I stay in Blantyre. This is important to state because I want to chronicle my journey from Blantyre to Mangochi, where I went for a meeting. I am a public servant so I believe if you know what has been going on the public servant, you are asking: What did you go to Mangochi for? Was it for private business? Was it for work purposes? There are many things to do in Mangochi. Buy fish, see friends, bury someone, vacation, pass through it on the way to Mozambique or just seeing the lake. But I went for these lakeside meetings.
Hey! A public servant at the lakeside meeting? Did the government not ban lakeside meetings in preference to meetings conducted at base? Should we not meet in the boardrooms in Lilongwe and not in these fancy places I was at? Shhhh. Do not tell anyone where I was. That memo banning lakeside meetings was not even worth more than the paper it was written on. We have started meeting once again at the lake. It started with the meeting of recycled…Ooops…newly appointed principal secretaries. They had a workshop on something while the ban was on. We all watched on national television that our bosses were meeting at the lake. I am not sure the big Kahuna was there, but if not his second in command was definitely there. And then we added one plus one and made the conclusion that the answer was indeed two, and not three. There was no ban in the first place.
The first 50 kilometres on my trip to Mangochi were a wonderful drive from Blantyre to just before Zomba Zero. Then, within Zomba, one has to negotiate construction work that seems hundred days away from completion. With the rains coming, it is likely to be madness driving in Zomba this coming December 2015. But some work is being done and that is important. Then I move on to Chinamwali. This is where a few years ago I “tasted” the speed cameras. I do not speed at Chinamwali because the experience that time haunts me. I was fined on the spot K5 000. Whether the money ended up in proper government coffers or someone took it home or split the loot among his friends, I have no way of knowing. But I have decided I can be fined any other place in this country, but never Chinamwali.
I go on to Liwonde. Take the turn to Mangochi. Reach Ulongwe where the Weather woman on MBCtv talked about the weather at Ulongwe in Mangochi. The Ulongwe I passed was in Balaka and not Mangochi. Mangochi starts at Mpale Bridge. There may be two or more Ulongwes may be.
The most important parts of the trip were two. One, was the state of the road—bad, bad and bad. Come the rains and things will be worse. Second, it is the destruction or cutting done of trees in that forest three kilometres from Mangochi Boma. The majestic palm trees are gone and so the “white trees” are going. Bring in the MDF?