive member of governing Democratic Progressice Party (DPP) and has of late been been the party’s field marshal and in-charge of special political projects.
The MCP secretary general stressed that it was necessary and for the parties to nominate names of who would serve in that committee. Just that chat and then he learns he has been appointed in a committee,” said Mkaka.
He continued: “These people have been plundering taxpayers’ money in form of allowances and they want to soil some other people into their thieving culture.”
But State House spokesman Mgeme Kalilani insisted that Lowe was consulted and accepted to serve.
He said MCP rants are merely “hot air.”
Besides Lowe, who is Lilongwe Rural Central MCP member of Parliament, included in the task force, according to the President, are professors and medical doctors from the University of Malawi, Public Affairs Committee chairperson Monsignor Patrick Thawale, a senior chief, civil society organisations (CSOs) representative and the Christian Health Association of Malawi (Cham).
Mutharika said technical committees comprising various professionals from both the private and public sectors will be below the Presidential Task Force.
The President’s restructuring of the Cabinet Committee comes barely three days after his estranged Vice-President Saulos Chilima on Sunday dared him to demonstrate leadership in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic by bringing on board all stakeholders to be part of an inclusive national response.
CSOs in the health sector also petitioned Minister of Health Jappie Mhango, who chaired the Special Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus, also proposed a National Covid-19 Response Committee comprising various stakeholders, including the Executive, Judiciary, Parliament, CSOs, traditional leaders, the clergy and opposition political parties.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :