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Talking Blues: Once beaten twice shy? No, it’s worse than that – The Maravi Post

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Chilima and Chakwera (from left) not yet done as expected by the public

By Mapwiya Muulupale

In a town far far away, lived an engineer. The economy was in bad shape, and he was unemployed, and since everyone was struggling, there weren’t even opportunities for ganyu (part-time jobs) to sustain him.

Not one to wallow in self-pity, he looked around. Soon, he observed that while engineering was not a priority and given the hostile economic situation they had been back-burnered, only one profession was trending.

This was the provision of health services.

When people or their kith or kin fell sick, they were still paying to see a doctor. Hence the economic downturn notwithstanding, clinics were bustling with business, and medical practitioners were thriving.

What to do then? Inspiration hit the engineer. He, too, would open a clinic.

Being a late entrant on the market, he needed to aggressively market his clinic. He soon stumbled on the perfect pitch. The welcome banner to his humble clinic, which was conveniently located on a busy street, read:

“Get treated for USD500; if you are not healed, get a refund for USD1,000!”

One prominent doctor in the town was not amused with this.

It was bad enough that an engineer was degrading the profession by playing doctor. However, as if this was not enough effrontery, the pretender wasn’t giving even a gram of heck about ethics! What kind of doctor advertises, let alone promises to reimburse untreatable cases double the fee?

The doctor, not known for shying away from taking matters into his own hands, decided to visit the phoney clinician.

While he was at it, he said to himself, why not make himself an easy USD1,000?

He arrived and entered the clinic. The doctor-playing engineer welcomed and asked him,

“What can we do for you, Sir?”

“I have lost all sense of taste,” he responded.

The engineer immediately barked instructions to the nurse:

“Sister, fetch medicine from box number 22 and administer exactly 3 drops on the patient’s tongue.”

Although the doctor suspected that the engineer knew as much about medicine as a decent pastor knows how to negotiate a prostitute’s fee, he kept his cool. When the nurse brought the drug and asked him to open his mouth, he complied.

Even before the second drop had hit his tongue, the doctor spat out, got up and in a fury, exclaimed,

“This is gasoline!”

To which the engineer, as cool as a cucumber, responded:

“Congratulations, Sir! You have fully recovered your taste; that will be USD500.”

Looking and feeling very foolish, the doctor paid while inwardly vowing to his ancestors that he would find a way to get his money back.

Soon enough, he came calling again.

After the greeting routine, he explained his illness,

“I have lost my memory, I can’t remember a thing,” smug with over-confidence that this time he had the damn engineer by the balls.

The engineer nonchalantly called out,

“Nurse, bring medicine from box 22 and administer 3 drops in the patient’s …

The engineer had barely finished issuing this instruction when the doctor burst out:

“You fake doctor, that is gasoline!”

The engineer:

“Congratulations, Sir! Your memory is back. That will be USD500.”

The doctor was, of course, furious with himself for not seeing this coming. He paid and angrily exited the clinic.

But he wasn’t done with the pseudo-doctor.

“One day,” he mumbled to himself, “this charlatan will taste his own medicine.”

After a few days, he returned.

“My eyesight has become weak.”

“How bad?” asked the engineer.

The doctor pulled out a receipt from his pocket and said,

“I can’t even make what’s written here,”

The engineer, with a look of resignation, said,

“Well, I don’t have any medicine for this. But as per our policy, herewith your USD1,000.”

The doctor didn’t need to look twice to see that the engineer was trying to con him by paying him USD500 only.

“You dirt-eating piece of slime,” he barked, “this is $500 short!”

The engineer, to the manner born, responded:

“Congratulations, Sir! Your sight is back! That will be USD500.”

Once bitten twice shy, twice bitten never try, thrice bitten go and die, off rode the doctor into the sunset.

Now, you are wondering, what is Mapwiya Muulupale up to?

Let’s cut to the chase. The doctor is us, the hapless Malawian voters.

The engineer(s) are these self-serving fakes that come high on promise during campaign time, but by the time they are through with our oppressive taxes, they are overnight millionaires, at our expense.

Because space is a challenge, I will only go as far back as 1994. Those old enough will recall the promises that propelled first multiparty president Bakili Muluzi to Sanjika.

All the promises can be summed up in the free pairs of shoes promise which, when reminded of, Bakili retorted,

“If I promised you pairs of shoes, when and where did you give me shoe sizes?”

