On 28th May 2012, a local radio announcer talked about Mrs Emmie Chanika and me in our capacity as authors of books. The issue that the radio announcer was talking about related to our book on â€˜Malawi:
The Lost Decadeâ€™ which we published in 2004. In that book, we presented the history of Malawi up to 2004 but largely concentrating on the period spanning 1994 and 2004. We posited that the period 1994 to 2004 was a lost decade in as far as Malawi is concerned. Now, the radio announcer was saying that our book gave negative marks to Muluziâ€™s legacy. What is it now that Chanika and Muula are going to write having experienced the 2004-2012 Bingu and Democratic Progress Partyâ€™s legacy? As I understood the announcer, I thought the message was in a way: You two (Chanika and Muula) made a mistake by referring to the glorious Muluzi time as lost. You have seen worse and if you are objective, write also about the “lost” eight years of Bingu.
I have not had the time to discuss with Mrs Chanika as to what our response to that is going to be. But yes, Mrs Chanika and I have written two books together. One is on social issues in child health and the other is the history book the radio announcer was talking about. Following these two books, we have discussed, more than a dozen times, that we needed to write other books. So far, our efforts have ended in just talking. We have not moved pen to paper. I doubt we are the only ones who talk, talk, talk and talk and not implement. I am sure we have not finished talking. Whether we will manage to write any book in future is another matter. I admit, ladies and gentlemen, that we are failures. We like talking.
While I admit being failures, I was flattered by the announcerâ€™s report. Flattered and feeling honoured that eight years after the publication of our book, key members of the media still remember it. Of course, we have sold many copies and so believe people have read the book (I am not going to discuss whether we have paid taxes to the MRA or not on the proceeds from the books). To have a radio announcer talking about us at prime time gives us enormous visibility. Thank you, radio announcer.
Going back to the book, I am willing to accept that Mrs Chanika and I do not have the monopoly of wisdom. For us, the period 1994 to 2004 was a lost decade. Others may feel these were not lost years. I respect that. Just as there are people now, and will be there in the future who will think 2004 to 2012 were the glorious years, although I would differ with these people, I respect their opinion. Secondly, what makes me still insist Muluziâ€™s period was a loss? It is because his machination was the egg that brought Bingu into power. Without Muluzi, there was no Bingu presidency. It was a lost decade. This is not to say there were no positive things with Muluzi.