I listened with intent to the maiden Sona by President Lazarus Chawera; I was searching in it for anything technological. And behold there was.
According to the President, the Ministry of Information is a total of three elements; internet, postal services and broadcasting houses. I respectively, disagree. It is all about one thing, data.
I have said it more times than I care to count that the letter became electronic in the late 1990s. The letter first became email. Actually, the first servers to handle emails were rightly called postal offices.
Thirty years down the line, the email has almost lost it to one-to-one social media apps like WhatsApp. And now we have easy-to-use teleconference apps like Zoom.
It is about time we convinced ourselves that the post office is a museum where our children and grandchildren can go to and appreciate the absurdity of communication tools of the past.
If I want to listen to radio today, I do not have to own a radio. I simply log to the broadcasting station’s website and click ‘listen to radio’. For stations like BBC and many others, I do not even need data to do so.
While busy chatting on Facebook, I can watch live streaming by TV stations like TTV, Zodiak or Mibawa. It is all about internet and data.
In Europe and America, people buy one data bundle for telephony, TV viewing and internet; one bundle.
The Malawi Postal Services has been making loses ever since the advent of multiparty in Malawi and each government seems not to understand why. The postal services should not belong to the ministry of information but to that of antiquities.
Why would anybody post a letter when the same can be emailed or sent via WhatsApp?
The world is fast-changing and soon, our Television broadcasting houses will transmit through the internet. The internet is already the super highway for everything.
The responsibility of a government is to enhance access to electricity and internet.
Previous governments have tried to increase access to internet through construction of tele-centres in the rural Malawi. The problem here is that the cost of one telecentre can purchase thousands of cheaper smartphones for the entire village.
Currently, just above ten percent of the Malawi population has access to electricity. The last time I checked, equally a pitiful number of people had access to the internet. Our internet is exorbitantly expensive. Prices are going down, thanks to ISPs, but were not there yet. It is all about internet and data and anything else is vanity.