In a just released statement the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spoke person Brown Mpinganjira accuse the Lazarus Government of lying about the real numbers of COVOD-19. The statement in part reads,
Malawians are every minute, receiving reports from every corner of this country on the worsening COVID -19 situation. This is concerning as Malawians are not sure whether they will live another day. As DPP, we are equally concerned. The reports clearly indicate that the Covid-19 situation in this country is getting out of hand as more and more people are being infected and more are dying.
Many commentators believe that the statistics being given by the government are a gross understatement of the actual figures partly because not all cases of infection and death are brought to the attention of the authorities. We in the Democratic Progressive Party, cannot agree more. We therefore wonder why the authorities have not demonstrated the capacity, let alone the intent, to reach out and find all those that are infected and those that are dying of this pandemic.
Sadly, it does not inspire confidence when we hear accounts of people who called the toll-free emergency numbers, and nobody picked up their calls.
Additionally, there are reports of those who have gone to be tested but have been told that the hospitals have ran out of testing materials.
There are those who have felt unwell and have been told that they are not sick enough to be tested or that they should pay thirty-five thousand kwachas to be tested. All like-minded Malawians will agree that if this category is not tested, yet they are infected, they will go back to their families and communities and spread the disease.
As DPP, we are concerned that the government is conspicuously missing in action. It is very well to issue the routine daily updates, but it is more important to make resources available to fight this pandemic.
Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, for example, is on the brink of being overwhelmed. The dedicated front-line soldiers at QECH and other health institutions need adequate facilities, equipment, and motivation to cope with the ever-increasing numbers of those infected.
There were also reports of twenty-eight (28) lecturers who tested positive at Mzuzu University. The government is aware of that and yet they are not moving into temporarily close learning institutions to protect our children and the teaching staff.
We are however aware, that it is common commendable and acceptable practice that when several cases of the disease have been reported at an institution like the Church or the Bank, for example, that the institution temporarily closes to prevent further spreading of the disease.
Malawians still remember very well that the MCP and their allies, UTM refused to accept that the pandemic was in Malawi and it is disheartening to note the trend continuing even in their handling of the pandemic. In fact, they made funny and silly jokes of the Covid-19 and their handling of the pandemic highlights such jokes. We wonder whether it is that disbelief that still lingers to this day making the Tonse government fail to take practical steps to contain the disease.
We need to remind the MCP, that they accused the DPP government of cooking up figures as a ploy to get money from the donors and abuse it. Should we assume that the MCP and their allies are still in denial or have ran out of ideas? Nobody wants to politicize this pandemic but if the government is not taking appropriate action to stop the situation from getting out of control, we will call them out.
We are therefore, urging the government to step up now and take practical lead in fighting this pandemic.
The whole world is aware that our neighbours, South Africa, are going through an aggravated Covid-19 situation to the extent that countries like Britain have temporarily banned travelers from almost the entire SADC region because of the South African situation. While not blaming the Government for accepting returnees from South Africa, we find fault with the way government is handling the whole issue, notably, failure to provide quarantine facilities and manage them properly.
The conditions they travel in from South Africa, in crowded buses, can only spread the disease further and faster. Yet upon arrival here, they are let go on to local public transport and travel wherever they want. This is wrong. We are not helping the returnees; we are not helping our country contain the pandemic.
Today, returnees from South Africa held at Mapanga Prison Training camp have rioted and burnt the very tents housing them. We ask, Why? What are the living conditions in these centers? Are they well cared for? Considering the seriousness of COVID in South Africa where they are coming from, what security measures were put in place at the Centre to ensure the compliance of the returnees?
Malawians need urgent action from their government to protect them from this pandemic. The government must be bold enough to take tough measures to fight this pandemic for the good of our people. How many more people must be infected and die before the government realizes that Malawi is seating on a Covid-19 bomb?
We in the DPP, would like to appeal to all Malawians, for their own sakes, to follow all the covid-19 prevention measures such as washing hands with soap every so often, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, we call upon government to be transparent and take a holistic approach towards containing this disease.