As 2015 draws to an end, we, Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66 and leader of our expedition, the Most Paramount Native Authority Mzee Mandela, and I, the Mohashoi, would like to sincerely thank all the people that have followed our countrywide travels in search of the truth and bottom-up ideas on how to develop Malawi.
We have been together. Together we have asked hard questions. Together we have praised those who deserved praise. Together we have not minced words about the state of our mediocrity. Together we have celebrated our [Unima] university’s 50th birthday. Together we have searched for the 177 farm tractors and 144 maize shellers the DPP government bought in 2011 to improve agricultural production in Malawi. Ironically, together we have wondered why the same DPP government sold, or gave out the assets to friends and “deserving farmers”. Interestingly, neither the DPP government nor the MCP [Malawi Congress Party] seems interested in letting Malawians know where the rest of the tractors and shellers are.
It would appear the DPP’s main obsession is the presidential jet. A serious inquiry will be or has already been launched into what happened to that jet. Our advice is that the inquiry should also cover the Kamuzu Banda presidential jet, which also vanished without trace during Muluzi’s presidency, according to Sam Mpasu’s article in the recent edition of the Lamp Magazine.
For us, 2015 was a year of extreme sadness and mourning. We thank you for being on our side as we buried Moya Edward Henderson Chitsulo at Ntepele Village, Chiradzulo. We hope you learned something about Chitsulo’s ‘shelf life’ principle. Everything, he used to say, has a shelf-life and nothing is permanent. Chitsulo’s life philosophy was heavily influenced by French existentialism and the Biblical King Solomon’s musings about the vanities of life (Ecclesiastes 1:1-18).
We thank you for condoling and consoling us when we lost Thom Phiri in Mzuzu. Thom was our family friend since the early 1990s. Your messages of comfort made us see value in our social oneness and our umunthu, the philosophy that defines Bantu African approach to life. As Professor John Chisi, president of Umodzi Party (UP) keeps saying, our lot would dramatically change if umunthu became a national philosophy. Professor James Kamwachale Khomba, the finance and management guru at the Malawi Polytechnic, agrees.
We thank you for escorting us to Ngala, Dwasulu, Nkhotakota to bury Mathew Johannes Manda, another progressive and development-conscious beloved brother and friend since childhood, who succumbed to cancer. Your presence there and condolence messages were and still are comforting to Mathew’s widow, Elizabeth, daughter, Mwawi and ulapasi wosi.
We are grateful that you were there, too, to see the Muckraker, Ralph Tenthani’s body taken from the College of Medicine morgue to be buried among his people at Sharpe Valley. Ralph is dearly missed by readers of Sunday newspapers, social media and online news sites. We also miss him aplenty because he spoke the bottom up language and asked the powerful to be accountable to the powerless: voters and taxpayers.
We thank you for being there when the man Nkhata Bay and Tongaland calls JB died and was buried at Chintheche. John Banda (JB) was the accordionist and song composer for the world famous Park Town Band since 1958. JB was rarely seen on national TV, but he was the man behind the music and songs the band played and still plays. One of his songs, Mwamzenga Kumapili, openly challenged political authority in the 1970s to be honest with the people; mostly those who were being forcibly resettled from the lakeshore. The song, rarely sung these days, said those people were being cheated that Chintheche would be turned into a rural town because a paper factory would be established there. Today, over 40 years later, neither the paper factory nor the rural town has been established.
Although we missed the burial of Professor Steve Chimombo in Zomba, we were grateful that you escorted our soft-speaking great teacher, creative writer and literary giant who died early this December 2015.
In 2015, we were sad and in mourn but your presence made us live in hope. We look forward to your support, readership and leadership in 2016.
Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.n