Taxpayers in Malawi are paying First Lady Madame Callista Mutharika over a million Kwacha every month as a salary for her appointed role as National Coordinator for Safe Motherhood for Malawi.
Documents sourced show that the amount translates to twelve million four hundred and eighty kwacha per year for the role for which she has been given a three year contract to run until April, 2013.
Findings show that the previous office bearer Vice President Mrs. Joyce Banda did not draw any salary for the assignment which is largely considered charity work.
Besides her entitlements as First Lady of Malawi, Madame Callista Mutharika is also drawing millions in salaries as National coordinator for Safe Motherhood for Malawi according to available contract papers.
The contract, which does not stipulate her exact duties, indicates that she reports to the president.
Madame Mutharika has lately been engaged in a series of assignments on safe motherhood in Malawi for which her contract says she has to have access to a chauffer driven saloon and 4 x 4 vehicle, cell-phone, electricity and water paid for and is also expected to draw leave grants and gratuity in the end.
According to the contract, the First Lady’s contract expires after 36 months beginning May 1, 2010.
In documents in our possession, the First Lady is requesting salary arrears amounting six million Kwacha.
It is, however, not clear in the contract documents how the performance of the National Coordinator for Safe Motherhood would be assessed and determined.
The concept of a National Coordinator for safe Motherhood in Malawi was drawn from that of the national Goodwill Ambassador for Safe Motherhood initiated by the Africa Union Conference of Ministers of Health in 2005.
The first office bearer in Malawi was Mrs. Joyce Banda, the Vice president, before President Bingu wa Mutharika assigned First Lady Madame Callista to take up the responsibility instead.
In Malawi, the office occupant was expected to expand the knowledge of the presidency and all four arms of government; the private sector, civil society including the church regarding the situation of maternal health in Malawi and its socio-economic impact on the society.
When Mr. Tumalisye Ndovie was appointed ACB director and continued to draw his benefits as a senior police officer, government ordered that doing so was inappropriate and withdrew one set of benefits.