Malawi Govt has appointed health-care activist Dorothy Ngoma as national coordinator of the Safe Motherhood Initiative in the President’s Office.
Ngoma takes over from former first lady Callista Mutharika who was controversially appointed by her late husband Bingu wa Mutharika and was earning more than K1 million a month for the work she was supposed to do for charity.
Bingu wa Mutharika had attempted to include Callista Mutharika as part his cabinet for the role but the move met strong opposition and had to be dropped.
Nonetheless, despite protestation from the civil society and the oppsotion Mrs Mutharika continued to enjoy her huge salary until December 2011, when government was forced to stop paying her as part of the negotiations with the civil society.
Before Callista Mutharika was appointed to the post, the role was the responsibility of the then vice president Joyce Banda. But after Banda fell out out with president Bingu wa Mutharika, he stripped her of all her responsibilities and gave his wife the Safe Motherhood job with huge perks.
Ngoma, currently executive director of the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NOMN), is a critic of poor conditions health-care workers are subjected to and has advocated for human rights in general.