The convenience of food shortages
Whatever justification she may want to present, President Joyce Banda has no basis whatsoever for personally going around the country and distributing food handouts to the people. It's obvious the president just wants to score political points among the rural folks but the cost of her political strategy is just too much for the tax-payer.
I mean the job of distributing relief maize belongs to the Department of Disaster Management through District Commissioners. Not the president. The president's job is to champion policy and ensure its implementation but not directly doing the actual job on the ground. Her active participation in food distribution should have ended at the launch stage. She should then have gone back to the office and continue pushing her ministers and other officials from behind the scenes to make sure it was being done efficiently and effectively.
While her going around the districts would please the few beneficiaries who would directly receive a bag from her and appear on some pictures at State House, the majority of the population is not pleased at all and are beginning to interpret the food handout criss-crossing by the president as defiance and arrogance.
By the way, the president seems to have found the 'food shortage' so favourable that she does not want to hear anyone who says the situation seems to have been exaggerated a bit. I mean when one hears the PP machinery talking about the hunger situation in the country, you would think that the maize that is being distributed has actually been imported.
The truth though is that the maize is coming from our silos. And experts are even saying that when some maize has been taken out of the reserves, local traders are still able to supply more grain to replenish the stocks, a clear sign that there are parts of the country that have enough or even excess maize.
Instead of the president wasting our money gallivanting around at the pretence of distributing maize, some of which could actually be going to people without food problems or even mere party followers ferried from districts afar, the government machinery should put their energy in improving maize supplies to areas which have been identified by experts to be critically short of maize.
Although people are talking about other people's inability to purchase maize due to high prices, improved supplies of maize on the market by Admarc and the National Food Reserve Agency could actually help in bringing down or at least controlling the prices. Besides, the government has other social support programmes such as the public works or the cash-transfer schemes which could be used to support those families in dire straits to earn some cash and buy the maize.
For once madam president, listen to the voice of reason and slow down on both maize distribution and general country-wide criss-crossing. Thumbs down Ma'am.
Karonga airport too
I read your article in The Daily Times of Tuesday, November, 13, 2012 on Chileka Airport.
A fortnight ago, I attended a funeral in Karonga and we passed by Karonga Airport. I had an opportunity of getting in as I asked for a washroom. What I saw was very pathetic. The airport itself looks good as it is mainly used by Keyelekera but the chairs are worn out and I asked myself that does government want Kayelekera to buy chairs for the airport?
I really do not know what picture new Paladin officers have of Malawi when they see the worn out chairs. Can you also please write something on these so that government should really do something? Otherwise we give a bad picture of our country.
Cape Maclear in pathetic state
Just read your Business Thumbs and I agree totally that our tourism infrastructure needs to be completely overhauled.
The other day I went to Cape Maclear after a number of years, and decided to visit 'what used to be' the Golden Sands at Lake Malawi National Park. As you may be aware, Lake Malawi National Park is probably the only park that combines aquatic and forestry attractions in this part of the world. Oh, and it is a Unesco World Heritage Site too. But if you find time, you should visit and will be shocked to see in what pathetic situation that 'jewel' is at the moment. There is also a place known as Otter Point, where you see those otters, but this time I could not site even one otter! The number of those nicely coloured fish is also dwindling, and there is no sign of life at the place. In the past, we used to have a senior parks & wildlife officer residing at the place. This time there is just one curator at the small museum and a few guards. Funny enough, when you want to visit the place, they ask you to pay an entrance fee.
If you have time, I would appreciate if you could visit this place and see for yourself. It looks like the Ministry of Tourism is still asleep!