Good people, Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) polls came and vanished with nothing much to write home about.
The only surprise is that as many as six people were convinced it was time Mike Sambalikagwa Mvona left the union’s presidency.
To Mvona, roaring past loser Billy Mayaya with 39-6 votes represents a predictable triumph over adversity.
“I told you I was going to win. This is what I meant,” he told our reporter.
However, there is one battle that Mvona must overcome if he cares about his reputation in a democratic context where leaders are not remembered for staying in power till they drop dead, but for shaping up their successors in time for a deserved retirement.
Wherever people are talking about the seat he has held since 1999—subtract four glorious years when Stanley Onjezani Kenani temporarily took over—a question blare: “When will Mvona pave way for fresh blood and fresh ideas?”
These murmurs should convict the Mawu tsar for taking the union like his personal estate.
This must come to an end.
Time has to come when any leader as old as Mvona has to come out of the ivory tower and stop hanging on to power in the name of safeguarding the institutions they lead from destructive hands.
Mvona, who perpetuates a season of smothering Malawian writings into nothingness, wants Malawians to believe he is not power hungry, but just a well-wisher keen to ensure people with bad intentions do not hijack Mawu.
We thought we heard this noise once and for all when former president Bakili Muluzi coined the Third Term Bill to remain in charge of this country beyond legal maximums because “he had unfinished business” and running government is serious business”.
It appears Mvona has an equally exaggerated sense of self-esteem.
Come out of the smoky kitchen, please!
If Mvona cared so much about the wellbeing of the union, he would have dedicated his protracted reign to nurturing the leaders the writers’ body needs to thrive in a competitive world.
But here is a man who loves surrounding himself with bootlickers, praise-singers and blank faces in a silent exclusion of potential leaders.
In his reaction to much talk about the polls that change nothing at the top, Onjezani urges writers to leave the politics of Mawu aside and keep writing.
The only reason to step aside is that the union has become a pariah body, a conclave of mediocrity and enclave undemocratic tendencies that scare away credible aspirants to its topmost seat.
Sadly, the things some Malawians strive to do well on their own are sometimes judged by the brains that control of the industry to which the rivers belong.
The good news is that the Poetry Asociation of Malawi (PAM) finally has new leaders.
Congrats, Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa for succeeding his fellow (PAM) founder Njonjonjo!
Take the names to the nearest game reserve!
Nthiwatiwa must fly above “founder syndrome” and strive to take the local poets to new greatness.
This includes redeeming numerous quacks from churning out the prosy nothings they often mistake for poems. n