Sometime back early this year, on our way to Zomba we stopped at Lizulu in the Republic of Ntcheu, fondly known here as Mangoni, the stretch of land that runs contiguously up to Angonia in present-day Mozambique and occupied by the Maseko Ngoni, who mixed and have lived harmoniously with the Chewa and other tribes for hundreds of years. Unlike the Mzimba Jere Ngoni the Maseko Ngoni have never claimed that theirs is a kingdom within Malawi and Mozambique.
Apart from being the traditional political headquarters of the Maseko Ngoni, Lizulu stands out as a hub of farm fresh food and forest products business. Anyone who comes here quickly learns that food insecurity or food shortage, food security, hunger and poverty are mere political slogans. It sounds crazy to describe as poor and hungry a society that produces and sells so much tomato, beans, cabbages, carrots and other vegetables or raises and sells so many cattle, goats and chicken. No wonder that even the so-called World Bank has stopped misclassifying societies and countries into developed, developing, undeveloped, poor, rich, hungry, etc because all societies share the foregoing characteristics and a dollar-a-day definition of poverty does not apply to agrarian societies that mostly trade using what Professor Chinyamata Chipeta calls traditional money.
Enough about the politics of poverty. We stopped here to meet Dr Alumendo, who was resident in Cashgate City until the High Court in Mzuzu decided to ban all traditional doctors, herbalists, charm makers, witches, wizards, and occultists. Dr Alumendo, a Lizuluan Mozambican, whose practice was, according to his own claim statements, frequented by politicians to win elections; to make some MPs go into total sleep during important parliamentary debates and for protection during their travels to and from their allowance-collection exercises in Cashgate City; to remote-close their vehicles.
Other clients, according to Dr Alumendo included Cashgate suspects wishing to win their cases, priests seeking to attract and recruit more rich people into their newly established commercial churches, and some lawyers seeking appointments as judges and other influential and moneyed positions.
We visited Dr Alumendo to collect some herbal concoctions that would fail all traffic police cameras as we approached them because we had no more money to waste on traffic officers, who, we hear, subscribe to a code of policing ethics.
“No problem,” Dr Alumendo said, “tie this root to your wipers. Each time you approach the traffic speed cameras, engage the wipers as if you are washing the wind shield. Ensure the windshield cleaner tank has enough water always. You will pay me on your way back from the wedding in Zomba.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Tell me, Dr Alumendo,” Aljajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson started, “are you a witch, a wizard, a witchdoctor, a herbalist, or an occultist?”
“I am a medical practitioner. I know herbs that cure diseases and others that bring fortune and misery. However, I am not a witchdoctor or wizard because I don’t exorcise charms!”
“Why then did you not protest the blanket ban that the Mzuzu High Court meted on your kind?” Jean-Philippe went on.
“How did you locate me?” Dr Alumendo asked.
“We heard about your potential from someone in Cashgate City,” I said.
“So; who needs whom more?”
“Both,” MG 66 answered.
“Wrong. Patients, sufferers, fortune seekers need herbalists and others need us more than we need them.”
“I see,” Jean-Philippe said, sighing.
“It would appear your government and courts don’t appreciate their country’s situation. Last time you banned traditional birth attendants only to reverse the decision later because your hospitals could not handle all maternity cases; today you have banned herbalists and traditional healers as if your hospitals can treat all diseases.
“Surprisingly, how can your learned courts fail to see the difference between a herbalist, a charm maker and wizard or witch? Not all herbalists are charm makers or wizards. Further, how can all traditional healers be banned because of mistakes made by two traditional medicine practitioners? What kind of logic is that?
“Tell your government and courts. Soon, they will come kneeling before us.”n