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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

The needless death of children is regrettable

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It was supposed to be a day of celebrations, Christmas, but, as our leaders were looking up at us from their balconies, perhaps clearing their throats after getting meals and uninterrupted power supply— courtesy of our taxes— children were dying at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
As our leaders were moving about in their well-lit corridors, some four children— who, to them, remain faceless and nameless— were breathing their last at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe because of promises and broken promises of our leaders.
Due to our leaders’ failure to sort out electricity supply challenges, children who were fortunate enough to be admitted to KCH’s Highly Dependent Unit (HDU) ended up being the unfortunate ones because oxygen machines were rendered useless after a power outage and they had to gasp for breath before giving up the soul.
Of course, KCH management wants to paint a picture that everything is in order, since, according to management, the facility has generators everywhere, Intensive Care Units and HDUs inclusive.
But, then, lives have been lost.
We blame the situation on the country’s clueless leadership. For a long time, we have been subjected to a cocktail of lies. Just recently, Malawians have been fed a cocktail of lies on the issue of generators. It is on record that Aggreko, the supplier of the same, was supposed to commission a 20 megawatts (MW) generator on December 24 and another 35MW generator on December 31 2017.
But this has not happened. It is these lies— or the tendency to shift goal posts— that has led to the death of four innocent children who will never be seen or heard of again.
This is not only embarrassing but catastrophic. The children, in case the country’s leadership needs a reminder, are the backbone of the Malawi those who are past their prime, in age and thinking, will leave behind. But, instead of nurturing the young ones, we are busy, directly and indirectly, pushing them to their early grave by subjecting them to incessant blackouts.
Surely, Malawians want nothing less than action to stop man-made deaths in the country. In fact, Malawians would like the President to address them on the issue. Malawians want to know how the current administration will solve the current challenges, in terms of what the government wants to be done, and how it will get things done, without giving false hopes.
In fact, Malawians want to know whether the leadership knows what it means to live in darkness, and what it means when people have electricity supply when they want it, and what this administration wants to do to stop preventable deaths before our candle of hope burns to the ground.
Maybe it is only such personal communication between a leader and his people that may assuage our pains. After all, the biggest problem in Malawi is that people have lost trust in words of the President, who has been saying what he cannot deliver, so that he may need to break down walls of skepticism to make his message sound credible.

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