After being sent back to Blantyre at the Zalewa Police Checkpoint, Jean-Philippe and I decided to spend some time at Green Farm Entertainment Centre near Lirangwi Township. The place offers everything that a tired, frustrated or disappointed traveller needs.
We found the barman slouched on the counter. Jean-Philippe tiptoed to him and gently shook him up. The barman shouted: â€œWakuba! Wakuba!â€
â€œAli kwani wakubayo? Where is he?â€ I asked.
â€œSorry. I slept late last night,â€ the barman answered as he rubbed sleep off his face. Jean-Philippe asked him to give us two drinks. He did. We went to sit in one of the summer huts.
â€œMalawi is not short of surprises,â€ Jean-Philippe said to nobody in particular. I asked him what he had found strange about Malawi.
â€œYou know, Malawi is the only country in the world with two national flags, two sets of the national currency and political parties that apologise for wrongs they did not commit.â€
I asked him to explain his observations. He reminded me that in 1964 Malawi adopted a tricoloured national flag that had a rising sun. In 2010, that flag was replaced with another tricoloured flag that had a full sun. In 2012, the 2010 flag was replaced by the 1964 flag.
â€œBut today, both flags are flying on government buildings. Thatâ€™s what makes Malawi unique,â€ Jean-Philippe said.
â€œI didnâ€™t notice that,â€ I said.
â€œFurther, a government circular recently announced that from September 2012, all newly registered motor vehicles will use number plates bearing the 1964 flag while the rest will continue to display the 2010 flag. So, which is Malawiâ€™s national flag?â€
I told him that I was not competent enough to comment on such matters. I suggested that we call a lawyer. Jean-Philippe declined saying he had no money to pay lawyers. As such, I drew his attention to his second observation that Malawi has two sets of the national currency.
â€œAh, this year a new set of currency notes was released, yet the old currency notes are still in circulation; even in banks. What does that mean to you?â€
â€œThat both sets are valid and will remain so until the old notes are mopped out of the system,â€ I said.
â€œThen why are the banks still issuing the old notes instead of mopping them out?â€
I admitted that I was not competent enough to explain issues to do with currencies. I proposed that we call the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi. Jean-Philippe declined, arguing that it was not necessary.
â€œNow which political parties apologised for crimes they did not commit?â€ I reminded him.
â€œI read in the newspapers that the acting president of the DPP went to Mzuzu and apologised for the mass murders of 20 July 2011,â€ Jean-Philippe said.
â€œDid he really apologise or just condoled?â€
â€œThe newspapers said he apologised and promised that such a massacre will never happen again,â€ Jean-Philippe said.
I sighed. Jean-Philippe went on:
â€œAnybody can condole the bereaved, but only the guilty do apologise for the death of somebody. Apology means admission of guilt. Inquiry reports donâ€™t indicate who commanded the police officers to commit the terrible murders. By apologising, does the DPP president now say he gave the orders?
â€œLetâ€™s call him. He is easy to reach these days.â€