Chilima urges Mutharika to move back to Lilongwe

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Malawi's Vice-President Saulos Chilima has urged President Peter Mutharika to operate from the capital, Lilongwe, as opposed to the commercial city of Blantyre to reduce costs.

Mr Chilima said the money used by cabinet ministers and the president's staff to pay for hotels should be redirected to the fight against coronavirus.

He also proposed that five state lodges, which are the president's official residents spread across the country, be turned into isolation centres.

The vice-president is the head of the United Transformation Movement and had challenged President Mutharika in the election last year. He finished third, but the vote was annulled by a court in February this year and a new election ordered. The court also allowed Mr Chilima to continue holding his position.

On Wednesday, he told a media briefing thathe would donate his entire salary to the fight against the virus and termed the president's 10 percent wage cut  as "insignificant".

"I sincerely request the president and cabinet members to at least donate 50% of their salaries and fuel allocations to go toward the Covid-19 response," he said.

The vice-president proposed that state lodges such as Zomba, Mudi, Area 12, Mzuzu and Mtunthama be turned into isolation centres.

Malawi reported its first coronavirus on 2 April - one of the last countries to do so. It has confirmed eight cases so far.

The country, among the world's poorest, has declared a state of emergency.

All social gatherings of more than 100 people, such as funerals, church services and political rallies, have been banned.

 

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