We have been disappointed by the sensationalism promoted by one of Malawi’s purported leading media platforms – The Daily Times. In its Editorial (Opinion) published in The Daily Times, 13 May 2016 titled ‘’When Government Creates Poverty,’’ the paper fronts and stunts as Chief Advisor to Government with reckless abandon to fact and detail.
The Comment advances the misleading view that Malawi governments, both previous and current, have not been doing anything to advance living standards of Malawians. As the writer fails to see changes that have taken place in the country, the article fallaciously concludes that Malawian leadership has been committed to ‘development and democracy in rhetoric only.’
The Comment further adds that ‘In practice, it [leadership] has baffled and tortured the masses by being unpredictable, unprincipled, and obsessed with personal gain, leaving the bulk of the population in dire poverty.’
The Ministry would like to place these issues in the right perspective: that our brothers and sisters met a terrible and unforeseen tragedy in Mozambique is not in dispute.
We do not understand why any Malawian would decide to climb on a hill and celebrate tragedy when we are mourning the loss of our fellow citizens, before they are even buried. Government thinks the writer of the Comment has crossed the marks of decency and respect. It has decided to trivialise the mourning Malawians.
The comment is not only misplaced but outright insensitive and, actually an offence to Malawian moral beliefs.
That Malawi is part of the global, cross border trade, movements and migration from time immemorial is foreign to the writer of the commentator of the tragedy. It is unknown to the writer that people, as long as they live on this planet have to travel from country to country for various reasons.
This is not limited to Malawi alone. We have many foreign nationals present in Malawi today seeking similar opportunities. It is therefore irresponsible for the writer to claim, under whatever guise, that when citizens go outside Malawi seeking opportunities is equivalent to Government failing its citizens.
In case the writer is living on some other planet, we wish to remind them a few milestones the current administration of His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has introduced aimed at empowering its citizens. These include:
• Initiating Skills Development through Community Colleges
• Infrastructure Development Programmes
• Introduction of new tertiary institutions
• Trade and Investment Initiatives through events like the Malawi International Trade Forum
• Initiating a long term direct investment programme
• Commencing to resolve power supply problems that have haunted Malawi for decades
• Driving austerity measures and economic autonomy with zero-aid budget as well as steering the economy from cashgate chaos that Mrs Joyce Banda left
• Moving the country towards irrigation and food diversification as Malawi seeks to become food secure and moves into production and exporting.
The above are, but a few of the many citizen empowering initiatives introduced by this Government to change the lives of Malawians.
It is therefore regrettable that the Commentator would choose the death of fellow citizens as an opportunity to belittle Government development efforts.
Instead of mourning with those who have lost their dear ones, it is immoral to use the tragedy that has befallen our friends to celebrate an attack on Government.
As Government, we have no wish to disrespect the media by going into verbal bartering with them. It is the wish of the Government to foster national unity, development, citizen empowerment and a flourishing free media in the country.
It is with that thinking that Government calls on the Daily Times to respect life, respect the decency of humanity even in death and move away from cold media tactics and for once move into positive, ethical and progressive reporting practise which we can all align with and for once be proud of.
PATRICIA KALIATI, MP
MINISTER OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY AND CIVIC EDUCATION; GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON