Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

At least we can afford to smile


As the worst two weeks in his presidency wound down, there are more and more calls for an earlier election, obviously including from the opposition, who would rather have President Peter Mutharika resign citing the loss in last week’s by-elections as a vote of no confidence in his administration.

But many think Mutharika resigned the presidency already — if we regard his job to be the Chief of State, Chief Executive, Chief Administrator, Chief Diplomat, Chief Legislator or, in a nutshell, if the presidency is about being a symbol of all the people

By those measures, it is arguable that Mutharika’s presidency never really began. By those measures, it is indisputable that his presidency ended the day he took office.


This is because under Mutharika, we have had little or nothing to smile and write about but this week, though, we can talk and write about some good news for a change

Over the weekend, Malawians and Mutharika finally had something to smile about.

The Geneva-based Global Fund, in a letter dated October 20 2017 and signed by the Fund’s Regional Manager Charlotte Kristiansson, announced that the board had approved a $171.5 million funding to fight HIV and Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis


The Fund said the approval was based on the positive progress Malawi has made towards the global fight against HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

This is a rare vote of confidence.

Remember the Geneva-based Fund almost cancelled the $574 million in grants and asked for a $6.4 million refund over allegations of financial mismanagement. This was in 2015.

This was after rights activists staged countrywide protests and petitioned the Global Fund to stop funding Nac after it gave a total of $33,000 to organisations with close links to the President and his wife.

Greater access to free medicine, backed by money from The Global Fund, has helped slash Aids-related deaths in Malawi where HIV and Aids had been blamed for 59 percent of deaths among those aged between 15 and 59 years.

The principal recipients for the Global Fund grants in Malawi now are Ministry of Health, World Vision and ActionAid.

Ministry of Health and ActionAid have received about $110.4 million for TB and HIV and Aids-related programmes while $61.09 million has gone to Ministry of Health and World Vision Malawi for malaria fight.

The board’s approval means that the Global Fund Secretariat is now ready for the signing of the relevant legal documents, including grants confirmations.

For the time being, let us celebrate this news.

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