Everytime I pass through Ginnery Corner bus stage, my good friend Asani who is a minibus tout, loudly shouts my name, gives me a hearty wave, then takes a sip from a sachet and then goes on with his usual business. He shouts ‘Ya Limbe, yopita mahandede iyi! It is an occupation that earns him enough to survive so much that he has an account at one of the commercial banks and at times he comes to my workplace with a withdrawl slip and says: “Madala Gale ndabweretsa cheke mundisayinire, nde mukandiyikirenso umboni paja ma secretary [bank tellers] aja amafuna chiphaso.”
The carefree fella is also a Big Bullets diehard and whenever Bullets are playing at Kamuzu Stadium, he decorates his entire body red right up to the face that one can hardly recognise him. He leads the BB faithful in cheering the team. Unlike others who shamelessly masquarade as Bullets fans by manning the gates just to rip off the team, Asani pays K500 at the gate.
But, last week, Asani showed me the other side of him. On Monday, I saw him at Ginnery Corner round-about with his entire body painted, but this time it was not in the usual Bullets colours. He was in an unfamiliar sky-blue colours, leading DPP cadets in a parade to Comesa Hall as they escorted their presidential aspirant Peter Mutharika and his running mate, swagger fella Saulos ‘Mr. Money’ Chilima to present their nomination papers.
Surprisingly, a few hours later, Assani was clad in Hellen Singh’s UIP colours and led in chanting ‘Mayi Sing’i omwewo, kuti wa!wa!wa!.’
On Friday, I again spotted him in a PP convoy riding kabaza and I will not be surprised to hear that he is one of the motorbike beneficiaries from ‘Amayi’. Well, maybe because football is off season, Asani could not just resist the temptation of joining the fun and pomp, there were scenes so lovely.
Such was the beauty of the carnival that all the posh wheels one can think of were on show and the only missing character was my man Damiano Ganiza who pulled out of the presidential race at the 11th hour. I thought his bicycle could have provided a more realistic reflection of the poverty that is prevalent in my mother Malawi rather than the cosmetic show of posh machines, but alas! Damiano was nowhere in sight probably because his bike developed a fault and he could not ride from Zomba. That said, I hope football will not lose a unique and passionate fan that is Asani to the dirty game of politics. Glory be to God! Uloliwe.. Uloliwe wayidudula hi..Nang’esiza! [The train is pushing!]