As Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the country, Malawi Government has shifted the reporting dates for all government interns from 3rd August to 1st October, 2020.
The interns, who were supposed to report for work on 3rd August, 2020 in their respective fields, have been told to wait till first week of October as part of the measures to minimise the spread of the virus which has registered 136 fatalities in the country from 4426 cases.
This means that the interns’ K80 000/ month stipend will remain suspended for the next three months as their contracts came to an end in June.
In a letter released by the Ministry of Labour through Principal Secretary Esmie Kainja on Wednesday, Kainja said the decision has been made after government was advised by the Presidential Committee on Covid-19 to operate at 5 percent due to the upsurge in the number of cases infected by the virus.
“The Ministry of Labour wishes to inform all interns who were in the first and second cohorts of the Graduate Internship Program that the official reporting date to work has been shifted to 1st October, 2020. The delay has resulted from the additional measures on the Covid-19 pandemic set by government.
“The Presidential Committee on Covid-19 has advised the Government to operate at 5 percent due to the upsurge in the number of cases infected by the virus. This advice is also consistent with the earlier petition by the leadership of the interns to my Ministry that Government should extend their contracts into the third year as a result of workplace restrictions related to the pandemic resulting in deprivation of work experience,” reads the statement.
However, this has not gone well with the interns who have threatened to go to the streets to demonstrate against the decision.
A document which Malawi24 has seen indicate that the interns intend to organise demonstrations in order to force government to rescind the decision of extending their break which started in June, soon after the expiry of their one year contracts.
“Government interns are set to hold nationwide demonstrations this coming Friday, 7th August, 2020 against what they call mediocrity following government’ announcement to shift the reporting date to October.
“Government promised all interns that they will be permanently recruited, but since Tonse Government came into power in June, there is no any sign that these interns will be absorbed into the government system, nor creation of 1 million jobs. As of now, many are residing in rented apartments and they don’t even know how they will face their Landlords/Landlady’s as they won’t get their stipend soon,” reads the document.
Malawi24 has also come across a document in which the interns have petitioned the Vice President Saulos Chilima over his promise of 1 million jobs during his campaign.
The internship program was started by the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which had earlier promised to employ the interns on a permanent basis before being ousted by the Tonse Alliance on 23rd June’s Presidential polls.