Moseliwa Bwana President Chakwera,
We write from the United States of Thyolo and Mulanje to plead with you to be firm and decisive;
Be firm like Eliot Kenani Kamwana Chirwa and Wilfred Gudu who used their knowledge of the Holy Scripture to denounce the systematic exploitation of the locals by the mzungu government. Kamwana and Gudu triggered the fight for human rights in Nyasaland;
Be firm like John Chilembwe who continued Kamwana and Gudu’s call for mzungu’s government to respect the labour rights of the Nyasas, to abolish thangata, and to stop recruiting locals into the British army to die for a cause they did not understand;
Be firm like our ancestors murdered by mzungu in 1953 and 1959 as they demanded their freedoms, our freedoms, their independence, our independence, their self-rule, our self-rule. They knew that mzungu’s government had all the repressive State apparatuses control vault, as Louis Althusser would have put. Mzungu had British laws, the courts, the police, the gendarmerie, and the Kings African Rifles, but our ancestors, some still alive today, fought on nonetheless to achieve the freedom we are abusing today;
Be firm like Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda who was not afraid of using the word ‘stupid-yauzilu’ to describe mzungu’s federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, build the Malawi that he had dreamt for years. Just be firm, decisive, Bwana;
Be firm like Yatatu Chisiza, Henry Masauko Chipembere, Kanyama Chiume and Rose Chabambo who fought against the one-party dictatorship for decades;
Be firm like Bakili Muluzi who changed decadent repressive policies and laws to ensure we fully enjoyed our democracy. When he decided to convert the Mzuzu Teachers Training College into Mzuzu University (Mzuni), and introduced tobacco auction floors and a Southern Bottlers plant in Mzuzu, some disgruntled people were up in arms, saying “Munganya uyu wakuteta”.
Today, we are sending our qualified children to Mzuni; today the tobacco farmers from Mpoto no longer have to travel 400 to 500 kilometres to access the auction floors at Kanengo in Lilongwe. Just be firm like Bakili;
Be firm like kaNgwazi Bingu wa Mutharika who challenged cynical Malawians to judge him by the work of his hands. He expanded the Kamuzu/Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre to the disbelief of his critics and the admiration of us the politically non-partisan. Bingu refused to accept the prescription from outre-mer against subsidising farm inputs. He told the outre-merists to stop being hypocritical as in the USA, Canada, European Union, Russia, Ukraine, China, Brazil and many other areas, farm inputs were heavily subsidised and governments even guaranteed farmers a market, an Adimariki, to buy all the farm produce.
Bingu firmly decided to abandon the Lilongwe University of Science and Technology (Lust) and, instead, converted Bunda College to a full Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar). Lust became Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) built on or near his personal Ndata Farm in Thyolo. People cried foul, called Bingu a dictator, a tribalist, a regionalist, a ‘Lhomwe beltist’, and other names. He ignored all the criticism and the project went on anyway. Today, our children, Malawian children, are flooding Must and getting degrees.
Be firm like oMai Joyce Banda who finished Bingu’s last two years as president. In that short period, oMai created huge fuel reserves in Blantyre (at Matindi), in Mzuzu (at Mchengautuwa), and Lilongwe (near Area 25). Her critics were angry and cried that she was wasteful. They wanted nkhokwe za chimanga and not nkhokwe za mafuta. Today, we have a full company, the National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma), ensuring we have enough fuel in this republic;
Be firm, Sir. Be decisive, Mr President. During the presidential election campaign of 2020, you and the Tonse Alliance promised a lot of things and anthu anamva, to cite Phungu Josephy Mkasa. In Nkhata Bay people heard, anamva, akuvwa, that you would build a decent resting place for Orton Edgar Ching’oli Chirwa, one of the founders of this republic.
Bwana, build the mausoleum and perhaps, as some moderate social media critics have proposed, add a primary school or a Mzuni research centre specialising in history, cultural anthropology, or law, or a tourist lodge. The people you promised, and their chiefs, akuvwa and they are waiting for the mausoleum.
By all means, Bwana President, be firm and decisive and build the mausoleum. If you don’t, these same social media critics will call you a failed president.
Now, “failed president” is not an epithet you would want your legacy to be associated with. Would you? We wouldn’t.