The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has faulted President Lazarus Chakwera for targeting “small fish” in meting out sanctions on the K6.2 billion COVID-19 funds.
HRDC Chairperson Gift Trapence said the human rights body is embarrassed and outraged that President Chakwera had only decided to suspend heads of clusters in the management of Covid-19 funding.
Writing on his Facebook page, Trapence said:
“We’re embarrassed and outraged because, in his speech tonight, the president acknowledged that there was a problem of leadership in these clusters hence the reported mismanagement of the public finances.”
He contends that if the problem was leadership of the clusters, ministers should have been targeted.
“For us, the leadership problem is at that level. It is the ministers who failed to ensure that the right and adequate information is included in submitted reports that (President) Chakwera ordered,” added Trapence adding that it fell under the ministers’ jurisdiction to track reports.
“It is the same ministers who should have ensured that noone defied the presidential instructions,” he added.
Trapence has since affirmed that the HRDC will ensure that any money misappropriated or squandered is returned to the public purse.
Speaking during his Sunday COVID-19 address, President Chakwera said more heads are expected to roll as and when evidence of wrongdoing is brought forth.
Department of Disaster Management (DoDMA) Commissioner James Chiusiwa and COVID-19 Presidential Taskforce Co-Chair Dr. John Phuka have since been relieved of their their respective roles.
The Malawi leader has directed that Vice President Saulos Chilima must lead a reforms committee to deal with long-standing systemic issues in the civil service ranging from inefficient operations, corruption and allowance syndrome.