Tunisian Premier challenged over accusations against sacked Health minister

A correspondence widely shared on social medias has challenged Tunisian Prime Minister’s assertion that he was unaware of covid-19 public vaccination campaign that cost the position of Health Minister Faouzi Mahdi who was fired on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi fired Mahdi on Tuesday for failure in the management of the covid-19 pandemic and for organizing a two-day public vaccination at 29 health centers stormed by citizens.

Mechichi, who also doubled as the interim interior minister, argued that the interior ministry was not informed to provide security to the centers to prevent scramble.

I Watch, a prominent nongovernmental organization fighting corruption in the North African country, shared a letter signed on July 19 by Mahdi’s chief of staff and sent to the chief of staff of the interior minister requesting for security for the two days of vaccination drive, July 20 & 21, Webdo Tunis reports.

Mechichi branded “populist” and “criminal” the health ministry’s decision to organize the two-day public vaccination campaign.

“Yes, we are starting to get vaccines, and we want to expand the vaccination campaign, but not in this way. 29 centers were opened today, but no one knew about it. Citizens were not aware that each center had only 800 doses of vaccine. This mismanagement shows that our decision since January was justified,” he stressed.

Mahdi’s dismissal came amid feud between President Kais Saied and Mechichi. Saied has criticized the handling of the pandemic by the government that he accuses of protecting the interests of lobbyists.

Tunisia has been wrestling with the pandemic and has reported more than half a million cases since the report of the first case in February 2020. Over 17,000 people have died in connection with the pandemic while over 400,000 have recovered.

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