Which kind of makes sense.

I mean, if a benevolent uncle promises a kid shoes, it is incumbent upon the promisee to give the uncle their shoe size. Or else, how would the uncle buy the right shoe?

In 2004, came late Bingu wa Mutharika. First-term was filled with the stuff that dreams of people living in poor countries are made of.

However, the second term was the gravy train for Bingu and his cronies and hell on earth for the rest.

Providence intervened. What followed was a two-year caretaker presidency that started with promise in wonderland and ended in cashgate.

2014 came another Mutharika with promises of a reformed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that had, as we were told, learnt from its 2009-2012 debacle and would do better.

The reality was different. In fact, it was so horrible that about 60% of voters blindly rallied behind a dubious alliance shrouded in a secretive coalition pact, and as they say, the rest is history.

Apart from some hardcore party hacks who have substituted the hitherto DPP cadets, and apart from the hitherto not-so-rich cabinet ministers who were paupers before July 2020 but are swimming in millions today, and of course, apart from the new royalty, no one unconnected to the powers and the party that be has anything to smile about.

Kubuwula mokweza (weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth) all over the place.

If you count, Bakili, Bingu, Joyce, Peter and Lazarus today, the doctor from the tale above was lucky. He was only deceived three times, whereas we were conned (1994-2004), swindled (2004-12), duped (2012-14), scammed (2014-20), and as we speak, a ruthless Naija style 419 is in play.

For us, the adage once bitten twice shy, twice bitten never try, thrice bitten go and die needs extending. As it is, it makes a mockery of our woes.

What rotten luck!

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Coronavirus pandemic could cost global tourism $2 trillion this year – The Maravi Post

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According to the latest forecast by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the same amount was lost in 2020, making it one of the sectors hit hardest by the health crisis.

Despite recent improvements, the report warned that demand for travel could be further affected by “uneven vaccination rates around the world and new COVID-19 strains which had prompted new travel restrictions in some countries.

In the past few days, the emergence of the Omicron variant has led dozens of countries to reinstate restrictions on arrivals, or to delay relaxation in COVID-19 travel and testing rules, leading to wide uncertainty for holiday season travellers worldwide.

Spikes in oil prices and the disruption of global supply chains have also had an effect. According to the latest UNWTO data, international tourist arrivals are expected to remain 70-75 per cent below 2019 levels in 2021, a similar decline as in 2020.

‘We cannot let our guard down’

Although a 58 per cent increase in tourist arrivals was registered in July-September of this year compared to the same period in 2020, this remained 64 per cent below 2019 levels, the UN body found.

In August and September, arrivals were at 63 per cent lower than 2019, which is the highest monthly result since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Between January and September 2021, worldwide international tourist arrivals stood at 20 per cent lower, compared to 2020, a clear improvement from the 54 per cent drop, over the first six months of the year. 

“Data for the third quarter of 2021 is encouraging,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. “However, arrivals are still 76 per cent below pre-pandemic levels and results across the different global regions remain uneven.”

In light of the rising cases and the emergence of new variants, he added that “we cannot let our guard down and need to continue our efforts to ensure equal access to vaccinations, coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility, and continue to support the sector.”

Uneven recovery

Despite the improvement seen in the third quarter of the year, the pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions.

In some sub-regions, such as Southern and Mediterranean Europe, the Caribbean, North and Central America, arrivals actually rose above 2020 levels in the first nine months of 2021.

However, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific were down by as much as 95 per cent when compared with 2019, as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel.

Africa and the Middle East recorded 74 per cent and 81 per cent drops respectively in the third quarter compared to 2019. Among the larger destinations, Croatia, Mexico and Turkey showed the strongest recovery in the period of July to September.

Caribbean rebound

The Caribbean had the highest results of any of the subregions defined by the UNWTO, with arrivals up 55 per cent compared to 2020.

International tourist arrivals “rebounded” during the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere thanks to increased travel confidence, rapid vaccination and the easing of entry restrictions in many nations.

In Europe, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, the report added.

UN Health News

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Botswana loses court bid to revoke gay rights – The Maravi Post

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Botswana’s government on Monday lost a legal attempt to overturn a landmark ruling that decriminalized homosexuality.

