It does not get any better than meeting the president, of course, not of a katapila group, but of a country. So I had every reason to float on air when President Arthur Peter Mutharika, granted me an audience at New State House last week.
It is not that easy to get a chance of meeting the President and I realised as I waited for my turn that I was sweating profusely. After spending a good 30 minutes, I was ushered into a presidential living room and there he was, appearing free and easy as he scoffed raw cassava. He surely must have been up to something, no prize for guessing. He also looked sporty in a body suit complete with a chiwaya [casual short] prompting me to jokingly enquire if he were coming from the gym.
During our light-hearted interaction, we discussed a variety of issues and he told me that as a young man he was a good footballer, saying: “Ndinali katswiri kwambiri, moti ndimamwesa zigoli zabwino kwambiri, ndinalinso wa m’bwim’bwi, kubwiza njomba kwambiri.” I realised then that he had used the word ‘kwambiri’ more than 20 times.
Then I switched to some serious business and told H.E the purpose of my visit. I explained to him that as a sports lover, I was concerned that government cut by over K400 million the Ministry of Sports budget at a time when sports disciplines are battling a severe cash squeeze that we recently could not afford to give a gold medal athlete Mercy Malembo a chance to compete at world stage.
I also reminded the President about Kamuzu Stadium’s sorry state and, hence; the urgent need for him to fulfil his promise of building a new facility. And, as expected, he asked me why I could not take up the issues with his minister of Sports to which I said she was already preoccupied with stuff like opening workshops and being a guest of honour at functions.
After that it was back to light-hearted stuff over a glass of our favourite beverage and in passing I asked him when his daughter Moyenda would visit the country again from the US, and whether she is ‘attached’, a smile on his face was enough to tell me I had the greenlight. Sadly though I didn’t get a chance of a thick envelope like it was with my colleagues. Well, tomorrow is April 1, isn’t it? Happy Fools Day! Glory be to God. .Uloliwe..Uloliwe wayidudula hii…Neng’asiza [The train is pushing]. n