Too late, too little to visit bloodsucking victims
Malawi has hit international news headlines, as usual, for wrong reasons.
This time around, the BBC thought of allocating good time on its prestigious airwaves on the issue of ‘vampires’, people who allegedly go around sucking other people’s blood for rituals and other reason.
These stories started long time ago. I remember in the late 1960s, when I was young, these stories scared me a lot and whenever I was in my village, the beloved Chituwatuwa in Chief Mthiramanja’s area in Mulanje, I slept with my parents outside our house.
It was too scary to sleep inside our house.
So, when my mother, Mrs Gertrude Kashoti, now in her late 70s, called me a month ago to tell me that she and other people in the village are sleeping outside their houses, I flatly told her that they were just afraid of the unknown; this was just a myth and I told her to go back into her house that night.
However, she too flatly refused to return into the house. This is why this story has a personal angle because my mother and other relatives are sleeping outside their houses except my only uncle, Mr Sydney Mkwamba, who is bed-ridden due to an illness.
In addition, as I said earlier, my uncle at Chinomba Village in Chief Chikumbu’s area in Mulanje is as well sleeping outside his good house which his son, Edmond, generously built for him.
So when I heard that at least six people have been killed in Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Nsanje, I was shocked and dismayed at their deaths but I was not surprised.
When I heard that President Peter Mutharika would be visiting the affected districts today, Friday, I was shocked and surprised.
I was surprised and shocked simply because the Mutharika administration, has not come out clearly on the matter.
At least the police have come out clear and loud to say there are no vampires; the stories are just myths, bedtime talks to children.
I know that the government has instituted an investigation into the matter but it is too little, too late.
That is how we lost our brothers and sisters of albinism because this government tends to react on issues instead of being on top of issues.
The government should not have waited for six people to die before instituting an investigation.
After all, the police were in denial of these acts. So, how can people believe that they would do a wonderful job to dig deeper and identify the cause of the rumours?
I am not a dissident. After all, there are no dissidents in democracy but I think the government’s handling of the whole issue has been a mess.
We had a senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) official and Cabinet minister Henry Mussa and another veteran politician Nicholas Dausi saying at a press conference that the bloodsucking issue is “fake” – to borrow US President Donald Trump’s favourite word on his never-ending Twitter messages.
If the bloodsucking issue is not true, then why is the whole President blowing up the taxpayers’ money to visit the affected districts?
After all, since the whole issue started, the government has been silent on the matter, where was the Office of the President and Cabinet? Where was the Minister of Information?
I do not want to believe that this is a ‘fake’ government. I should believe that this is the government of the people of Malawi, for the people of Malawi including those from Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Nsanje and by the people of the country including the Lhomwe, the Yao and the Sena mostly affected by the rumour.
Another question which bothers my mind is: Why is it that always it is the Lhomwe belt hit by these rumours and myths? This government, the Peter Mutharika administration, owes us an explanation.
To be frank, this administration has managed to bring down crime, the insecurity that characterised the previous People’s Party government and saw a few police Czars or police gurus either lose their jobs or being transferred.
I cannot remember vividly when we had a serious crime in this country. This shows that the government, Ministry of Home Affairs and the police are doing a commendable job.
Except for political violence, especially in the North where the usual culprits, the DPP have been unleashing their venom on the opposition courtesy of a senior Cabinet minister close to the President, the country has been enjoying peace and tranquility.
This is why I wonder why the government or the police could not act on the issue of vampires early enough as they have done with the other issues I have outlines above.
My observation is that this government tends to act on some issues and react to others and this is not good for Malawi, a country previously known for milk and honey but now notorious for long-hour blackouts and killings of people with albinism, the elderly and now suspected ‘vampires.’
This government is good at arresting the opposition even before any evidence on them is gathered thoroughly but is cold feet on issues that affect the ordinary person on the ground, a real voter who spends over 10 hours on the queue to usher it into office.
What I am saying is that this issue of bloodsuckers could have been nipped in the bud long time ago.
I remember to have first read it in The Daily Times soon after my mother called to alert me.
I do not want to believe that this government is ineffective and inefficient but rather some people in the government are lazy and are not doing a good job; they are suckers of taxpayers’ money and need to be shown the boot.
Mutharika and his cronies should act as a government; they should be open and deal with issues decisively in a transparent and accountable manner not shrouding things in secrecy.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues