HRDC changes demo-strategy; ‘We will now be going straight to people’s offices!’

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HRDC's Trapence (l) and Luke Tembo at the presser

LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – As part of remaining relevant in the game of holding public officers accountable, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) says they will now be staging demonstrations at the offices of public officers deemed to be causing problems.

HRDC chairperson Mr Gift Trapence made the announcement on Tuesday during a COVID-19 press briefing in Lilongwe.

Said Trapence: “We are doing targeted demonstrations. We have found that its always a certain officer making poor decisions and such people must be targeted and held responsible.”

HRDC has since said they will soon roll out nationwide demonstrations if government doesn’t, in a month, explain how its officers used the K6.2 billion COVID-19 money.

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera fired the head of the disaster management department and the taskforce’s co-chair, and suspended further officials, some “for failing to maintain proper records of how such critical funds were used and others for defying my directive to submit reports weekly to my office”.

He said the pandemic called for “strong leadership”.

HRDC’s Trapence (l) and Luke Tembo at the presser

“The suspensions will pave the way for a full forensic audit, which the national audit office has already begun, and a full and independent investigation, which the director of public prosecutions has requested the Malawi Police Service to conduct as a matter of urgency,” Chakwera said.

When officers appeared before the taskforce with their reports on how they spent 6.2bn kwacha, only one official had properly backed up reports.

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