Malawi President Joyce Banda invoked a recurring metaphor with the Pentecostal brand of Christianity last Friday when she addressed Parliament at the opening of the 44th session: breakthrough.
That somehow a magical rain will pour down on Malawi and wash our pain and sorrow caused by the wholesale implementation of IMF’s bitter prescription on the economy.
This is not surprising as the President has never made a secret of her new affinity to this modern form of Christianity that promises heaven on earth and so it was an obvious desperate attempt to infuse a dose of hope to a nation reduced to bones and on a last gasp of air from the excruciating pain of the last few months.
But I keep saying that Malawians are not children to be fooled by promises of candies when what they need is solid nsima to keep them alive.
Make no mistake, this year will not see any let-up in the economy and as if to emphasise this point, didn’t fuel prices go up only a few hours after the breakthrough speech, forcing motorists and companies to go deeper into their pockets?
And then civil servants decided to say enough is enough and downed their tools this week?
Let us face facts straight in the eye and perhaps admit that what the President was talking about was her own breakthrough and it makes sense.
She is the second woman president in Africa and the world is at her feet, drooling at her praise and admiration. The only drawback is that she has left the nation behind in her attempt to please that constituency.
Her speech last Friday was just full of wishes and devoid of detail on how to fulfil them. Let her line of outside admirers grow, but she must remember she has an electorate to face next year which will not count how many degrees she has accumulated, as long as they are sleeping on an empty stomach.
And talking of degrees, my inbox clogged with a lot of feedback on my last week’s entry. I here reproduce some of it.
. What the Korean University did was indeed a mockery, mwano weniweni, (an insult of the highest order). How can it say those forbidden things that our economy is on track and the recipient walks home tall? Up to now, I don’t believe we are eating bonya out of will but financial constraints. Our pockets are empty, the kwacha has grown wings that it’s ‘flying’ I hear they call it floating but our ILALA is sinking. And someone happily receives that………….! George you have spoken for the voiceless as we only speak once in five years, after that we are rendered useless. Keep on writing. If they are not myopic they will see sense.
We are their bosses [but] do they know this? We have the power to remove or give a fresh mandate unlike Sec 65.
Yours, bonya fide citizen
. You sound clever but you are simply making an idiot of yourself. Banda may not have done much but she has made a difference. At least, I do not have to spend a night at a filling station. Ngati mumadya nawo mwalemba m’madzi. —Bantuali
. What you have to know is the majority of Malawians follow your column and are inspired by the contributions. We may have fuel koma how many people manage to buy it? Our salaries are stagnant yet prices are skyrocketing and yet somebody is saying our economy is improving. —Richard Mjuda
. I totally agree with you but when I heard our President being addressed as Dr on MBC, my first reaction was: what? What that Korean university did is not only an insult but a blasphemy. It is like congratulating a captain whose ship is sinking and passengers are drowning. —Andrew Mandola
. I am one of the teenagers who like reading what you write and this week’s article was so true and I just hope someone from Jeonju University sees it.— Mwayi Wetcha
. Your views are like mine. I know one day you will have an opportunity to be close to these ‘big people.’ Send them my plea.’ Just as our President has cancelled some crucial deals, is it not possible for her to cancel the deal of the portraits just for the sake of our bleeding [economy]?—Blessings Kambewa
. Thumbs up for your harsh truth. You do not hesitate to call a spade by its name. At least there has to be someone to rebuke these self-seeking politicians of our time. Keep it up