Abiti Joyce Befu, also known as MG 66 and Amai (RTD), Alhajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), the Most Paramount Native Authority Mandela and I, the Mohashoi, are still here abroad, that is in Villa Ulongwe, Provincia de Tete, Mozambique. We have fallen in love, real love, with the people of this country, their land and the way they conduct their business.
Here in Mozambique, people work very hard, extremely hard to uplift themselves from poverty. You rarely hear about tribe and Cashgate-like pillage.
Mozambique has overtaken Malawi on the UN, World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) human and social progress ladder.
Once upon a time, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and Malawi were ten times poorer than Malawi but presently Malawi is ten times poorer than Rwanda, seven times poor that Mozambique and five times poorer that Burundi. Ironically, since 1994 when our real economic and social development commenced descending the poverty precipice, our leaders have been honoured by international organisations, universities in Africa and abroad. Sometimes, we feel these foreign organisations decorate us, particularly our leaders, are simply bent mocking us.
“You know what?” Alhajj Jean-Philippe started as we sat down to a Chiwaya dinner with our host, Alfredo, the owner of the successful Banca de Vinho at Villa Ulongwe.
“Talk,” Abiti challenged.
“We need to propose to the Malawi government to start sending Malawians for training abroad in Mozambique to learn how to be productive,” Jean-Philippe went on.
“What? What can Mozambicans teach Malawians?” Abiti wondered.
“At least Mozambicans understand that huge family sizes and a bludgeoning national population is a recipe for national disaster!” Jean-Philippe said.
“Mozambique is almost 10 times larger and yet Malawi has over half of the population of that country,” Mandela remarked.
“Didn’t you guys once say that a large population is not necessarily a cause of poverty? You said if well used a large population is a national asset? “Abiti wondered.
“Underline ‘well used’ and add ‘fully developed population’. Through skills, professional and academic education, a nation will develop. Otherwise, a large, uneducated population is often clueless, inert but excels in begging. Such a population, like Malawi’s is a liability,” I commented.
Alfredo, the owner of the Banca de Vinho intervened: “You know that it is impossible for a country to train everybody. We, Mozambicans came from two bitter wars but we still did some skills development catch-up and educated ourselves. In short, Malawians should not always wait for their poor government to teach them how to survive. Let them teach themselves basic skills by experimenting with innovations like the people of Ntcheu do. Further, read books beyond religious texts such as the Bible and the Koran.”
“What do the people of Ntcheu do?” I asked.
“They harvest human urine and use it to produce vegetables. They harvest human faecal matter to fertilise maize gardens. Ntcheu people are very close to being rich because they think like us, Mozambicans. Ntcheu people think about being healthy and wealthy,” Alfredo said.
“I have also heard about that innovation,” I said.
“Also, Malawians should read books that talk about how to be wealthy without breaking a bank or engaging in Cashgate!” Alfredo went on.
“Ah, where can I find such books?”
“Have you read Harry Molande’s books? They are small and can be read in one sitting. I bought three for myself when I last went to your capital, Lilongwe,” Alfredo said as he walked to the shelves of his Banca de vinho.
He turned and waved at us, saying read these: Savings and Investments, Entrepreneurship and From Rags to Riches. n