We are out of Ntcheu, the capital city of the Republic of Mangoni. Today we are at Chikondi Stop Over all day because there is water here because the owner of the business has drilled a well and is pumping water from there to his premises. As to why the water authorities in Malawi are not doing the same for the greater Mangoni, only Jah Rastafari can tell.
Professor Dr Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 33 and MEGA-1, has directed that we should report to the nation that until yesterday, Mangoni was still dry. There has been no water in Mangoni for more than three weeks. The taps are dry.
We appreciate that since we were not appointed by anyone to speak for the people of Mangoni, we have no locus standi to be reporting about the water crisis in Mangoni. However, our unthu, Ubuntu, or umunthu tells us that we all have a social locus standi to save each other from danger, suffering, disease and other human-made crises. If fishermen waited to be granted some legal locus standi to warn others, fishermen would be eaten by crocodiles every day or be swept away by mwela winds every season. If we waited for someone to give us a written mandate, we would not be burying each other. Would we?
So, locus standi or no locus standi, we will continue doing what we deem humanely, albeit not legally, obligatory. If we see a burglar walking out of somebody’s house with a bag containing K145 million, we will alert the police or effect a citizen’s arrest or snatch the bag from him, freeze and surrender the contents to the police with or without a locus standi.
Our stay at Ntcheu has taught us one major lesson. Politicians don’t seem to bother about the people’s plight. While the Mangonians have been grappling with the water crisis, politicians, red, blue, green and you name it, have been busy hanging party flags to every electricity and telephone pole. Whistle stops are being conducted but no political party has mentioned anything about the water crisis as if the people of Mangoni were born and bled to eat and drink political flags. Mangoni needs water. Today. Not tomorrow.
As political parties campaign in earnest, we note no difference among them. They all talk about eliminating corruption. They all talk about empowering women. They all talk about empowering the youth. Some talk even about eliminating old people from participating in politics while still looking for their votes. Nobody talks about men as if men are not as endangered and as poor and as powerless as youths and women.
In short, we have not heard anyone talk about the issues that really matter immediately to Malawians.
People want access to good health facilities. Only three weeks ago, two women died giving birth at Nkhata Bay district hospital. The two women had been transferred from a rural hospital for urgent caesarean operation. But both died in the process of the operation because the diesel generators powering the theatre had run out of diesel.
Make maternal health a priority in your campaigns. Tells us how you will ensure our wives, sisters, mothers and aunts don’t die needlessly. We appreciate that we have no locus standi to complain on behalf of Malawi’s great women but our umunthu tells us not to stop doing so.
We have heard a lot about why selecting students into public universities using the much maligned quota system is bad. However, no one tells us how they will solve the problem of more qualified students than the universities can handle in terms of space and human resources. No one is telling us how they will solve the problem of lack of resources in rural schools and why these students don’t deserve a quota consideration during selection. And are refugees not part of us? Don’t they deserve a quota in the universities?
More importantly, we have not heard anyone say anything serious about agriculture apart from demanding equitable or quota allocation of FISP coupons.
That Malawi was during the colonial days, has been since independence in 1964 and is likely to be an agricultural economy cannot be disputed.
Statistics indicate that agriculture directly or indirectly employs 80 percent of Malawians and contributes 65 percent to the gross domestic product of this country. Together with fisheries and forest products, agriculture is the main source of national food security and nutrition. Campaigns should focus on these and other issues that matter instead of insults.