When President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera invited all Malawi’s ex-leaders for a meeting to brainstorm ways to handle the Cyclone Freddy aftermath, I thought it was an action in good faith.
Other citizens trashed him, cutthroat, saying he is missing a how-to on rubbing cyclone footprints out. I again thought they were wrong leftists who would always oppose out of jealousy.
Ex-leaders – Ms. Joyce Banda and Mr. Bakili Muluzi – attended the meeting. Professor Arthur Mutharika ignored the call, outrightly. Maybe he saw it coming again on the same citizens’ wounds.
Surely, there is a levy, which the heads had coined during the meeting. Cyclone Freddy Fuel Levy. Naming miseries nicely. The levy is to be enforced on fuel drunkards.
Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe, forget about whatever is trending on him, announced that the government would impose K54 on every litre of fuel bought.
He added that the government expects to raise K30 billion from the levy for the recuperation and construction of roads and bridges ruined by the storm. No doubt, the three heads met and decided that. Ruthless pundits!
Surely, what we are seeing in this country is misery after another. I have not forgotten, in 2021, the government introduced tollgates in the country. Seven billion Kwacha was budgeted for the development.
The first toll gate was opened in October, 2021 at Chingeni in Balaka on Blantye-Mzuzu M1 Road. The other one was rolled out in December at Kalinyeke in Dedza. Any motorist using the roads must pay a fee when passing through the gates.
The uncut purpose of introducing the tollgates is, it was said to the public, to collect funds which can be used to rehabilitate the tolled roads.
In January, 2022, Malawi Roads Administration, towards the purpose, disclosed that Chingeni Tollgate Plaza, all alone, had made over 500 million Kwacha since its launch. In less than three months. In fact, the two tollgates, MRA’s spokesperson confirmed to local media, are estimated to make over 5 billion per year. These are monies. They can be channeled to the hot cause.
Now, if we are to sit down, not like the way the trio of witches did, and calculate how much money MRA is having, we can surely abort the scamming levy and use the funds for the hot cause. Oh, it shouldn’t be that when the idea of Cyclone Freddy Fuel Levy was being pondered, there was no tambala remaining with MRA.
To wind up, I am not against arresting Cyclone Freddy criminality. No. But understand me here. Motorists pay at tollgates for using the roads. They pay traffic police officers, who are on a diarrhea of road blocks across the country, for witchcraft. They must maintain their vehicles before they are levied cyclone-wise again? This is another misery.