Plane Crash Tragedy: Rising Tensions, Public Anguish, and Foul Play

Want to read on the go? Listen to the article instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Following the plane crash tragedy that took place on Monday, June 10th, that claimed the lives of Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri, and seven others, life has not been the same. With bodies now being buried in their respective villages and the state funeral for the Vice President awaiting to take place on Monday, June 17th, the nation is in a somber state. Using the five stages of grief, I would like to state that we are now on stage two, ANGER!

When the plane was declared missing in the late afternoon of June 10th, many people had a sunken feeling that the news afterward would not be good. However, we each sat and prayed, hoping that our thoughts would be lies and that a different outcome would relieve us. Unfortunately, the worst came to pass on June 11th, and for most of us, the finding of the plane was enough to ensure that God had claimed his own.

For a full day, I saw how many people were in denial on social media. Heck, I was in denial too for some time. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you understand how hard it was for me to wrap my head around the news overall.

Now that we have accepted that the tragedy cannot be resolved, it is time to do some housekeeping. We are angry, about the loss, about the communications that have been happening, and the conduct. Let me make a proper breakdown.

Public Anguish After Plane Crash

plane crash tragedy

So many holes are starting to appear after each press briefing is conducted. Instead of the briefings to help heal the public in a way, and communicate what possibly might have happened during the last moments of the Saulos Chilima’s life and the eight others. What each presser has cultivated is anger from the public, which is now raising tensions.

When we walk around town, there is a deafening silence, even in the chaos. When online, there are so many questions that are lingering, and yet no plausible answer is being given. We are now not at the stage to withhold information to keep the public at bay, but rather to share it to instil calmness. That is something that the authorities are failing miserably at.

Was it a plane crash? Was it an ordered hit and cover-up? What’s the coincidence?

So many conspiracy theories are being written each passing day, and many of them are starting to hold ground with the public. This is mainly because the people in power to speak the truth without making it sound like it is laced with lies are not truly speaking. They are rather dancing around questions, making the public more disdained.

What happened between 10 am and 4 pm after the plane went missing?

The biggest question that remains to be unanswered is exactly that; what happened between the hours 10 am and 4 pm on Monday, June 10th? Like I shared in the last post that the plane had left Lilongwe at 9:30 am, and was scheduled to land in Mzuzu at 10:00 am. However, due to bad weather, landing was not possible, and the pilot was ordered to make a U-turn back to Lilongwe.

Ten minutes later, the plane disappeared from the radar. No communication, pure silence. The authorities knew that the plane had four hours’ worth of fuel, which meant it would have been able to fly around until 2 pm. However, due to its disappearance off the radar, I am certain that they could have been under pressure to know where the plane was, especially since it was carrying Malawi’s Second important Citizen.

President Lazarus Chakwera later said that a search party had been sent to look for the military plane at 4 pm. But the question remains, what happened between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm? In a presser, the Malawi Defence Force Commander General, Paul Valentino, justified that the reason authorities took time to start searching for the missing plane was because they were checking for the signal to determine where the plane might have made contact. This exercise stole from them so much time.

One wonders if this is truly enough reason as to why a search party took so long when the plane was carrying the Vice President of the country.

Umphawi Kutukwanitsa: Misconducts Worsening Public Anguish

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, sitting comfortably at position 174. It is also a country highly infested with corruption, and efforts to curb it are pretty much useless. To further prove how poor we are, when the plane carrying our Vice President was officially declared missing by the President, the only way they could search for it was by foot. Later on, with drones, while we waited for our neighbouring countries and other international countries to offer a hand.

Now, we have become a laughingstock to Zambian TikTok, and to be frank, we deserve it.

That is not the main issue, the problem with this plane crash has been the misconduct that has surrounded it through and through. Let me make a list of the things that are clear in my mind:

  • When you research on aviation, it is said that the advisable time to declare a plane to be missing and start a search party is immediately after it goes off the radar. Having to wait close to seven hours to determine the signal while knowing that the aircraft had only four hours of fuel seems odd. Even with excuses that they were trying to check whether it had landed in other areas or countries, a search party still needed to have been deployed in time. Especially because the plane was carrying the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY.
  • Close to midnight of June 10th, it is communicated that the search party is being suspended until 8 am the following morning, citing bad weather as the reason. One would question whether the plane being searched for belonged to my two-year-old and that it was carrying his little toys, and not one that had the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY. This decision was reversed moments later. However, the fact that the authorities sat around in a meeting and thought that they had made a good decision is still something I cannot comprehend.
  • When the plane was finally found on June 11th, the public’s first knowledge should not have been through social media. One wonders whether they had thoroughly discussed on how such information would be handled. Seeing pictures flooded on WhatsApp while we waited for the President to say, “Well, we have all seen the pictures” was not the way to go. Strict measures should have been taken, and hopefully, those from the team who are responsible get the wrath of it all.
  • Again, we did not need to see the bodies of the deceased flooded on social media. Our culture respects the dead, but we have done the opposite. It felt intrusive seeing their bodies and what was their final moment on this earth.
  • The media has also been to blame for some of the conspiracy theories that have made their way to social media. I will not mention names, but a couple of them, have written the worst news excepts online, thus fuelling the anger that already exists.

Is there a way of managing the anger?

Many believe this was foul play. Heck, there are many inconsistencies to make people think in that line, all you have to do is read up. As each day passes, these theories are holding ground in hushed tones. Songs are sung that indicate that people are being blamed for this death.

If this anger is not well managed now, I fear it might grow and lead to unrest in the country.

As I have said before, the people who are in a position to manage this anger are not doing a good job. They are rather fuelling a fire too small that might burn a whole village.

We wait!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.