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Jobs we will get

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Puludzu

In all honesty, it certainly has been a torrid week for the Tonse Alliance-led administration as the public took the government to town after President Lazarus Chakwera had announced, through his State of the Nation Address in Parliament, that his administration had managed to create 997,423 job opportunities.

Ordinarily such news was expected to be greeted with much appreciation and jubilation from the general public, considering the tough economic times Malawians have experienced in recent years,. Unless one is a stranger in this country, it is no longer news that, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people lost their jobs as companies were forced to scale back production while others went as far as closing shop as they could not cope with the economic strain as well as the lockdowns in other countries that limited access and shipment of vital raw materials.

I am pretty sure that many people in the country know exactly what a job or a job opportunity is. A job is defined as a paid position of regular employment or, better yet, simple piece work; even casual labour qualifies in that regard. Granted, anyone can claim to have a job as long as they are involved in an activity that helps them earn meaningful income.

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The problem, I believe, in Malawi’s current scenario comes in because the kind of jobs that the people had expected are long-term based and where somebody gets to seriously earn his or her keep and not necessarily some casual job or, as the youth nowadays would say, ‘side hustle’. And I am fully convinced that, deep down in their heart, the Tonse Alliance, before getting the grips of power, did not have in mind what Labour Minister Vera Kamtukule and Information Minister Gospel Kazako referred to as the ‘International Labour Organisation’s definition of a job’.

The government has and continues to enjoy a lot of goodwill from Malawians but it would be foolhardy to think it can pull a fast one on them in as far as the job creation issue goes. What people want to see is serious business entities setting up shop in the country that would help sweep a lot of youths who are just languishing in poverty at home or roaming the streets, with little or nothing to do with their time. Sadly, these include those who have come out of colleges and universities.

We should be seeing factories and manufacturing companies sprouting across the country and snapping up those who thought all hope was gone when they were laid off or their small scale business buckled under pressure due to the Covid-19 impact.

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It is high time our people were uplifted economically and an hour-long engagement or indeed peddling face masks on the street is but only a mere drop in the ocean compared to the hope that Malawians nurse, which in a way compelled them to give the Tonse Alliance their votes since they struck the right chord during campaign period.

A cry for the Dedza man

When people end up losing their lives in the quest to rid the public service of stinking corruption and fraud, every person who subscribes to the ideals of justice and humanity must be concerned.

I never knew one Alinafe Bonongwe, who, we are told, was one of the managers for Malawi Revenue Authority at its Dedza Border Post but, from the outpouring of messages of grief, especially on social media over his tragic death, I could tell that he was indeed a very good man.

In the face of the tragic end to his life, a lot has come out regarding how he selflessly dedicated himself to duty and that he was at the heart of a struggle to root out corruption and fraud, especially to do with tax evasion at Dedza Border Post. Some have even claimed that his death might have had something to do with the battle he was wagging against corruption and fraud.

Now that medical professionals have confirmed that he was actually murdered and that Police have already netted five suspects, it is our expectation that no one will attempt to pervert the course of justice. Justice must be served to those people who have deprived somebody of a dad, husband, son, uncle and the country of a much-needed human resource, a very dedicated and committed one for that matter.

Well, I guess we will have to wait for the experts and investigators to give us the finer details as to how Bonongwe met such a sad end. No doubt if it is indeed linked to his work, then his colleagues would no doubt have been shaken to the core. Considering the sort of risks that come with such kind of jobs, perhaps it is high time the tax regulator seriously considered beefing security for staff in outlying stations.

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