It has pleased our leader of delegation, Chief Apostle Professor Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, to appoint Assistant Chief Apostle Innocett Mawawaya, A3, the delegation’s communication and PR manager and adviser on national reconciliation and cultural literacy. The appointment has been necessitated by the need for our delegation to maintain a regular and positive media image. In case anything happens to our Interfaith International Prayerhouse (IIP), Assistant Chief Apostle Mawawaya will defend the delegation and the IIP to the last Kwacha in our bank accounts. All stubborn journalists, atheists, and other notorious investigators will be given something for fuel, which the Nigerian media call Brown Envelopes while Malawians proudly call the practice Chipondamthengo or Maloji (Logistics), and other fancy names.
Participants in and promoters of Chipondamthengo are many. Some journalists, some private companies, some political parties, some government departments, some NGOs, some religious institutions, some private schools and some private hospitals are active funders. Of course, some journalists in Malawi are principled, but these are, sadly, extremely few. Innocett Mawayawaya has a gigantic task ahead. But we have the money, real US dollars, to pay and buy anybody from prayer house to State house.
We spent the just ending week at Mzimba Boma where we checked in Malopa Gondwe’s Hotel, resting, listening to ourselves and digesting the things we had heard as we travelled up and down Mpoto.
A number of Mpotoans we have met have asked us to explain the difference between secession and federalism. Innocett Mawayawaya, whose real home state is Mzimba, but has cheated all the way, in school, at work, in banks, all over, and now claims to be related to Traditional Authority Chimaliro of Thyolo, used his eloquence and knowledge of Mpotoan languages to convince people about the disadvantages of secession and the advantages of federalism.
“Secession means dismembering Malawi into several independent countries with their own governing systems to follow, ” Mawayawaya told the men and women we met at Mzimba Boma last Wednesday.
“So, if we choose secession, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi and Likoma will become countries?” one female Mzimbian asked.
“It means Malawi might as well disintegrate into 28 countries,” Mawayawaya emphasised, “and all of us will lose our Malawian identity. For our 28 countries to be recognised internationally, it will take time and no serious country can take us seriously ons making that kind of decision.”
“Nanga federation; I thought Kamuzu Banda broke the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland because it was ‘smelly’?” an elderly male Mzimbian asked.
“Federation is basically decentralisation. Kamuzu destroyed that the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland because Nyasaland was not benefitting anything from that system…. Federalism involves devolution of political and economic power and decision making from central government to small governing units within the same country. In addition to national laws, there will be local laws” Mawayawaya said. “For example, the people of Mangochi and Machinga might decide to adopt Shariah Law but be subject to national laws at the same. Federalism is probably the best form of participatory politics. It allows people to exercise self determination, particularly in countries divided by ethnic-dominated politics and politicians. Fedulo njiwemi.”
“What has prompted people to start talking about secession and federalism today, 50 years after independence?” A youngish Mzimbian working for Radio Yabanthu asked.
“As a journalist, you should be the first to know that the talk of federalism is not new in Malawi,” said Deputy Chief Apostle Sheik Jean-Philippe LePoission, SC (Retired).
“I have never heard about that debate,” the Radio Yabanthu journalist admitted.
“Just go and interview President Bakili Muluzi. He will tell you about the federalism campaigns during the early years of his administration,” Native Authority Mandela said.
“Why is it that it is only Northerners and PP members that are advocating secession and federalism?”The youngish journalists went on.
“That is not true. What is true is that some Northerners and some PP members are asking for secession of the Mpoto from Malawi but some Centreners and some MCP members are asking for a federal system of government. Sometime back we heard about Mangochians declaring their land an Islamic Republic,” A3, said, adding: “The best is to have a national referendum. Ask people to say whether they want the status quo or a change to federalism. If they choose federalism, we will rename our country The Federal Republic of Malawi.”