I will be minimising the whole thing if I said I was mortified when I read newspaper articles that our good police had intercepted a marijuana cake at the Kamuzu International Airport (KIA).
The story was that someone in Zimbabwe had sent the cake through Malawi by plane en route to our shared colonial master, Her Majesty’s land in Soho. So, this illicit cargo was intercepted and lo and behold, we called the newspaper journalists to come forth—take pictures narrate the story—and then we were in the limelight. Some people in not so friendly nations are now convinced we are an “illicit drug conduit.” They did not ask us to say it. We volunteered the information and we had that adrenaline rush, which is now gone, by the way.
Then there was this other story of the Kotakota gold that was intercepted at Lirangwe. The story is that there was a truck that originated all the way from Dwangwa and went as far as Lirangwe without being intercepted by any of our law enforcement officers at road blocks.
Just as the truck was about a kilometre from the ex-Joe Manduwa farm—you remember ex-deputy Minister of Agriculture Joe Manduwa had proposed that we legalised the sensimilla weed?—some MRA staff caught the gold. Now, your questions are the same as mine as to what business MRA staff had to do with busting a weed cargo? What duty or customs and excise was the MRA office going to collect when a truck was loaded with goods from within Nyasaland. It would have made sense, may be, if one was talking about the United Federal Republic of Thyolo and Mulanje (the deadline for the formation of this new country has passed, has it not?). But not Kotakota amangwetu? Anyway, likakwana lafote, this is what happens and the driver was busted by MRA. Next time I meet my man of the year, Malawi Law Society president John Suzi-Banda, I will ask for a copy of the MRA Act. Does it, for instance, empower MRA to catch people peddling chamba? Was the arrrest not outside the mandate of MRA? If MRA has started doing police work, should the police now start collecting VAT in a spirit of mzako akakuti konzu nawenso umuti konzu? (A good turn deserves another).
Let me move to my main point of the article. Next time there is a chamba cake passing by KIA, just get the phone and inform Scotland Yard in London. Leave the cargo to proceed. They will catch the recipient of the cargo in London. We may have intercepted the cake, but we have no one to claim ownership. Next time there is a truck loaded with sensimilla at Lirangwe, leave it up to Blantyre. Follow it at a distance and see into whose fence the herb is going. We call that a ‘sting’ operation. By the way, several years from now when we have legalised chamba, we will be laughing at ourselves, after all, many things are allowable in modern democracies. n