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Do not be overzealous on the roads

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On Tuesday morning, I found myself on a queue that snaked from the Chitawira direction towards Kwacha Roundabout in Blantyre and as we drew closer to the roundabout, the unbelievable happened. A police officer on foot (probably on duty) and fully dressed in traffic uniform, partially disturbed the flow of traffic as he ran after a motorcycle taxi which carried female passenger.

And as he tried to get hold of the motorcycle’s carrier, the startled lady passenger jumped from the moving motorcycle and I immediately observed that she might have been hurt as she was walking with a slight limp. The taxi guy fled with his motorcycle, but besides the inconvenienced and distraught passenger whom the police officer was now trying to console, there were a couple of vehicles that nearly rammed into each other due to the disturbance created.

Yes we must, at all cost, abide by traffic rules and regulations especially now when motorcycle taxi operators are all over town but the above incident left many of us with a lot of unanswered questions:

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Was it all worth it for the officer to (unsuccessfully) pursue this kabaza fellow up to the extent of disturbing the flow of traffic?

What about the plight of this distraught passenger who, aside from whatever the scratches or injuries she picked, now had to look for alternative transport in the middle of nowhere?

Surely, our men in uniform can do better. Likewise, the motorcycle taxi person also shoulders part of the blame for whatever crime he had committed.

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Let us all be responsible when on the roads. Motorcyclists, you have to see to it that your bikes are registered and certified and most importantly, have crush helmets. Do not deliberately instigate altercations with Police as witnessed above.

Towards meeting the job narrative

One of the trump-cards that helped herald the Tonse-Alliance into government in the June 2020 presidential election, is no doubt, the promise that it would create 1 million jobs in its maiden year in office.

But soon this would prove quite a tall order as in the very year that the Tonse Alliance assumed office; the Covid-19 pandemic went on rampage, upsetting the entire globe and the small economy that is Malawi was, as expected, not spared.

We all saw how companies struggled as some of them went about downsizing; trimming both staff and production. It was even much harder for individuals doing cross-border trade as some of the countries where they get their merchandise from closed borders, not just for business but also to people from outside to avoid importing new strands of the deadly coronavirus.

It appears however that that has not been much of a deterrent, if recent announcements are anything to go by. We are told that through the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) government did manage to create some jobs through transportation and storage.

“Projects such as Affordable Inputs Programme, we created thousands of jobs. But we lost 600,000 jobs. The loss could have been more,” President Lazarus Chakwera is quoted to have told the BBC’s Hardtalk in July this year.

Hopefully, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, some people, I presume, also got recruited as healthcare workers. But just as I indicated earlier, it goes without saying that this was also the time when companies were affected the most.

Why this interest in job creation, all of a sudden, you might wonder?

Well, I was forced to reflect on this particular promise by Tonse Alliance when I gathered over the weekend that some enterprising Malawians are ready to create 300 direct jobs through a fertiliser factory they are planning to set up. This is after acquiring a loan worth $2 million (about K1.6 billion).

This is definitely great news to the electorate, more so considering remarks by Shire Fertilisers Business Development Manager Noel Nyirenda that the move would help contain the escalating prices of fertiliser, which is an essential commodity for families and entities that are into farming.

“This will have a huge impact on prices of fertiliser in the country because fertiliser is not that expensive but sea and rail transport is what makes it expensive,” he said.

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