ColumnsHitting The Nail

Why do we accept this nonsense?


The Road Traffic Department has since the installation of a new IT system become a torture chamber to many Malawians seeking its services.

Getting a mere driving license, certificate of fitness (COF) or changing ownership of a vehicle has become a more that two-week affair.

It does not matter who you are or where you are coming from. Those who have been to the department tell chilling stories of winding queues into offices with dirty walls and meeting rude staff that clearly do not know what to do after getting sub-standard training in a new computer system and they are just as frustrated as those seeking their service.


Amid all this, the line minister Francis Kasaila is aloof that all is well despite being prior warned that any haphazard introduction of the new IT would disrupt service and bring untold suffering to Malawians.

On the other hand, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) is in the process of introducing what it has called Broadcasting/ Content Services Regulations 2015 meant to kill the broadcasting industry that is still in its infancy and muzzle the media through the illegal state regulation.

And so Macra has come up with a comprehensive list of ‘crimes’ it expects in its wisdom the electronic media will commit and has promulgated various penalties in monetary terms the guilty will pay.


Macra has then also listed dos and don’ts to regulate TV advertising, monitor programme sponsorships as well as make sure it has a say on which politicians appear on TV in the name of affording fair coverage when we know the actual reason is to stop access of other politicians in media to keep it DPP.

To cap it all, Macra has also since turned itself into an expert on journalism and attempts to regulate it by trying to have a say on what journalists can do and not do in specialised undertakings such as investigative journalism.

All this is happening in spite of the fact that there is no state regulation for journalism in the country.

Also never mind that they are courts where those seeking remedy go to when they feel injured by any section of the media.

So without authority Macra is turning itself into a parallel kangaroo court where same individuals will be prosecutors and judges to pronounce penalties and jail terms for those to be found ‘guilty’.

All these shenanigans that Macra is doing at the behest of DPP are meant to subjugate all of us into willing victims.

The question is: Why do we Malawians accept this nonsense from offices that are supposed to serve us but have instead become tools to oppression as the two examples I have cited will show?

Why don’t we say enough is enough and refuse the torture inflicted upon us by offices such as Road Traffic Department?

What right does the department have to keep people on queues two weeks running? Does it not think about those that come from far flung places and have to pay for accommodation, food and other incidentals just to get a simple document such as a driving licence?

For Macra, what is this nonsense that seems to see no boundary? Is regulating the communication industry the same as telling journalists how to do their job or becoming a court of law? Where does this happen in the free world?

And I ask again, why do we Malawians accept this nonsense? Injustice can only be perpetrated against a willing victim and we are the willing victims.

Let us say enough and refuse to be treated like refugees waiting for food rations at Road Traffic.

Let us tell Macra to go to hell with its attempts to regulate who and what appears on TV and what we get to listen on radio in the name of placating the ruling DPP.

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