Friday, May 1, 2009

How Important is Your Word?

Lead headline of The Nation newspaper reads “CAMA (Consumers Association of Malawi) to Sue ESCOM (Electrical Supply Corporation of Malawi) for False Slogan.”

CAMA is suing ESCOM for fraud alleging that their slogan “Power All Day, Every Day” is deceptive as consumers continually experience blackouts. CAMA wrote a letter to ESCOM giving ESCOM seven days to remove their slogan from structures, billboards, cars, building and advertising. When they did not receive a response, they chose to sue ESCOM. CAMA claims that the slogan “is evidently false, misleading and, does not conform to rules of decency and truth” and that it contravenes the Consumer Protection Law sections 43 and 44. CAMA claims that ESCOM is creating unnecessary expectations both to current and perspective consumers about services which are below standard and inconsistent with the advertisement.

In the largest city in Malawi, which is also the commercial capital of the country, we experience black outs on average of twice a week. They are usually at around 6:00 in the evening and go for about two hours. Some days they last for half a day, but not too often. There was a joke going around a while back that suggested that ESCOM trade slogans with the local Siku Transport Service whose slogan is “Here Tonight, There Tomorrow.”

I was surprised when I was driving this morning and saw this headline on one of the local papers. Someone is actually taking them to task over the issue!


  1. It's about time! I remember always discussing why this had not already happened.

    However, in Malawi, if you go down this road... where are they going to stop? What about the hair salons that talk about an angel of the Lord sitting on top of them... I guess there would be little way to prove that though.


  2. I thought about this too. The words "expert" and "guaranteed" are on many signs where their applicability is questionable.