We, Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePossoin, SC (RTD); Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, AMAI (RTD), the Most Paramount (MP) Native Authority Mandela, and I, the Mohashoi, wish to sincerely apologise to all great Malawians that read about and follow us as we travel from district to district, mingling with real Malawians to find solutions to problems crippling and bedevilling our federal republic. We apologise that last week we were unable to tell you about where we had been and what we saw.
We failed because Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe was, for the first time since 2012, taken extremely ill. We feared the worst.
Jean-Philippe describes himself as a “rootsman” and he means exactly that. He has instructed us, in writing, that in the rare event that he is taken ill, we should first and foremost take him to a herbalist because that is where unadulterated medicine is found. If herbalists fail, his written instructions continue, he should be taken to an acupuncturist. Only after these fail, should he be treated with western medicines.
However, it is only foolish people that follow the bizarre instructions of a dying person. So, we bypassed all herbalists and acupuncturists and took Jean-Philippe straight to John Lenge district hospital in West Nyasa or Chinthechi, as Nkhata Bay used to be called. Only yesterday did the hospital declare him healthy and fit enough to continue with the Malawi expedition. We were relieved.
As soon he arrived at our ‘Jah Hotel’ at Kakumbi in West Nyasa, we offered him a warm drink, which he declined. Instead, he asked for newspapers to read and catch up on what he had missed.
“What is this?” He asked.
“What is what?” I asked.
“How can a policeman be demoted or reassigned to general duties for merely reporting a professional post-mortem of a man who starved to death in Mzimba, sorry, M’mbelwa?”
“That’s nothing,” Abiti said, “recently a presidential bodyguard was sent to Siberia for failing to protect the president from falling into the palm tree he was due to plant!”
“Since 1964 this country has belonged to the president. The president of Malawi does not fall sick; does not fall down; does not feel hungry; does not grow old and does not get drunk. And only the president knows the truth. He knows the cause of every illness and death. He can even predict events. If the president says no one will die of starvation, there can be no such death. Do you follow?
“If the president says there are maize and other staples in Malawi, these must be there only that you are too visually impaired to see them. If the president says the Malawian economy is doing well, no one, especially the civil servants, ministers of government, the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the church, can contradict him,” MP Mandela said.
“Sounds like Malawi is Animal Farm! I can’t believe there still exist such leaders outside North Korea. Even China, Cuba and Vietnam have modified their systems!” Jean-Philippe went on.
“What is Animal Farm?” MP Mandela asked.
“A book by George Orwell”, Jean-Philippe started, breathed in heavily before continuing. “It talks about how a popular revolution founded on the principles of egalitarianism is betrayed by selfish, greedy and intolerant leaders, averse to freedom of expression.
“In short, and I hope I remember correctly, one night the animals on a certain English farm meet and decide to violently oust Mr Jones, the human owner of the farm. The clever among them create and write down rules for all to follow. These are endorsed by all animals. However, slowly and subtly the rules are changed so that the ruling class, the Pigs, enjoy the same privileges as the previous owners of the farm. Eventually, the lead Pig, Comrade Napoleon, and the other pigs eat what Mr Jones ate; they sleep where Mr Jones slept and even drink what he drank, including milk, which the rules forbade all animals from taking.
“Meanwhile, Squealer, a Jappie Mhango of Orwell’s Animal Farm, was busy denying this; refuting this, and justifying that but essentially saying nothing new that the suffering and overworked animals—notably the horses and cattle—did not see and know.”
“So, the animals staged another revolution against the bloodsucking pig class?” MP Mandela asked agitatedly.
“The story ends there,” Jean-Philippe said, leaving the Daily Twines on the coffee table to pick the Daily Ration. n