The past week has been full of social media hype in reaction to what State President Arthur Peter Mutharika said in Limbuli last weekend when he advisedMalawians to diversify their dietary options in a bid to enhance their nutrition and avert the looming hunger in their households.
The selective perception and misrepresentation of the speech by the media has been bought by the President’s critics across the board who are in turn trying to accuse the First Citizen of trivializing the issue of hunger in the country.
What the public has chosen to believe is far from the truth. Under repeated mention within the untrue contexts is that President Mutharika told Malawians to start relying on mice and grasshoppers (referred to in vernacular as Zitete). As a matter of correction, the right diction that the President used was Zitcheche not Zitete.
Those that hail from or are familiar with foods found in the Lomwe belt will know that Zitcheche is a kind of food commonly known as Yams in English interpretation.
In other districts they call it “Chilanzi”. Those who listened to the speech will agree that President Mutharika was primarily reliving his childhood days when as a boy he used to enjoy many varieties of food in the home besides maize which has now become a sole food brand in many households in the country.
Eating of Zitcheche and mice was a normal thing whenever maize stocks were depleted in those days. We can all agree that with changing times many cultures have lost touch with their roots and recent generations do not know much on the foods that differentiates them from others. It is therefore unfair and malicious to fault
President Mutharika for trying to remind parents and inform children to remember how past generations were dealing with unavailability of maize within the household.
Look at this; the President himself is the one who declared Malawi as a state of national disaster in view of the hunger that has come about due to destructive rains and drought for two consecutive farming seasons.
More so, President Mutharika has not only stopped at the declaration but has intensified the purchase of maize from neighboring countries and as far as Mexico to ensure that Malawians have enough food up until the next harvest. Informed by such a commitment to deal with hunger, Malawians must be the first to appreciate that their leader is working round the clock to bring enough food into national reserves in readiness for hard times.
It is therefore not logical that the same President whose government is buying over a million metric tonnes of maize can on the other hand start making pronouncements asking people to forget maize as their staple food.
And to be true to ourselves, Malawians are a people who love traditional foods some of which are mice. It therefore smacks lack of camaraderie for anyone to start insulting the Head of State for mentioning a delicacy that unites us in so many ways across all cultures. It is time we learn to shelve our political leanings and start appreciating our living as a unified nation. Time for twisting somebody’s words to gain political mileage is long gone.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :