Just received a copy of the law that the minister can invoke in order to regulate public movements and gatherings during COVID-19 crisis.
Among the few exceptions under which people may be allowed to ‘break’ lockdown there is one that says we can do it ‘obtain essential goods or services’. So let’s just take a look at what those may be:
a) For folks in villages/rural areas we are looking at – going ku Chigayo,
– kukathyola ndiwo kumunda (daily),
– kukatunga madzi (several times a day)
– the list goes on and on…
b) For people in ma location a mtauni we are looking at:
– kukagula ndiwo ku msika (daily),
– kukagulitsa ndiwo and other essentials ku msika or pa njinga (daily)
– kukagwira ganyu ya daily pay for chakudya cha lero (brick layers, call boys, osenza katundu, the list goes on and on (daily)
– kukatchova kabaza (daily).
So by the end of the day, is there anyone left on lockdown? I don’t think so.
From the look of things, it looks like the phrase ‘except for obtaining essential goods or services’ means one thing in developed countries and quite another in poor countries.
In the former, as well as in the suburbs of poor countries, you can easily manage to obtain those essential goods and services once in a while as you are able to stock up which is normally done anyway when it comes to groceries and other essentials.
But out there in the villages and townships, the concept of stocking up just does not exist. Additionally, in townships a livelihood is earned – and spent – on a daily basis.
By the end of the day a lockdown that provides for the exception of ‘obtaining essential goods or services’ is only a lockdown elsewhere. In Malawi, it is no lockdown at all because everyone in the villages and townships, more than 90% of the populations, is an exception.