Even without a single case of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) registered, Malawians are already feeling the pinch of the pandemic.
Our two main key trading partners, Tanzania and South Africa, are on a lockdown.
This, already, has pushed prices up as demand of goods is soaring against supply.
Even as government is banning social and public gatherings which helps millions to earn a living, they surely know that millions in this country will feel the economic pinch.
In fact, as they announced the reduction of the number of people in public transport, government was well aware that it will hit the local people even harder.
Just after a day, prices of minibuses, taxis and buses; shot up by 100 percent—the worst nightmare to have ever hit this country.
If you are from Area 25 in Lilongwe, and you paid K500 to get to work in town, you should have been dead shock to learn that you will now be paying K1000.
Against stagnant salaries, the 100 percent increase is a nail on the coffin of millions in this country who lives below a dollar a day.
What struggling Malawians expected in these painful times is a motherly and comforting government that will announce measures to insulate them from these abominable pains caused by Covid-19.
They expected, from Mark Botomani, government spokesperson, to be saying measures his government has put in place to lessen the suffering of Malawians.
Not this government.
In his splendid stupor, Botomani or his government has played the devil-in-chief with remarks so insensitive, so disdaining, so insulting to Malawians.
In fact, even in his most embarrassing career as a government spokesperson, the irritating Nicholas Dausi never hit such a rock bottom, insulting Malawians the way Botomani has.
By telling Malawians to walk to work if they can’t afford the 100 percent public transport hike, Botomani has only confirmed the brutal and uncaring nature of the government he works for.
Unless another government official comes to refute him, Malawians today are self-evident that they are on their own—this government is not part of them.
Across the world, governments are doing what they can to insulate their people from the pains of lockdowns and restrictions emanating for Covid-19.
They are cutting interest rates in Kenya, they are suspending water bills in South Africa, they are removing PAYE for lowest workers in Botswana —all these are sensitive measures by responsible governments to show they care for their people.
Not this government.
The tragedy of it all is that, despite insulting people he was appointed to serve, Botomani will still be at ease, in that latest Prado TX, making rounds as if nothing happens.
Because he works for an irresponsible government, Botomani will be rewarded with the medal of still being our Minister of Information.
That is the DPP government for you—good at protecting elements that keep destroying their repute.
But even as Botomani still clings to serving people he insults, he needs to understand that he has just gone down in history as that government spokesperson who told off his people to “walk to work” when his government endorsed a 100 percent hike of public transport.
He will be remembered as that drunk Marie Antoinette, the 17th century princess of France, who when her people complained of mass hunger she told them off, saying: “let them eat cake”.
No, Botomani; Malawians won’t eat cake, won’t walk to work—you will eat cake but walk back, empty, to Zomba shortly.
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