The Zambian government has controversially removed two leading members of the Health Professions Council of Zambia, allegedly because it believes the council is making the ruling party unpopular in an area facing a key by-election.
Health minister Chitalu Chilufya sacked Dr Aaron Mujajati, the registrar of the Health Professions Council of Zambia (HPCZ), and removed respected academic Professor Sekelani Banda as board chair.
Chilufya replaced Banda with a senior civil servant, Kennedy Malama, the permanent secretary in charge of administration in his ministry.
Insiders say the dropping of Mujajati was a response to the HPCZ's threat to close the Mwandi Mission Hospital for major violations of the HPCZ Act.
Mwandi is adjacent to Sesheke District, in the opposition stronghold of Western Zambia, which is facing a by-election this month to replace the United Party for National Development MP Frank Kufakwandi.
Kufakwandi died on a recent trip to South Africa, where he was seeking medical attention.
Sources said the ruling Patriotic Front fears that the council's crackdown on the hospital is costing the party support in the area.
Chilufya could not be reached for comment. His spokesperson, Abel Kabalo, said the minister would only respond when he returns from his official...