Karonga District Hospital has rejected UTM youths’ request to visit and donate to the district’s hospital patients, saying the timing of the visit is questionable with few days to go before the May 21 polls.
A letter rejecting the request which this reporter has seen, has been written and signed by Karonga district hospital administrator Clement Gonthi and is addressed to the party’s district youth director.
It says the meeting that a district health management team (DHMT) held to discuss the youths’ request, decided to deny the youths’ visit.
“After the meeting, it was resolved that your visit is political in nature. It is assumed that the UTM youths will be in party colours during the visit. As a public entity, the district hospital is apolitical and non-partisan.
“The timing of the visit is within the campaign period. It is, therefore, feared that this may be perceived as a campaign activity which contravenes apolitical status of the District Hospital,” reads part of the letter.
The DHMT ended its letter by referring the UTM youths to Karonga District Commissioner Emmanuel Bulukutu.
However, efforts to talk to Bulukutu who by default is the district’s elections coordinator proved futile as he did not respond to a questionnaire.
Apparently, this response came barely a day after the ruling DPP professionals had donated various items to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre and to Mulanje district hospital while clad in party regalia.
Meanwhile, UTM party regional treasurer Lusubilo Kamwambi has described the situation as unfortunate, saying in a democracy such tendency is retrogressive and uncalled for as patients admitted to the hospital belong to different party membership.
“We feel that it could be fear of the unknown or else they are working on orders from the above because there is totally nothing wrong with us visiting patients.
“That is a missed opportunity because our visit was meant to cheer up the sick and share with them spiritual food and few things. These patients may not even be UTM party members,” Kamwambi said.
In a telephone interview, Mzuzu based political and social commentator Emily Mkamanga concurred with Kamwambi, saying democratically there is nothing wrong with party youths cheering up patients at a hospital.
“I don’t see any problem with party officials visiting patients even in party colours because we are in a democracy. That is creating a storm in a cup of tea because the motive is just to visit and donate items and not holding campaign rallies,” Kamanga said.