Media update on covid-19

It is now over two weeks since the official campaign period, for the fresh presidential election, was launched by the embattled Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) Chairperson, Dr Jane Ansah, on the 2nd of May, 2020. During the said launch, the Chairperson advised all politicians to stick to an issue-based mode of campaign but also to the preventive measures against Corona Virus, a monster that has gravely devastated the globe.

A bit of a background: on Friday 20, March, 2020, the State President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, declared a national State of Disaster due to Corona Virus which was already declared a global pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO). Following the President’s declaration, some measures to intercept any possible outbreak of the disease were put in place. Chief among them were the closure of schools, colleges and universities and banning of gatherings of more than 100 people.

Although the measures were effected, the virus made its way into the country. On 2 April, 2020, the first three cases of Covid-19 were recorded.

However, of particular mention have been the closure of schools, colleges and universities and the ban of gatherings of more than 100 people. Since the two measures came into effect, life has not been the same. Banning the gatherings means that the business of life has completely changed.

As the status quo continues, people are losing their jobs, students are just idling at home and some of them are gradually becoming indifferent to education, worse still others are either indulging in premarital sex or just getting married.

Business people have been given a raw deal as their businesses no longer realise the intended profits they used to before the ban. As a matter of fact, some businesses are closing down and even turning over their labour simply because they can no longer afford to pay salaries. For instance, business in the tourism industry is gradually closing down and the ultimate loser of this, is Malawi’s economy.

Within the same realm of business, teachers in independent schools are losing their jobs because their employers can no longer afford to pay them as their financial pools are now slowly but surely downsizing.

The valid argument is: schools closed down and the students, who pay the teachers through school fees, are at home. Then where will the money to pay the teachers come from?

Realistically speaking, this pandemic has caught us pants down.

However, politicians in the country are not helping the situation any better. Looking at what is happening on the ground, as they are busy campaigning for the presidency on the 2nd of July, this year, one would be tempted to argue that it’s all the same to reopen the schools, colleges and universities and all other businesses and let normal life take its course.

Actually, since the launch of the campaign period, we see that party zealots at the campaign rallies are jam-packed to the brim and no social distancing is observed. In other words, our politicians are communicating a message that Covid-19 is but a disease for the next today. Today, let’s gather as many supporters as we can.

But, if truth be told, the Covid-19 is real and we are all witnesses of the gravity of this disease. So many people out there have lost lives to the pandemic. Shockingly, those are the people from countries with far much better health systems than Malawi’s. If we are not very careful, we will wake up and discover that almost every Malawian is Covid-19 positive because almost on weekly basis, the country is registering new cases of the diseases – the numbers are increasing day by day – and yet campaign gatherings are still taking place.

As if that is not enough, it is very nauseating to hear in the media that whilst the numbers of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to soar, our politicians, who are even tasked with the responsibility of updating the nation with right information regarding the prevention of the virus, are busy launching sports bonanzas in their constituencies for the very same Malawians whose lives are at stake because of the pandemic.

Apparently, this is not a unique electoral season. Last year, Malawians already went to the same polls and they voted for the leaders of their choice. This time around, they still have the same leaders in mind and this campaign will not influence their decision. If it will, the magnitude will be very negligible as it is just a reinvention of the wheel.

Politicians, please walk the talk! Let’s all observe the Covid-19 preventive measures which you put on paper for us all to follow!

Do bear in mind that you will canvass the votes but that may cause serious damage to innocent Malawians whose only capital is the life you are subjecting to the ruthless pandemic.

Let’s unite against the disease and conquer it together as brothers or perish as fools!

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