Malawi ex-first lady fired

2012-05-03 19:09

Blantyre - President Joyce Banda on Thursday sacked Malawi's former first lady from a controversial job, in her latest purging of late president Bingu wa Mutharika's allies.

Banda's office announced in a statement that well-known rights activist Dorothy Ngema will be the new co-ordinator for safe motherhood, removing Mutharika's widow Callista who had occupied the position for two years.

The 61-year-old has swept Mutharika's backers out of key posts since taking office on April 7, including firing his brother Peter as foreign minister.

Peter Mutharika had been styled as a successor to the president and was accused of plotting to seize power after the leader's sudden death from a heart attack last month.

The late leader had sacked Banda from the motherhood job and replaced her with his wife. The former first lady, once a tourism minister, was earning $7 500 a month, a princely sum in one of the world's poorest countries.

The move had angered civil society which demanded that his wife's salary be scrapped as they argued it was for all intents charity work. Her salary could have paid 30 nurses or 93 primary school teachers a month.

Ngema's appointment is effective from Friday. She is a champion of the fight to improve the country's poor health standards.

Last week, Banda unveiled a 23-member cabinet and gave herself several key portfolios to beef up her powers as southern Africa's first female president.

Amid major shortfalls of fuel and foreign currency, she has also moved swiftly to restore donor confidence and vowed to address concerns previously voiced by key lenders after major falling outs with Mutharika.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-05-03 19:31

    So far I'm impressed with Joyce Banda. She's acknowledging problems and taking appropriate and swift action. A fresh wind of change beginning to blow through Africa? I hope so

      Squeegee - 2012-05-03 20:00

      Hey Joyce, come purge our Cabinet, please...!

      christo.stone - 2012-05-03 20:32

      Indeed. She's doing a great job.

      Sam - 2012-05-03 22:18

      @Squeegee, you dont need to purge our cabinet , you were given 18yrs to purge through vote you failed , now you think of force removal

  • picheII - 2012-05-04 07:24

    The salary which could pay 30 nurses or which could pay 93 primary school teachers! They thought they are very important than the people of Malawi.Primary School Education in Government Schools is low,even stealing some of the teachers to dance for them during class periods making primary school education suffer.."tabwerako ku sukulu atiwerutsa aphunzitsi apita kokavina(practices)apita ku msonkhano(kukavinila president kapena first lady kumisonkhano ya safe motherhood initiatives in Malawi..

  • Blixum - 2012-05-04 08:49

    Good luck my dear Joyce. Hope you can maintain the momentum here in Africa.

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