Hon. Folks, we stated last week how apparent the Tonse alliance administration has crafted a weird vibe among some citizens who apparently feel they can act as they wish and no longer worry about the risks of their stances on the wider population.
The basis of that estimation was last week’s sturdy backlash on the government after it gazzeted new rules to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 pandemic which has so far killed over 150 people and cumulatively infected over 5 000 others since Malawi’s first confirmed case on April 2.
Among others, the government announced the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places with a K10 000 fine upon conviction for failure to abide by the set rule.
However, what followed next was a string of controversies from religious leaders and some sections of society, especially on the previous ban on public gatherings that was limited to 10 people only, except for funerals (50), Parliamentary gatherings and meetings convened to discuss Covid-19 interventions.
As expected, this ruffled the feathers of many religious groupings which openly rejected and defied the government’s move. It prompted the authorities to call for an emergency interface with the Christian and Muslim leaders, among others, where the gathering cap was expanded to 100.
That time, some clerics claimed they were not consulted by the government on the newly gazzeted measures and ‘religiously’ vowed to defy the same claiming they were ‘ambushed’,
Certainly, the clerics were right in their grievances, especially on the argument that the new restrictions were simply imposed on them without ‘appropriate’ consultations.
Now, there have been interesting arguments in the past week particularly on social media where many fanatics took on their religious leaders for equally failing to consult them before challenging the government’s rules.
Apart from this, there were also many contestations advanced by some quarters of society trying to portray a picture of these church leaders busy attempting to force their flock into places of worship at a time when almost everyone is seemingly cautious of the impact of the virus.
As we said earlier, in spite of the ongoing disagreements between the government and other quarters, it is still important for Malawians to look at the bigger picture and critically figure out how the deadly coronavirus has devastated the world.
Let us take South Africa for instance which is among the few African countries widely revered to be hinged on the foundations of defiance probably over its anti-apartheid background.
Just four months ago, the rainbow country was grappling with the pandemic roughly in the region of what Malawi and other countries are today and the government quickly imposed one of the stringiest lockdowns in the world to contain the spread of the virus.
However, what resulted next were a series of protests and looting by some citizens who openly detested the restrictive measures.
In no time the infections spiked to somewhat uncontainable levels due to what others attributed to citizens’ growing tendency of sticking a chin out at authority and being sceptical of the government regulations meant to protect them.
Sadly today—with public defiance to government measures as one of the possible contributing factors—South Africa anchors the list of the world’s six worst hit countries with over 11 000 Covid-19 deaths and about 570 000 infections.
Hon. Folks, these are some of the lessons that this country still needs to digest at this critical moment. Remember, Covid-19 is real and we all have one life to live. Actually, it is always everyone for himself of herself and God for us all.