Malawi is currently caught in the grip of a very severe drought which has plunged the country into the throes of hunger.
About half of the country’s population is struggling with hunger.
The Malawian President, Peter Mutharika has promised that his government is working on addressing the food shortage and has already purchased 1.2 million metric tons of excess maize stock.
Despite that assurance, the President recently said that he does not understand why millions of his starving citizens do not just eat mice and grasshoppers.
He was quoted by the local press on Saturday as saying;
“But why should Malawians die with hunger when we have different of things to eat? Muzidya mbewa, zitete, komanso chinangwa!”
That was translated to him telling millions of his starving citizens to try eating “mice and grasshoppers” to stave off hunger. The internet not one to be silent at such controversial statements, quickly began chipping in differing view points on the matter.
As can be expected, there was a huge group of people who took offense at President Mutharika casually suggesting that his fellow countrymen eat field mice and grasshoppers. On the other hand however, was a mostly home grown opinion pool who seemed unfazed by the suggestion.
The explanation for the ‘non-offense’ being that Malawians have been making a meal out of both for years, whether in times of plenty or times of famine. Yet another pool of opinion givers felt that the statement proved the failure of the President’s government and even more called on the president and other government officials to lead by example and serve mice and grasshoppers at their meetings.
Truth remains that Presidents and off hand statements will probably never mix well, especially when citizens are in such dire straits as Malawians are unarguably in and it is about time African leaders learnt to lead by example.
No one can take offense at a President who calls on his citizens to eat mice and grasshoppers if he is himself indulging in the ‘delicacy’.