Bitter sweets: Madagascar minister fired over US$2.2m candy plan to go with coronavirus 'remedy'

A sample of the CovidOrganics, a plant-based "cure" against the coronavirus promoted by Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina on May 8, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

ANTANANARIVO (AFP) - Madagascar's education minister was sacked on Thursday (June 4) after announcing a plan to buy sweets for students to take the edge off the "bitter taste" of a herbal tea the president says is a coronavirus remedy.

Minister Rijasoa Andriamanana said last week she was ordering US$2.2 million (S$3 million) worth of sweets to go with the Covid-Organics concoction, which some experts have warned is useless against Covid-19.

She told the press that "a purchase of sweets and lollipops" had been made, with all students in the Indian Ocean island nation to receive three each.

She added that it was for the "bitter taste" of the drink, which President Andry Rajoelina has been promoting for export, saying it is the country's "green gold" which will "change history".

The potential benefits of Covid-Organics, have not been validated by any scientific study.

That such expense was going to sweets in one of the world's poorest country's sparked outrage, fanned by the Malagasy press, and the order was cancelled.

The minister defended the plan, but it was not considered by the Cabinet, which relieved her of her duties in a dry statement.

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