The ending week has seen Africa gripped with protests. On social media, especially Twitter, the hashtags have been about voices of dissent against various vices on the continent.
In Nigeria, trending has been #EndSARS. Here, the Nigerians are against the police unit Special Anti-Robbery Squad which instead of protecting its citizens from armed robbery, is now murdering, torturing and raping the populace. Protestors have been on the street where some have been killed and injured.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, #CongoIsBleeding is against the ‘genocide’ that is happening in the country as armed groups compete for control of rich mining areas. It is reported that about six million, over half of them children, have been killed in the fray, with 48 women raped.
As we speak, #AmINext is the South African voice against human trafficking, especially among young women and girls who are trafficked for sexual exploitation, criminal activities as well as organ transplants.
One can go on about the trends about the Liberians up against rape as the Cameroonians grapple with #AnglophoneCrisis against an insurgence that has seen about 3 000 dead and displaced. The Zimbabweans have borrowed a leaf from the Americans with #BlackLivesMatter.
It is the Namibian trending hashtag #ShutItAllDown I found interesting. Here, the youth are demanding government immediate action to address femicide, rape and sexual abuse.
This Namibian hashtag appears to speak about the Malawi we live in today. It comes at a time an elderly woman stoned to death in Dedza because some senseless people suspected she was a witch. It comes at a time a man with an insatiable lust defiles a little girl. The temptation is so great to join all those saying rape and defilement should earn more punishment than just imprisonment, like castration.
While we are on the defilement of little girls, we have heard of chiefs working hard to end child marriages. Something, nonetheless, is missing, as we have scarcely been told that men who married children have been arrested for perpetual defilement under the guise of marriage. The criminals who marry children are roaming our streets.
It feel the Namibians are also speaking for Malawians on femicide, given that a man travels from South Africa to Mzimba to kill his girlfriend in a macabre passion crime as she was involved in an affair with another man. There is no justification whatever for the slaughter.
Back at home, #HelpPolyNeedyStudents an #EducationForTonse has been trending for those standing against the decision by the management of The Polytechnic to bar final year students with outstanding fees balances from accessing their examination results. About 1 000 students are in the dilemma.
Among the comments on this is the fact that during the Campaign period, President Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate Saulos Chilima under the Tonse Alliance banner made the commitment that no student must fail to get an education because they don’t have fees.
The question of needy students has been on the scene far too long. We have heard of students sleeping in lecture theatres as they can’t afford to pay for accommodation in hostels. There was that heart-rending story about a Polytechnic student who was assaulted by robbers when he was also working as a guard to make some more money for his fees.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Chakwera said the Ministry of Education, Polytechnic management and the Loans Board should sort out the problem. Chakwera, even the First Lady Monica, have often alluded to the fact that they come from a poor background from which they rose with the greatest equaliser: Education.
There is one thing about the hashtag generation. Most of the times, they attain their goals. At the moment, you can think of the #FeesMustFall in South Africa, where students were against hikes in fees. At one point, the students stormed Parliament and President Jacob Zuma had to come out using a side door. Taming the hashtag generation is a must.