Timothy Mtambo’s Ministry of Civic Education and Unity wasn’t the only useless government office to be hastily closed and have the bearer fired like the way the president did, but also, now remains, the disasters department. The department must be abolished to save funds and lives of citizens.
Cyclone Freddy’s coming wasn’t unexpected like that to be of biblical Jesus. The weather department had detected it early February, long ago before it reached Malawi. When it had swirled in southern region of this country on 12 March, it left a mark. It came with mudslides, floods and heavy rains. It robbed us over 450 of our fellows and hid, up to now, about 500 others. Several citizens are now widows, orphaned and homeless.
Earlier after the cyclone detection, the weather department had been issuing warnings, doing exactly what they know. They had been, amongst others, updating the general public where the enemy had reached and when it was expected to be in Malawi.
Later, the disasters department came it, but, surprisingly, mimicking exactly the weather department’s voice. Warning. By its nature, the disaster department’s existence is disasters-dependent. The chief aim of its existence is to improve and safeguard the quality of life of Malawians, especially those vulnerable to and affected by disasters.
I initially thought that the disasters department had already assessed condition of residential and business houses against the disaster. I thought the disaster department was well equipped with experts in disasters management. I thought they could pre-evict people from cyclone-vulnerable locations. The locations, especially with rickety mud houses, like Soche in Blantye and other areas in the southern districts.
What surprises me is that the disasters department left all what it’s purposed for and embarked on parroting whatever the weather department said, warning. Seemingly, waiting for the disaster to ‘take place’, a way which, perhaps they calculated, would bring in more and protracted allowances than saving lives. In fact, it is well established that the disasters department prioritizes fat allowances than saving lives of people from disasters.
Like a joke, for example, in 2021 amidst cries of Covid-19 deaths, the president announced a release of 6.2 billion Malawi Kwacha to the disasters department to fight the plague. The department embezzled the funds. In the face of the plague killing thousands of Malawians, including his political friend Mia, the president Lazaras Chakwera went silent after his insignificant caressing on the plunder. Everything is now history.
Of a fact, the disasters department is a theft machine and disasters’ helper. It must surely close down and melt it down under the weather department, or just melt it. This will save us funds better than banking on thieves ironically sympathizing with us, disasters victims.