Malawians want Mutharika’s coronavirus updates in Chichewa

Peter Mutharika

Some Malawians in Mzuzu have urged President Peter Mutharika and other government officials to be communicating issues of national importance to the public in Chichewa language.

Reacting in a voxpop interview this publication conducted Sunday in Mzuzu on Mutharika’s address regarding the state of coronavirus in the country, people claimed they got nothing from what the president said.

“We didn’t get him. We expected him to address us in a language that most of us can hear. English is very difficult. Some phrases are really difficult,” said George Soko in Chibavi township.

Bernadette Chirwa chorused the concern. She said, despite being somewhat educated, some technical terms in English were difficult for her to grasp.

“I wonder how we Malawians overrate English. It’s bad to use English when communicating to a larger audience, of which, mostly lives in rural areas,” she said.

Malumbo Kumwenda took his turn in urging government officials to swallow their pride and learn to accommodate everyone on issues of national interest.

“It’s unfair. I hate communication in English. Even parliamentary deliberations. I hate them. I just switch off the radio,” he said.

On Saturday, Mutharika addressed Malawians in English as he announced some of the measures introduced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the measures that the president announced include slashing of fuel prices and reduction of cabinet members’ salaries by 10 percent.

The president made the declaration in light of the four recorded coronavirus cases in the country.