7 May 2020
In the Standard Eight English book of old, there used to be a poem which went:
Half the time they munched the grass
And half the time they lay
Down the grassy dambo
The lazy month of May
Excuse me. What was that poem all about in a Malawian syllabus? May is one of the busiest days in Malawi!
Figure this. On May 1, we Malawian labourers go about the streets wondering what Marx really meant when he said we have nothing but chains to lose. What a way to go into a month!
We belabour ourselves to think someday the fetters will drop. But then May 1 is just an entry into a Malawi’s most laborious month.
Friends of the pen, on May 3 take to the streets to celebrate their day and remind the world that there can be no day without news and, for that matter, nothing happened before this lot published or broadcast it.
Then comes May 5, the day we remember midwives and the heavy duty they carry on their shoulders. The burden of bringing to earth souls is a colossal one, especially in a country where resources in our labour wards, ay hospitals, are minimal.
It was sad that this year, there were no placards crying: Make information access real. Sadly, that was because of Covid-19 which has brought the world to a standstill and taken to the grave hundreds of thousands. And 50 journalists!
My heart is with them.
You see, May is a busy month in Malawi. What is business if we skip elections? Did we not see presidential hopefuls and their runningmates present nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) before the Supreme Court ruled for or against the nullification of the May 21 2019 presidential election?
May we be wrong to say May is too busy a month for someone to infuse on us the notion it is a lazy month.
Maybe it was, before 1983.
May 17, 1983. Three Cabinet ministers Aaron Gadama, Dick Matenje, Twaibu Sangala and parliamentarian David Chiwanga were killed for questioning controlling officers’ failure to curb overexpenditure in government.
That was three days after Kamuzu Banda’s birthday. May 14.
Well, historians, poets, novelists, musicians and all the rub have tried to look at the merits and demerits of Kamuzu as a leader.
For some he was a despot, a dictator. For others, a liberator and servant leader at heart. Why else would someone in a three piece suit, fly whisk in hand and Wilson hat on his head claim to be Mchikumbe Number One?
Don’t blame me. Blame whoever thought May is a lazy month. Was it lazy for Ras Chikomeni, Peter Mbakuwaku, that Swira guy and all the others trying to wear Kamuzu’s shoes?