A political analyst has described Malawi President Joyce Banda as “too insensitive” for leaving to attend a summit in Equatorial Guinea while the country was at a standstill with the civil servants strike.
The political scientist, Dr Blessings Chinsinga of Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), said in an interview that leaving the country at a time there was a crisis with about three quarters of the civil servants on strike, was the last thing the President should have done.
Said Chinsinga: “No matter how important the summit is, the President should not have left. She is the head of the civil service which is the engine of government and it is unimaginable she flew out at a time nurses, teachers and all other civil servants in other essential services have gone on a full-fledged strike.”
The President, despite closure of some airports in the country, including the main gateway Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe, flew out of the country by a private jet sent by the organisers of Africa-American (Ascof) Summit.
Before her departure on Thursday, the President justified her three-day trip, saying it is expected to improve the bilateral relations between African and South American countries.
Commenting on the civil servants strike, Banda told the official Malawi News Agency (Mana) that her government is committed to ensuring that the civil servants, currently on strike, get their salary increment.
The Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU)-led strike started on February 11 as a two-day stay-away to press for salary increments and has gained momentum, with more public schools and hospitals closing, airports shutting down, forcing cancellation of international flights into the country, among others.