UTM Party has said President Peter Mutharika has taken heed to pleas by Vice President Salous Chilima on Sunday for the Head of State to constitute an inclusive task force to spearhead the fight against Corornavirus (Covid-19) and to put in place measures to caution the poor and vulnerable groups.
Mutharika on Tuesday delivered a national address in the cover of the night where he announced that he was restructuring the ministerial committee and forming an inclusive Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus that will include Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Public Affairs Committee (PAC), medical experts, professionals and other stakeholders.
UTM publicity secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga observed that this was in direct response to Chilima’s plea on Sunday for Mutharika to establish an inclusive taskforce that will gain trust from Malawians in the fight against Coronavirus and use of resources.
“President Mutharika should, for once, demonstrate leadership by inviting opposition leaders, civil society leaders, religious leaders, captains of the industry and even celebrities to be part of the national response,” said Chilima on Sunday in a live televised national address.
The estranged vice-president Chilima, who is also UTM leader, had also said the inclusive taskforce was very crucial at this stage as it is clear that majority of Malawians are not trusting information on Covid-19 from government officials which is undermining efforts to fight the pandemic.
” It is clear to everyone that government faces serious deficit of trust among majority of Malawians. the public reaction to information from the government on convid-19 proves one key thing-the public does not recognise the current leadership as a credible source of information,” Chilima had lamented.
He said the loss of trust hampers governments efforts to fight the pandemic as people can not cooperate and this leads to people ignoring measures to combat the pandemic.
UTM pointed out that Mutharika has also taken heed to Chilima’s call to put in place measures to caution the poor and the vulnerable before any drastic measures such as lockdown are implemented to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
” Locking people away from their homes without clear and deliberate public health strategy for steering the lockdown is condemning them to hunger. Majority of people would not sustain themselves during lockdown ,” said Chilima.
Mutharika announced that government will launch an emergency cash transfer programme targeting about 1 million people and small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Eligible households will receive a K35 000 ($40) monthly payment, matching the country’s minimum wage, through mobile cash transfer starting in May, Mutharika said.
“This will strengthen livelihoods,” Mutharika said.
Chilima has received praises on social media since last night for his pro-active role to outline measures that would help the fight against Covid-19 and proposals to government to create an all inclusive taskforce, which Mutharika and his government has taken into account.
President Mutharika’s night address downplayed an allowance scandal that broke out on Monday where his Cabinet ministers are said to be drawing K450 000 per day and MPs K350 000 for doing coronavirus work.
The scandal broke out despite earlier rebuttals by Information Minister Mark Botoman and Health Minister that the ministers were not receiving any allowance.
A video clip has gone viral where Botoman and Mhango are shamelessly conniving to put a spin to the allowance scandal.
The impoverished country, which so far has seen 36 positive cases of Covid-19 and three deaths, has suffered from economic stagnation in recent years, leading to increasing unrest over falling living standards.
The World Bank said last week it had approved a $37m funding package to help Malawi respond to the coronavirus.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :