Chiefs complain of being sidelined in COVID-19 fight


Traditional leaders in Karonga have cried foul over the continued sidelining of the chiefs by authorities in Coronavirus related committees and activities in the district.

The remarks were made following a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday organized by the Health Committee of Parliament who in conjunction with Ipas Malawi and Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) are on a trip to the district aimed at appreciating the rise of teen pregnancies and unsafe abortions in the light of COVID-19.

Speaking in an interview Traditional Authority Karonga, said it was unfortunate that despite the surging cases of the virus chiefs continue to be side-lined in awareness activities of the pandemic.

According to the TA, without the involvement of traditional leaders no meaningful result can be achieved in terms of winning the battle to contain the deadly virus.

“The fact of the matter is that we chiefs have not been included in activities of COVID-19 because if we were we could have contributed by playing our part in sensitizing our communities to understand that Coronavirus is real but due to our lack of involvement in awareness campaigns there still remains a lot of sceptics over the pandemic in our respective locations,” he lamented.

The traditional leader therefore appealed to stakeholders to make use of traditional leaders in their programs if the fight to combat Coronavirus is to be won.

Chairperson for the Health Committee of Parliament Dr. Matthews Ngwale, said Karonga is a special district which requires attention and a lot of resources that should be channelled towards COVID-19 due to its cross-border trading with neighbouring Tanzania.

“Due to the cross-border trading that our citizens are doing in Tanzania, they are starting to believe some of the stories that are coming out there like that there is no Coronavirus which they are believing and when they read some of the restrictions that our government have imposed they get confused and wonder what’s happening hence there is a lot that we still need to do in sensitizing people of the virus especially bordering districts,” Ngwale explained.

Currently, Karonga has registered 73 COVID-19 cases with 27 recoveries and4 fatalities.