Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says it will meet Minister of Health Jappie Mhango but has maintained its stand that Mhango and Information Minister Mark Botomani should resign from the cabinet over Covid-19 allowances.
Chairperson for the coalition, Gift Trapence, said this after being invited for a meeting next week Monday with the Minister of Health Jappie Mhango who wants to clarify about the allowances issue.
Mhango and Minister of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology Mark Bottomani were heard in a leaked video discussing on how to share allowances for the pandemic despite the latter denying publicly that they do not draw any allowance on duties to do with Covid-19.
Since then, the two Ministers have been under fire and have been receiving calls for them to step down from their positions by concerned Malawians including from HRDC.
On Thursday, Mhango sent an invitation letter to Trapence for a roundtable discussion regarding the matter and the meeting is scheduled for exactly 4 PM on 4th May 2020.
“I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 30th April 2020 calling for my resignation and that of my colleague Minister of Information on matters bordering on utilisation of Covid-19 finances.
“In order for goodselves to understand the issue better, I would like to invite you to a roundtable meeting on Monday 4th May 2020 at the Ministry of Health headquarters,” reads part of the letter which Malawi24 has seen which has been signed by Mhango.
And on Friday in an interview with the local media, Trapence acknowledged receiving the invitation letter and he said they will meet the Minister but they will maintain their stand that the two should resign.
“Yes indeed we have seen the letter, and come Monday we will meet them and during the meeting we will emphasize to them that they should resign,” he said.
He added that during the scheduled meeting they want the media to be present so that they should follow all the proceedings which the two parties are going to have.
Despite denying of pocketing allowances, just last week there was a leaked circular from the treasury indicating allowances per day for each Minister as Mk450,000 (about US$600) and Mk350,000 (about US$467) for the legislators in their tours to different districts to appreciate their preparedness for the pandemic.
In the past few days, Ministers who were in the special cabinet committee on Covid-19 and Members of Parliament went around the country to monitor preparedness measures.
Since President Peter Mutharika instituted the special cabinet committee in March, there have been public outcry that the committee was failing to channel resources to hospitals and heealth workers who are Frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic which has killed three people in this country.
Before dissolution of the committee by Mutharika on Tuesday night, Malawi Law Society had questioned the legality of the committee which it blamed Mutharika for not consulting before coming up with the committee.
As of yesterday (Friday) May 1, there were 37 Covid-19 recorded case. Across the world, the disease has killed more than 200,000 people with over 3 million confirmed cases in 185 countries across the world.H