The country’s High Court in 2019 ruled in favor of campaigners seeking to strike down jail sentences for same-sex relationships, declaring the punishment to be unconstitutional.

But the government sought to revoke the ruling, arguing that the courts had no jurisdiction in this matter.

“Since the appellant’s grounds of appeal have been unsuccessful… the appeal must fall,” Botswana’s Court of Appeal ruled on Monday.

It had started hearing the case in October.

Homosexuality had been banned since 1965 in conservative Botswana, where offenders could face up to seven years in prison.

The 2019 judgment was hailed internationally as a major victory for gay rights.

Judge Ian Kirby, who read out the ruling on Monday, said gay citizens had long lived in “constant fear of discovery or arrest” when expressing “love for their partners.”

“This sometimes led to depression, suicidal behavior, alcoholism or substance abuse,” he said.

Botswana is one of only a handful of African countries to have decriminalized homosexuality.

Others are Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola and Seychelles.

South Africa is the sole nation on the continent to allow same-sex marriage, which it legalized in 2006.

Source: Africanews

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South Africans rush to get COVID jabs to beat the new virus strain – The Maravi Post

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Hundreds of people queued in their cars to get vaccinated against Covid-19 at a drive-thru vaccination center in Cape Town, South Africa.

This comes after dozens of nations from Europe to Asia have imposed travel restrictions on South Africa and its neighbors since its scientists flagged Omicron last week.

“From my side, it’s definitely something that we all need to stand together for to fight against, with the ban just from an economical point of view I feel that look for me that was a political decision,” one woman who came for the jab said.

“So I definitely think today we have been a lot busier than last week. We’ve seen an uptake in people coming which is very encouraging. Friday we also saw a little bit of an increase, I think that was due to the anxiety of the new variant. But I think the public has listened to the president and hopefully this is a good sign of things to come,” said Hillary Bertrand, Clinical Manager, Athlone vaccination site

The travel restrictions have dealt a body blow to South Africa’s tourism industry, which had been looking to the southern hemisphere summer to welcome an influx of visitors from the well-heeled north.

South Africa on Monday said it was “regrettable… (and) sad” that fellow African nations had joined a rush by wealthy countries to impose travel bans over the new Covid variant.

“It is quite regrettable, very unfortunate, and I will even say sad, to be talking about travel restrictions imposed by a fellow African country,” foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

Angola, Mauritius, Rwanda and the Seychelles have halted flights from South Africa in a bid to shield themselves from Omicron.

“What I don’t understand is that some of these African countries that are doing this, know the struggles (that) as a continent we have, where European countries will take this decision and impose travel bans,” said Monyela.

He said South Africa had recently made “substantial donations” of vaccines to some of the countries that were now imposing flight bans.

“When a fellow African country does that, especially in the context where most of these countries are beneficiaries… it doesn’t make sense,” he told an online news conference organised by the health ministry.

Monyela said his ministry was urging countries on the continent and further afield that have hurried to impose travel restrictions to reverse them “immediately.”

Dozens of nations from Europe to Asia have imposed travel restrictions on South Africa and its neighbours since its scientists flagged Omicron last Thursday.

Mauritius and Rwanda were the latest African countries to suspend flights.

Rwanda announced late Sunday that it was halting direct flights to and from nine countries in southern Africa.

All passengers who landed from those countries in the past seven days now have to spend a week in quarantine in designated hotels — at their own cost.

– ‘Afrophobia’ –

On Saturday the director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, Arvind Bundhun, said in a statement that it was “with regret” that the government took the decision to suspend all flights from southern Africa.

Meanwhile Angola, itself among the blacklisted southern African nations, at the weekend suspended all flights to and from Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa until further notice.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, whose country is also blacklisted, accused Western countries of “Afrophobia” for shutting their borders.

Botswana, where scientists say the variant was first described, has also warned against “geo-politicising” the virus.

An outraged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called on countries to “immediately and urgently” reverse the travel curbs, which he said were scientifically “unjustified.”

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said many South Africans had felt the country had hastened to go public with the discovery of the new Omicron variant and that had it “kept quiet, travel bans would not have happened”.

“But that would have been detrimental, because our approach is for our citizens to not live in false security and false safety,” said Phaahla.

The travel restrictions have dealt a new blow to South Africa’s tourism industry, which had hoped the southern hemisphere summer would bring an influx of visitors from the well-heeled north.

Source: Africanews

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