As Christmas jingle bells ring across the world, the glitz and glamour that the festival is associated with should be well managed to avoid regrets, church, police and social commentators have said.
But as Malawi joins the rest of the world in celebrating Christmas—a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ—which this year falls on Monday, the citizenry should brace for a quieter festival with power blackouts expected to dampen the the season’s mood.
Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary general Father Henry Saindi said in an e-mailed response that Christians should use the time to impact positively on lives of others, including the underprivileged.
He said: “This is the time for meditating on the theme of love as displayed by Jesus while he was on earth as it is highlighted in John 3: 16-17. It is not wrong to celebrate through feasting because it is a way of coming together in celebrating the season and showing love by sharing whatever people have.”
Saindi said the most important thing is to ensure that Christians should not deviate from the teachings of the Christian faith.
Pastor Timothy Ziba of the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) called for believers to use the period to seek God’s favours.
“There are different ways of celebrating, but the most important thing is to remember that we are in the holy season where we also need to remain holy,” he said.
Economic commentator Dalitso Kubalasa called for a sober approach in spending habits over the period.
Said Kubalasa: “Prudent spending is the most important thing not only during Christmas because we all live on what we possess and when we squander it, we are bound to suffer. During festive season, it is wise to budget first by considering the basics of life and then what we need immediately after the festive season.”
On the other hand, the police have appealed to Malawians to stay safe in their homes and on the roads.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera in an interview on Tuesday called on all people in the country to safeguard their lives and property in the festive period that has always been characterised by an increase in crime and road accidents.
He specifically bemoaned the fact that 2017 has seen a high wave of road accidents claiming about 2 000 lives, a development he described as “shocking.”
“Some drivers are very reckless on the road and that is the reason why we have experienced a high number of accidents this year. Most of the accidents that we have seen are preventable. As such, as the police we are ready to deploy officers armed with breathlysers and speed traps,” he said.
Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS), which this week issued a statement warning road users through its spokesperson Angelina Makwecha, on Wednesday said road traffic regulations will be followed to the letter to promote road safety.
She said: “Most motorists during the festive season drive under the influence of alcohol and as such they are fond of speeding. We are therefore calling upon all drivers not to drink and drive, always to observe speed limits and to use seat belts.”
While Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) spokesperson George Mituka could not guarantee an improved supply of electricity during the season, he said his organisation was upbeat about utilising power saved from industry, which might shutdown for holidays.
“If the power supply situation improves, distribution will also improve. Besides this, on the demand side, it is expected that most industries will shut down for Christmas. If this happens, we expect that there will be less demand from industry and this freed capacity will be channelled to domestic customers,” he said.