Support staff at Karonga District Hospital have for the third time in two months downed their tools in an attempt to force authorities to transfer five top officers from the facility.
The workers are accusing District Nursing Officer (DNO) Maloni Nyirenda, Administrator Alex Chirombo, Human Resource Officer, Mabvuto Kawonga, Procurement Officer, Stuart Chirambo and Maintenance Officer, McDonald Kamwela, of maladministration and corruption.
In a letter dated October 3 2017 addressed to the District Commissioner (DC), Richard Hara, the workers have said their strike is indefinite until their wish is granted.
They further question the delay by Hara’s office to make public results of an inquiry he instituted into the matter last month.
“During our meeting on September 30, it was clear that the inquiry team is not ready with results, yet the five officers have started reporting for duties without a nod from your office. It is against such background that we ask them to stop coming to work until such a time when results from the inquiry are ready,” reads the letter in part.
One of the protesting workers, Shadreck Mzumara, confirmed of their decision to stay away from work in a telephone interview yesterday.
On August 28 2017, the workers penned the DC raising concern against deteriorating service delivery at the hospital which they say is because of negligence on the part of top management.
Following the pressure, DC Hara sent the five on forced leave to pave way for investigations into the allegations levelled against the officers.
But three weeks ago, the embattled officers challenged the DC’s decision in court arguing Hara has no mandate to suspend them from work since they are not direct employees of the council.
Through their lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, the five said the inquiry is illegal since it is only the president’s prerogative to institute a commission of inquiry.
“We do not understand what powers the DC used to suspend my clients, and why they continue to be held liable on matters which are under the direct management of their seniors including the Ministry of Health as a mother ministry,” Mwafulirwa said
Chairperson of the inquiry team Scotch Khondowe said his team made considerable strides in its probe but refused to disclose the preliminary findings.
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