Malawi: Communities in Mwanza Seal DC's Office

Mwanza — Pic Brian Wasili

Business at Mwanza District Council was early this week temporarily interrupted following closure of offices of District Commissioner, Michael Chimbalanga and those of two other senior officers at the district hospital by some community members.

The communities demanded immediate transfers for the said officers.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), a lady from Kunenekude Village in Traditional Authority Nthache who spoke on condition of anonymity said she came to meet the DC on a land issue but failed due to closure of the office.

"I booked an appointment with the District Commissioner today on a land issue in my area but I have failed to meet him because his office is closed," said the lady.

The group of people calling itself 'Mwanza Concerned Citizens' on Friday afternoon last week closed the DC's office alleging that he (DC) has failed to address concerns of people in the district.

In the petition submitted to the DC's office during peaceful demonstrations which they conducted on October 13 this year, a number of issues were raised which they wanted to be addressed.

They asked the ministries of health and local government to intervene.

The missing of six computers and continued pilferage of essential drugs at the district hospital were some of the issues they wanted to be addressed.

Others were the recent recruitment of disease control and surveillance assistants (HSAs) which they claimed was characterised by corrupt practices and hospital staff allegedly favouring Mozambicans on medical attention.

Petitioners gave the DC and concerned authorities a 21- day ultimatum to have all the concerns addressed which elapsed two weeks ago.

The other two offices which were sealed by the communities at the district hospital demanding their removal are those of Director of Health and Social Services, Dr. Ireen Zuze and District Environmental Health Officer, Blessings Chitsime.

In a separate interview with MANA on Monday, representative of Mwanza Concerned Citizens, Felix Singrate said the group is not against anybody in particular, but that they want justice to prevail on issues they presented.

"These officers have failed to assist people of Mwanza; therefore, we will only open their offices when government deploys their replacements," said Singrate.

However, when contacted, Chimbalanga expressed surprise with the demands of removing him from office, arguing that most of the issues raised in the petition happened before he was posted to the district.

"I am ready to move out only if instructed by my employer (Local Government and Rural Development)," he said, adding that he was equally surprised that one chief was taking a leading role in instigating his subjects to agitate for their removal. He did not mention the chief.

Meanwhile, the premises remained sealed at the time of compiling this report.

More From: Malawi News Agency

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