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National collateral damages

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The Warm Heart of Africa has lost a bit of its warmth lately. A bit is being rather modest; let us call a spade a spade – The Warm Heart of Africa no longer exists. It is but a fragment in the memory of its citizens that perpetually arouses dreadful nostalgia.

I say this because we are no longer ‘warm’. We have become narcissistic and violent. Greedy and selfish. Self-serving. Mediocre. Myopic. If it is not plundering of public funds and corruption, it is chaos in the name of well-meaning protests. Oh dear Malawi, how you break my heart so.

A few days ago, little children were all over the Capital City in protests to a point that these miniature Homo sapiens ended up on the receiving end of tear gas. The children had joined forces to urge government to address the concerns of their teachers who were agitating for a sit-in.

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Pupils as young as seven years of age were seen in the roads of the capital blocking traffic and chanting protest songs. Many rushed to condemn the police for using deadly force on the little ‘innocent’ humans but my question was: why were the little innocent humans protesting in the streets to start with?

I will tell you why – this is the culture we have cultivated in the country. And this culture is derailing important sectors in the country like the health and education sectors. But what of the collateral damages that come with these actions? What are we really benefitting from these protests?

Few weeks back, University of Malawi’s Chancellor College (Chanco) was in similar running battles with the police after wreaking havoc in Zomba City to the point of blocking the motorcade of the United States Second Lady, Jill Biden. What a pointer for a country that is already receiving a lot of bad publicity worldwide. The college was eventually closed and another academic year delayed inadvertently.

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Most of the country soon forgot about the protests as business went back to usual. But those events were not to be a forgotten tale for those that had a lot to lose due to the protests; the collateral damages.

As life went on business as usual for the rest of us, others were still in and out of hospitals having injuries and allergies from the fracas treated. Others had to cater for transportation and other costs that were not in their budgets to return home. Others had taken days off from work with a set plan to complete a semester within a specific period and return to work and all that had been wasted. These people had nothing but bitter tastes on their tongues at the thought of the protests.

In the protests that I have witnessed in the country over the years, there always seems to be more lost than gained.

The collateral damages outweigh the benefits. But we cont inue with these protests like mad people expecting a different result from the same actions.

What of the lives that are lost when medical personnel go on strike? For the rest of the country, these may be mere statistics but for those people who have suffered a loss, the anguish is inexplicable; it is a father, a son, a breadwinner, a mother, a daughter that is lost forever. A few days later, the rest of the country goes back to business as usual, the collateral damages soon forgotten.

Remember we had the #StopAlbinoKillings campaign not so long ago? A lot of people used the campaign to gain popularity and attention with little visible mitigation of the problem on the ground. Meanwhile, people with albinism continued to get slaughtered and continued to live in fear. As expected, business went back to usual for the rest of us expect the people directly affected by the problem.

Protests manage to grab a lot of attention in the local media and on social media but that is just about it. The same issues remain unsolved; we keep tarnishing the reputation of the country, we keep derailing the education system and we keep piling up unnecessary collateral damages.

As with the rest of the world, influenced mainly by the upsurge of technology and social media, life has become more about impressions than reality. People would rather get attention for doing nothing or for doing something stupid than solve problems hands-on.

This mentality is fas t flowing through the veins of the citizenry and it is one of the factors promoting inaction instead of action; promoting chaos instead of mediation and a problem-solving unified mentality.

Honestly, these protests and strikes have gone on for too long. Enough collateral damages already.

I rest my case

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