Coronavirus has killed more than 400 000 people worldwide, shut down global economies, left millions of people out of work and has had drastic impacts on daily life. The world is still counting the loss and trying to find ways of recovering from Covid-19 pandemic. One thing that is so certain that life will never be the same for millions of people worldwide and it will take time for the economies to pick up.
While all this is crystal clear, there is a certain group of people that still deny the existence of Covid-19. Some do it so out of ignorance while others are doing simply to score cheap political scores. Coronavirus scepticism has cut across the political spectrum, and can be found among those in government and the opposition parties.
In Malawi with the campaign for the fresh presidential election underway, we have seen politicians taking to the podium to deny the existence of Covid-19. It’s one thing to oppose and another thing to oppose for the sake of opposing. Nobody lie to Malawians that there is no Coronavirus in Malawi because the pandemic is here and so far, four people have died from the disease.
In the hit of the moment and probably for lack of better ideas to share with their audience some politicians are spreading misinformation on Covid-19. Remarks by former president Joyce Banda some weeks ago, were very unfortunate should be condemn in strongest terms possible. Politicians who are also influencers should use the podiums to sensitise and educate Malawians on the disease and not dismissing the existence of the disease.
Those who have denied the existence of the disease, have paid it with their life. Burundi president, the late Pierre Nkuruzinza was one of the Africa leaders who was a Covid-19 denialist.
He just like his Tanzanian counterpart, John Magufuli threw all caution to the wind and behaved as though people were not dying from the coronavirus. Now we hear that Nkuruzinza might have died of Covid-19 and his wife is still recovering from the disease.
As for Tanzania, the past cases recorded in Malawi have mainly been of those who have travel history to Tanzania.
It is rather absurd for leaders to be Coronavirus denialists. Statements such as the one made by Joyce Banda, only serve to reverse the efforts that government and other stakeholders are taking in trying to contain and control the spread of the virus. Every Malawian has a civic duty to protect themselves and others from Covid-19. The starting point in doing so by accepting that there Covid-19 is here and one death is one too many.
We may not agree with how government is handling the issue of Covid-19 but does not mean the disease does not exist because it does. Yes, government has to be transparent in how it is using the money meant for the fight against Covid-19 and must account for every tambala they got or was allocated to Covid-19.
Be responsible leaders and stop spreading misinformation on Covid-19. There is already a lot of disinformation out there, politicians who many look up to, should help in demystifying some of the myths circulating in public domain.
Politicising Covid-19 is counterproductive. It is poor Malawians who will pay heavily for politicians’ careless statements. n