As I write this, I have just seen a picture of a man bleeding profusely from the head. It is not known which side this man was. One side was demonstrating against demonstrations Bon Kalindo was organising against the Tonse Alliance administration. Apparently, another group was for the demonstrations which were scheduled to take place yesterday.
How someone can hack another person this way only left me bamboozled! The hacking happened a day after Kalindo announced his resignation from the UTM Party where he was director of youth and a national executive committee member.
As if the two sides clashing is not enough, there is a queer side to it all. Leading the demos against demos was purportedly, a Democratic Progressive Party functioanry, renowned on the streets of Limbe as an owner of a mgodi. With him on the frontline was another mgodi owner, who is also an influential Nyasa Big Bullets supporter.
For those not in the know, a mgodi in minibus business parlance, is a territory where a group of people control how touts share the spoils they collect from minibus drivers. This mgodi can be as small as just one bus stage or complicated to cover a whole CBD. In simple language, one can control the ‘mine’ at Giannakis bus stage, while another can control the whole of Limbe.
You would wonder how minibus touts can go all the way to protest against Kalindo’s demonstrations! But, don’t be surprised.
The other day, Information Minister Gospel Kazako said government was ready to keep touts off the streets. This he said as government was working to avert demonstrations by the Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) since the operators have complained that migodi eat into the money they make daily.
To show that they are relevant in supporting the government of the day, they certainly must prevent all those trying to protest against the powers that be. That way, there is no way the government can go ahead with the idea of chasing them from migodi.
But then that puts government between a hard rock and the deep sea. That is because pushing the touts off their work stations would mean trouble from the touts, while not pushing them out will bring more trouble from Moam.
It is clear that protestors have ulterior motives. When you see someone organising demonstrations these days, you should read between the lines, deconstruct and know there is more than a common fight.
Once upon the time, there was the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which organised massive demonstrations calling for the head of the then Malawi Electoral Commission chair Jane Ansah. Never before had Malawi witnessed such a massive dissent against the ‘tippexed’ 2019 elections. HRDC was led by Timothy Mtambo, with others like Gift Trapence, MacDonald Sembereka and Billy Mayaya.
Remember Msundwe Barracks? Remember that Ngoni Warrior carrying a mattress ready to lie down during a vigil? Remember the Nyala-armoured personnel carrier (chimbaula chapolisi) that was burnt in Lilongwe? Remember how the army protected the people whenever they went on the street in their masses?
Mtambo and friends were real heroes of the struggle. Malawians trusted them 99.9 percent.
But that trust waned when it ended up that Mtambo was fighting a deeper personal battle. Soon after the apparent fight for the people was won, he joined the government as Minister for Civic Education. Some of his colleagues ended up at diplomatic stations.
So, as some go on the street for this or that reason, it is clear that those behind the demos have ulterior motives. The stakes are just too high, as the terrain is tough by the day.