Nurses, MBC, Xenophobia & Zimbabwe
I am chairing-of course another Network of Journalists developing a media strategy for National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives. It is a great group, of young and vibrant Journalists eager to bring to the attention of the world the plight of Malawian nurses. Just a preview of what is on the ground, one nurse handles one hundred patients. Some fresh graduates are left with a ward of 80 babies or maternity cases, while junior technicians can man a whole clinic as a pharmacist, doctor or anything you need from a hospital. Take home pay is about US100 a month and thats what our Parliamentarians take home everyday after calling each other 'prostitutes, barren, thieves or whatever they can cook up that day. I dedicate this day to the plight of a Malawian nurse who risk infections on daily basis from Hepatitis B to anything else you can get in hospital wards. Of course with the Budget coming this Friday, Khumbo Kachali a well meaning Minister has a heavy load to convince some of us why 60 percent of the resources allocated to the Health sector in our budget are spent at Capital Hill. I also have my serious reservations over the British Government's initiative to top up Health professional allowances by 52 percent as an incentive to stop brain drain. However this beautiful sugar coated incentive I am told has come with 18 technical assistants from Britain who are paid close to 1.8 MILLION pounds annually. This is the entire budget for Nurses in Malawi. I hope we will take time to reflect on this 'mega assistance'. I hope someone one day will realise that as 'not all of us can afford private medical care' stretching the poorly renumerated nurse has more consequences to the many poor.
Now back to Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) I have been fascinated by my former stations document discovery techniques. The strangest part is that I have never come across any investigative Journalist at the station.
Over the weekend, the station suddenly discovered minutes of a meeting of 12 Journalists-which the wisely did no name- who are supposed to be paid US$1000 every month by Former President Bakili Muluzi to publish negative stories against the incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika.
The other week they had treason documents before being presented in court, the other month documents related to Muluzi on this or that. I am just not amused that MBC now lacks the creativity that it used to posses.
I do not know if the 'documents manufacturing department' realises that you cannot play the same song for too long-even listeners get bored. I am quite bored and really its not a play you can re-stage. Try to be more creative in the next reports, documents are really becoming an ear pain.
Really instead of talking of 'mose wa lero' the do spend most of their time on Muluzi and reminding listeners in rural areas that he is existing.
They give too much credit to Muluzi, last time he bought all the maize, paid for the convention now he is plotting treason.
If at all Muluzi can afford to pay Journalists K150,000 a month to 12 Journalists this will mean until election month he will be spending K1.8 million and K18 million in total. My God, does that sound like a realistic investment.
Since these documents are mainly photo copied at Mount Soche Business centre- I am told even the treason evidence a copy was found there- I am keen to make an extra buck and I will be happy if the documents discoverers can give me a contact of the Chairman or whatever title the group leader is designated so I can attend the next meeting. I have huge plans which will definately cost me over K1.8 million in the next year, I could happily do with it. Since its tit-for-tat, why not have a Government counter team and peg the funds somewhere around USD2000.
I am sad someone thinks we are auctionable products.
Now, the story of South Africa xenophobia is making news now across the globe. Everybody comically looks shocked. Xenophobia is something that has been reported and deliberately ignored in Africa's largest economy for so long. I can challenge anyone to a research and you will find on average two to three reports in the media of xenophibic attacks in various parts of South Africa.
I have heard Africans on BBC and other channels reminding South Africans of the aparthied assistance as reference point on why the attacks should stop.
Not long ago I was shocked and I think in my blogs of September, I raised the issue of Zimbabweans being asked Visa's to get into South Africa and breifly in Mozambique. Mozambique has changed the rule while South Africa continues to ask the Zimbabweans for a visa which costs too high and is rarely obtainable.
I told a freind that the last social and biggest upheaval will come from South Africa and the African National Congress dominance will end with the split of the party.
Xenophobia exists even in the United States, in one of my long road drives, I was warned that in the Mid Western states I could not just stop any how as both racisim and xenophobia reigns high.
Among black Americans, I have heard them complain of "foreigners' especially Mexicans and Balck Africans who are getting better every day than then. I believe and I support Barack Obama for standing up and stating broadly, "If you work hard you can make it in the USA despite the race"
I was touched by the stories of black Americans who struggled for recognition, but just like among South Africans, most blacks in the USA are simply lazy and left school long time ago.
ANC Deputy President Motlanthe is quoted in todays Mail and Guardian stating that majority of Zimbabweans living in South Africa were "people with better basic education", while Mozambicans have skills as builders."Therefore these illicit attacks are from our own South African brothers and sisters who have not had the opportunity to acquire skills."
This is true and until there is a major effort to educate and empower black majority, these problems will remian and a social upheaval is on its way.
I am just concerned that Zimbabwe seems to be a forgotten issue now while many people are still being killed and the people and continue to suffer.
Can SADC please wake up and do something, people are dying.