YouthDecide Angry With Govt. “Shambolic” Recruitment Drive
Government has come under heavy criticism from various quarters for the manner the ministry of health organized recruitment of lower grades staff under the Covid-19 pandemic management arrangement.
This follows chaotic scenes in various parts of the country where job-seekers, largely young men and women, thronged designated venues for interviews for the posts only to meet disorganization that ended in violation of government’s own recommendation for social distancing and injury causing stampedes.
The scene were particularly ugly in Mzuzu city where over a 100 people got injured at Katoto Secondary school and had to be rushed to Mzuzu Central Hospital by in ambulance.
Elsewhere in Lilongwe and Blantyre, there was drama as the job-seekers, invited to the walk-in interviews by government, were dispersed by riot police who were using teargas.
“Is this not crazy? The same government telling us to keep social distancing is inviting huge crowds to these interviews. Very ironic.
“And when they see the commotion they have caused, the same government is inviting in police with teargas to chase away the people they invited,” said Gracian Mkondibe a job-seeker who had come to Kamuzu College of Nursing in Lilongwe. A similar scene occurred in Blantyre.
In Mulanje districts, large crowds that assembled at Mulanje Park as early as 8am had not been attended to as at 3 in the afternoon.
YouthDecide Campaign Team Leader, Charles Kajoloweka, has called for “Government and its watchdog institutions to institute credible investigations into the recruitment process and ensure that the brains behind the decisions that led to the deadly stampede are held to account…
“We demand that the people linked to this disgrace and contempt of jobless Malawians should be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry into this act of gross incompetence and negligence. The whole exercise mirrors horrifying incompetence by government and its agents at the Ministry of Health”.
In a statement issued shortly after the incident, Kajoloweka said what happed in the exercise was “dehumanizing and life-threatening” and subjected to preventable injuries by the Malawi government.
YouthDecide Campaign has described the recruitment as a “shambolic walk-in recruitment exercise” which has also personified massive youth unemployment in Malawi.
“The horrors of unemployment faced by the youth often pushed into underemployment should convict both politicians and policymakers for failing to fulfil profuse promises to create jobs for young Malawians.
“Undoubtedly, this awful recruitment exercise, by design, has also denied vulnerable groups such as young persons with disability and young women the employment opportunity as they cannot withstand such hostile environment. This is unacceptable and insensitive to inclusive development,” says YouthDecide.
Kajoloweka says what has happened in the exercise has displayed state-orchestrated indifference to the rights and lives of the youth and as such “we call on young people to vote for credible and selfless leaders who have the key to unlock job opportunities instead of using their desperation to score political points”.
The organization has since asked government to:
- stop the ‘walk-in’ recruitment exercise and shortlist qualified candidates for youth-friendly interviews
- ensure the ministry of health stops exposing the youth to COVID-19 transmission by halting the ill-timed scrambles convening thousands of job-seekers despite a ban on such gatherings
- operationalize Harnessing the Population Dividend, which promises the youth majority access to relevant skills and decent jobs
Meanwhile, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions has described as uncivilized the manner in in which the MoH is conducting the on-going interviews.
“It is unprofessional and unacceptable as it puts the lives of the job seekers not only at risk of being injured or losing lives but also contracting the coronavirus (whose spread) the same Ministry of Health is purportedly leading in preventing,” said Denis Kalekeni, Secretary General.
MCTU has since asked government to suspend the interviews and put in place proper and risk-free procedures “before many lives are lost” and also to desist from taking advantage of the people's vulnerability by exposing them to precarious conditions.
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