Atupele questions Chakwera’s COVID-19 commitment


United Democratic Front (UDF) leader Atupele Muluzi has questioned if COVID-19 is indeed a priority under the Lazarus Chakwera administration.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Muluzi said leadership is seen through the commitments made in the national budget but in the provisional budget Malawi is currently using, there are no COVID-19 funds allocated.

He added that the Peter Mutharika administration set aside K6.2 Billion to cushion low income urban dwellers with social cash transfers but the programme has been removed by the Tonse Alliance government.

According to Muluzi, this shows how much the current administration does not appreciate the economic impact of COVID-19 on the poor Malawian, who live on hand-to mouth and depend on small businesses for their daily living.

Muluzi also claimed that there is a lack of testing kits which has led to underreporting of cases.

“The DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) administration established up to 41 sites for testing across the country but as we speak only 11 of these sites have testing kits.

“The public is struggling to get tested, we are witnessing both cases and deaths being underreported also a result of limited testing abilities in the country. This is seriously undervaluing the gravity of this pandemic in the country,” he said.

Muluzi, who was a minister in Mutharika’s administration, further said that health workers across the country are demotivated by inadequate Personal Protective Requirement and allowances.

He claimed that there is currently no plan to support infected health workers even though the number of Coronavirus positive health workers is increasing.

“The APM administration had initiated risk allowances for all health workers and unfortunately we do not see any plans to implement this under the new leadership,” said Muluzi.

He added that during the campaign for the June 23 Elections, the Tonse Alliance promised to turn state houses into treatment centers.

He then urged the Chakwera administration to act and fulfill what it promised to Malawians.

Muluzi said: “The DPP led government provided money for the procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 isolation sites, such as ventilators, oxygen cylinders, patient monitors and newly opened oxygen gas plant at QECH and the gas plant underway in KCH…. these are DPP led initiatives, we want to see what the new government will do.”