Anywhere where citizens believe in being an organized society, a call by the authorities to have their simcard and generic numbers registered should not have been a matter of so much complaining.
But there are some Malawians who just love disorder, who love to stay still in 19th Century
They love being alarmist. And making politics out of everything.
They feed on these and they feel good about whipping up public rage and hate on issues that are actually civilized and normal.
Interestingly, some of them have got education and you would expect them to lead in giving correct information. Instead, they lead in misinformation, lies and spreading confusion.
The negative reactions that have poured out after MACRA’s call for people and entities to register their simcards and generic numbers would make a stranger think that MACRA has committed some really big crime.
For a start, the ICT revolution has brought Malawi and the world a lot of joy.
ICT has brought along defining benefits to humanity.
The world is a far better place today because of ICT.
Yet, it is dishonest to say there is nothing to complain about ICT. We can list one hundred one reasons for which ICT has made things miserable for us.
Either way, that is normal.
REGULATION FOR BENEFITS
But human nature tend to define things to promote goodness. Where it is felt that something will end up bringing hurt and diosrder, human nature prescribes precautionary or regulatory measures.
By no means are such measures meant to limit the benefits. Actually they are put in place to maximize the benefits.
That is where we are with simcard and generic registration matter.
Phones came. They have done this country truckloads of good.
TALES OF ABUSE
But there are many that will tell stories of how miserable their lives have become because of a phone.
Many will tell stories of how they have been bullied and insulted on the phone by someone they do not know – only to find that tracing that caller is impossible because the number has been abandoned.
Many will testify receiving calls from someone claiming to be at Mwanza border. He claims he is bringing your goods from your relation in South Africa and he needs you to send them some money for them to pay duty for your goods. Many have fallen into this trap, sent the money and the caller vanishes – his number untraceable.
Many today have had their happy marriages broken by a bad message to their spouse from a jealous contact they cannot locate.
Many are the accounts of robbers using multiple numbers to terrorize their targets.
We can go on…
It needs no science that these are not the desired uses of phones.
Such uses have triggered some to argue that life would have been better without phones.
Of course that is not true.
It is because of these bad practices that Parliament decided to pass laws to regulate the BAD uses of phones.
That is why we are talking about simcard registration today. It is meant to make it easy to trace perpetrators of crime.
That is, the alarms that have been raised on this matter are retrogressive, sensationalist and political.
Needless to say the arguments against registering do not give even a modicum of sense.
Some argue that it is MACRA’s way of prying into people’s lives. How? MACRA will not be in custody of phone owners’ details. It is not mandated to do so. That is why MACRA is not the one doing the registration. Phone service providers and their agents are the ones that will be taking down your details.
Besides, these phone service providers have no mandate to poke their noses into anyone’s lives. They are actually required by law to keep the details confidential – unless there is a case of crime to deal with.
If you are a criminal and you use phones to execute your deeds, then yes you have every reason to speak against the exercise because your days are numbered.
That registering phone users simcard is infringing on people’s right to privacy is a ridiculous argument – on account of the details in the foregoing paragraph.
By the way, between someone who bullies you on the phone and becomes untraceable to answer for his crimes and the one who gets down your details as a way of preventing you from being abused, who is violating your rights here?
Okay. No one says this will rid the country of crime altogether. But we can all agree that it would assist in dealing with some crimes.
Then there is the most preposterous argument of them all. Really? Should we be arguing that people are busy in the fields and they do not have time to register?
How many hours do we spend drinking?
How many hours do we spend gossiping?
How many hours do we spend sleeping during the day?
How many hours do we spend watching movies that will never bring anything positive into our lives?
Are these petty activities nobler than helping yourselves, your neighbour and your country to fight crime by registering your simcard?
From the statement MACRA published, it does not even look like it will be a hustle to get registered. You are walking to a market to buy vegetables, you pass by your dealer and you register. Off you go.
You go to town to do windowshopping, you walk into your phone service providers’ centre and you register and you proceed on your errand.
We need to make Malawi an organized and modern society, not this armophous and tangled heap of things that we see today.
To achieve orderliness, there will be activities we have to undertake.
They may come along with inconveniences; but these will be offset by what we gain for the land we call our country.
The registration for IDs brought inconveniences. But in hindsight, we should all be glad we queued.
Registering your simcard doesnt even seem close to being that arduous and complicated.
Let’s not look back on our desire to make Malawi an organized society.