As of Wednesday, Covid-19 cases were at 455. Four people have died and over 60 have recovered. However, to former president Joyce Banda, these figures are sexed up to attract donor money.
“We know that there is Covid-19 in many countries but I think God loves us because there is no clear case that the government is telling us about. There is no Covid-19 in Malawi,” she stated at a rally in Nkhata Bay on Monday.
In Zomba last week, JB also expressed similar views, but Vice-President Saulos Chilima was quick to correct her in his speech by telling the rally that Covid-19 was real and we must continue to listen to professional advice from health experts.
Her remarks might have shocked many. But we on the streets are not shocked at all. First, the former State president is a loudmouth. Often she says stuff that cannot be substantiated. She is a typical Donald Trump, who makes up stories for political gain. The good thing, Malawians know her well as she is a shrewd politician, and no one should take what she says seriously.
You have to go back to her tenure at State House to fully understand her. When Cashgate exploded in her face, was she not the one who told us she knew the people who shot budget director Paul Mphwiyo only to change her tune later. Was it not JB who told us that the presidential jet was sold to buy maize, only to learn later that the money was used to buy fuel or medical drugs?
Was she not the one who quoted wrong sections of the Constitution when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had robbed her of victory in 2014 presidential election? And more recently, was she not the one, who told the nation that she had sealed an alliance with UTM only to change tune a day later.
JB has a sharp tongue—perhaps a good attribute for a politician that she is, but that neither makes her a health expert nor her honorary PhD make her a doctor. We are not poisoning the well, but simply reminding Malawians of the type of politician we are dealing with.
Actually, word on the street is that Malawians are in the mess that they are in today because of Joyce Banda. She allowed greedy politicians to take over her government and loot left-right and centre.
At a time Malawians were hopeless under Bingu wa Mutharika, and looked up for a saviour, JB came in only to drag them further into poverty. In 2014, people were stuck between a rock and a hard place and chose DPP again because of Banda’s policies.
Word on the street is that Malawians are yet to forgive JB for what she did to this country and her careless remarks on Covid-19 are rubbing salt in healing wounds.
Of course, she might have a point that government is abusing Covid-19 funds. But that is public information after Ministers Mark Botomoni and Jappie Mhango were caught on camera discussing Covid-19 allowances.
As some experts have said sentiments by JB confirm the need to develop risk communication packages targeting our politicians “because their negative energy, if nurtured, can turn into powerful sensitisation machinery.”
However, in the absence of such Covid-19 risk communication package, JB and others better shut up and concentrate their campaign on what they will do to end poverty when they takeover government on June 23. Covid-19 is real and is killing millions of people around the world. n