May 18, 2021

CDEDI backs teachers o Covid-19 risk allowances

The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI] says teaching was classified by the Presidential Taskforce on the Covid-19 pandemic in July, 2020, as a profession that is at risk.

CDEDI mentions it is surprising to note that government has put its head down and is currently busy splashing out money to certain individuals citing Covid-19 cushion measures.

The organization adds it has learnt with shock that the Malawi Government is giving out 70,000 Kwacha each to some individuals in the country’s cities and towns as a cash transfer mechanism to vulnerable households, saying the criteria of selecting such vulnerable households, has not been made public.

 In a statement dated 6th March 2021 signed by its Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, CDEDI says it has been made to believe that such underhand tendencies of splashing out cash is an indication that government has enough money in its coffers for the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, hence its demand to end the current standoff between the teachers and government by giving the teachers their risk allowances.

Cashing out MK70,000 from Covid-19 cash transfer at Zomba Airtel branch (per person)

CDEDI is challenging President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to speak 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 where the funds have been sourced from.

The organization is warning government that should the current standoff between the teachers and the government remain unresolved by Wednesday 10th March 2021, CDEDI will be forced to lead Malawians of goodwill whose children’s basis rights to education is being violated.

…….”All Malawians that are sympathizing with our children who go to public schools, to come out in their large numbers and join a nationwide solidarity march to add voices to the teachers’ demands for risk allowances so that our children should go back to class,’’…….reads part of the statement.

On 2nd March 2021, in his contribution to the Mid-Year budget review in Parliament, Lilongwe City Central Legislator, Hon. Alfred Jiya, said while the people of his constituency are over the moon for the Social Cash Transfers to vulnerable households of peri-urban areas, it is distressingly annoying and unfair that well to do individuals are benefiting from this good gesture at the expense of the genuine poorest on the ground.

Hon. Jiya expressed a concern that some deserving people from 48 villages under Senior Groups Dzama and Kwindanguwo in the area of Senior Chief Chitukula, not even one, has benefited from this program.

Meanwhile, following news that government is intimidating and forcing TUM leadership to sign the agreement, the Concerned Teachers see to it that government is thinking that TUM is doing it for their own benefit, the Executive committee of Concerned Teachers of Malawi in conjunction with TUM have organized national wide demonstrations to be held on Thursday, 11th March, 2021 starting from 10;00 a.m to present a petition through their respective District Councils to reach government that enough is enough. 

By Vincent Gunde

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