In a shocking turn of events, the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) has terminated an employee’s contract over a 2020 Facebook post criticizing the Chakwera administration’s failure to end loadshedding.
The termination is seen as an attempt to silence dissenting views against Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera and the ruling Malawi Congress Party, reminiscent of party’s dictatorial era.
The employee claims that loadshedding continues under President Chakwera as if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the ousted President Peter Mutharika were still in power.
This fired employee had expressed frustration on social media regarding persistent blackouts, with some areas receiving as little as 4 hours of electricity.
“Kodi DPP ikupitilizabe kuthimitsa magetsi chonsecho inatuluka m’boma bwanji? [Is the DPP behind these loadshedding despite being ousted from power?” the employee posted in July 2020.
Instead of addressing this dire situation, the national power utility decided to burry its head in the sand. In stead, it has chosen to silence the employee, leading to widespread outrage on social media.
“I am writing to further explain the reasons and circumstances that led to the termination of your employment with our organization. As you are aware, your services have been terminated while on probation with notice due to the use of derogatory remarks about ESCOM, which were made prior to your employment with us,” reads the termination letter signed by ESCOM’s CEO, Kamkwamba Kumwenda.
The termination letter includes a screenshot of a Facebook post made by the fired employee in 2020, shortly after Chakwera took office. The letter says the person has been fired for posts he made before he joined the utility company which is now being criticising for persecuting the employee on political grounds.
“Your use of negative comments about ESCOM before you even joined was unprofessional and unethical. It is unacceptable for any prospective employee to speak ill of a potential employer, and such behavior undermines the trust and confidence that are essential to building a successful working relationship,” Kumwenda delivering the final blow to the fired employee.
The employee’s dismissal has raised concerns about President Chakwera’s commitment to human rights, such as freedom of expression. Commentators believe ESCOM is towing to the ruling party’s agenda to suppress dissenting views.
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