Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says that if the current standoff between teachers and government remain unresolved by March 10, the organisation will be forced to lead Malawians of goodwill in demonstrations to add voice to the teachers’ demand for risk allowances.
The organization’s Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said in a statement today that children’s basic right to education is being violated and all Malawians that are sympathizing with children who go to public schools will be urged to come out in their large numbers and join a nationwide solidarity march so that children should go back to class.
He noted that Teaching was classified by the Presidential Task force on the Covid-19 pandemic in July 2020, as a profession that is at risk.
“It is surprising, therefore, to note that government had put its foot down, and has sworn never to give the teacher the risk allowances, and yet the same government is currently busy splashing out money to some individuals, in the name of Covid-19 cushion measures,” he said.
On his claims that government is splashing out cash, Namiwa was referring to the programme where Malawi government is giving out MK70, 000 each to some individuals in the country’s cities and towns, as a cash transfer mechanism to vulnerable households.
He said splashing out cash is an indication that government has enough money in its coffers for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Hence our demand to end the current standoff between the teachers and government by giving the teachers the risk allowances,” said Namiwa.
He then expressed concern that the criteria of selecting vulnerable households for the cash transfer has not been made public.
“CDEDI is challenging President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to come out publicly and inform Malawians on the criteria the government is using to identify the beneficiaries in the current social cash transfer, which is meant as a cushion measure for the Covid-19 pandemic, and declare publicly where the funds have been sourced from,” he said.
Teachers have been staying away from work for two weeks over Covid-19 risk allowances. The strike was called off on Thursday but the Teachers Union of Malawi on Friday made a U-turn, claiming that it was bulldozed into calling off the strike.