By Dorica Mtenje:
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has given Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the Southern Region Kondwani Nankhumwa 75 hours to resign as Leader of opposition (LoP) in the National Assembly.
Nankhumwa, a DPP Vice President for the Southern Region, came under fire for receiving Covid-19 allowances amounting to K3.6 million whenever Presidential Taskforce met.
However, Nankhumwa told the local media that the allegations are politically motivated.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe on Tuesday, the organization led by Chairperson Gift Trapence and National Coordinator Luke Tembo, failure by Nankhumwa to resign will force HRDC to take unspecified actions.
Tembo said Nankhumwa’s resignation will pave waypave way for investigations over his Covid-19 funds benefits.
“Like most Malawians of goodwill, we at HRDC, were appalled by the news that Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa and others had been receiving questionable allowances upon every sitting of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID- 19 as well as other clusters.
“We are enraged by the recklessness exhibited by our leaders, especially at this time when it is important that the country uses every available resource to fight the pandemic. We are in the fight of our lives.
“The K3.6 million that Honourable Nankhumwa pocketed could have gone a long in saving the lives of several patients. In fact, if the K3.6 million was channelled directly towards the Covid-19 fight, it could have filled 36 oxygen cylinders or bought about 16 flowmeters, both of which are critical for the survival of COVID-19 patients,” said Trapence
Further, the organization has demanded that government should make public what each of the 13 clusters presented to the Taskforce as expenditure reports on February 9 at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC).
“These reports are not private, and they should not be secretive. They should be released to the public. Auditing them for a month as promised by President Lazarus Chakwera is step is of verification.
“We are interested in step one, which is what is it that the clusters declared as expenses a breakdown of what each member of the Presidential COVID-19 Taskforce has received in sitting allowances since being appointed.
“Everyone that unduly benefited in terms of allowances or fraudulent procurement processes should pay back the money and we will need evidence of that the money has been paid back.
“The tenets of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption should be underpinned by an open and transparent accounting of taxpayers’ money,” said Trapence.
The Department of Disaster Management (DODMA) failed to account on how it is used K6.2 billion COVID- 19 funds that was released in August 2020, leading to the arrest of some government workers