This other day I was wondering whether I have used the contacts and relationships that I have to good effect. I started thinking so several weeks ago when I met my ‘old friend’ regional governor of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Noel Masangwi.
Noel and I worked together when I was a contributor for Brown Mpinganjira’s Mirror newspaper. We also crossed paths before that time. Our relationship has been that when we meet we discuss one or two things. My regret is that when Noel was close to Ambwiye gallivanting in State House with Bingu wa Mutharika, I never used my connection with him to get me close to the seat of power.
Certainly, his arrest in the Chasowa case saddened me. Unlike others who had jumped to conclusions on the case, I keep an open mind and pray that when the truth emerges, my friend will not be found on the wrong side of the law.
It is not just Noel Masangwi that I knew in the Bingu dynasty. There is also my very good friend Dr Dan Namarika, Bingu’s personal physician. I have come to the conclusion that newspaper reports that have written about Bingu have written on another Dan that I do not know. He is one of the brightest people I have ever known. Even as Dan cared for the late president, when we met once in a while, we could talk on a few things. He was busy and had a difficult responsibility to take care of an old president. My sense is that Dan could have been seeing the president on a daily basis, or at least not less than once a week. How I lost the chance by not using Dan to get closer to the feast.
Let me take you to the lyrics from one Peter Tosh’s song, Lesson in my life. The lyrics go like this: “I’ve learned some lessons in my life. Always be careful of mankind. They’ll make you promises today But tomorrow they change their mind. But I’m an up-full man And I love up-full people I’m a progressive man And I love progressive people. I’m a truthful man And I love truthful people I’m an honest man And I love honest people. I’ve learned some lessons in my life Always be careful of my friends Money can make friendship end.”
Where did I learn this song? My friend, former presidential guard commander, Duncan Mwapasa. When Duncan was at the Polytechnic in the 1980s, his roommate was my relative Tanase Mulawo. Through Tanase, I knew Duncan (otherwise known as Dinky). For a long time, I wanted to write on the goodness and the love of music by Duncan. But I was unsure during the Bingu regime what that would have meant for him noting that he was the man right behind, sometime in front and sometimes besides, Bingu on a daily basis. Certainly, I was saddened when Duncan was sent to take away vehicles from Vice-president Joyce Banda. I regret I did not use Duncan to gain favours with Bingu.