When the going gets tough, the president goes on a $500,000 holiday
Facing growing fuel scarcity and increasing losses in tobacco sales, Malawi’s president Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika has opted to go on holiday in Australia, requesting $500,000 in precious foreign exchange from two national banks, reports opposition media agency Nyasa Times. From the article:
An official said the president was not so much on holiday but on leave to ‘reflect on the Malawian crisis’.
Some Malawian tweeps wish they too could journey away and reflect:
The following is written in the spirit of assisting the president in his reflection on the crisis, especially given it must be a real challenge to do so when he is so far away and in such a different context.
The winding lines of vehicles appear and disappear on the roads across the country. Motorists now spend nights at filling stations with the unlucky ones not even buying a litre of the commodity.
The fuel situation is so bad it’s even affecting donors:
Being able to purchase fuel is akin to winning a prize nowadays:
Fuel isn’t the only thing for which there are long queues. As the planting season approaches, queues will be forming at all of the ADMARC depots where rural farmers will scramble to get fertilizer before it runs out (rumors are fertilizer is also in short supply). The Daily Times reports that “If you go to Shoprite today, you will also find lines end to end just for one to get a loaf of bread.” There is also a shortage of soft drinks in the country, which has created a funny, if sad, image of the state of commerce in Malawi:
Also, despite an earlier call by the president to end a strike at the University of Malawi by reinstating four lecturers fired from Chancellor College, the impasse continues. As I expected, the lecturers still harbor concerns about safeguarding academic freedom.
I’m not sure a $500,000 holiday in Australia can fix this. But here’s to hoping I’m wrong.