Former president Bakili Muluzi once said that Malawians forget so easily. Nobody could put it better: We are a forgetting nation.
One can’t doubt that. If you look at how at one moment you find Malawians discussing the seeming rift in the Tonse Alliance and before long, they switch to the Malawi School Certificate of Education results and yet to another topic. A subject that starts in the morning is forgotten come mid day.
A week or so ago, Anti-Corruption Bureau director Martha Chizuma was embroiled in a leaked telephone conversation where she made some sensitive disclosures on her work. President Lazarus Chakwera, while agreeing with the rest of us that the conversation showed and proved that Chizuma is steadfast in the fight against corruption, said he reprimanded Chizuma for discussing sensitive issues with an outsider.
In all fairness, Chizuma’s was a clear case of betrayal. She was stabbed in the back by somebody she knew. As a person, she has a right to privacy and discuss whatever she wills in confidence. Like it or not, we are all human beings first and we all have people we pour our chests on.
The problem was the intent of her friend in recording the conversation that he knew so well was just part of a dirty scheme to put Chizuma into disrepute.
A week later, it is worrisome that nothing has been followed up on who recorded the conversation. A week later, we Malawians have forgotten about this man who may have recorded the conversation.
Because of the forgetful lot that we are, this man is still going about life as if nothing happened. We have not queried what was his intention?
It goes without saying that, clearly, this man had evil intent. He says in that conversation: “This is how I talk to Martha”. That shows he was trying to prove a point to someone else.
This man is part of the scheme that continues to feed on proceeds of corruption. He was just serving one of his masters. We cannot speculate who that master may be but it is clear the man is a bootlicker, a menace to our society.
It may be difficult for Chizuma to work on investigating this man for the rat is on a clay pot, you stone it and chances are high the pot will be in pieces. Nonetheless, we needed to know who is this man and what was he up to. For that matter, why was the conversation leaked? Was it not a way to throw spanners in the ACB works to fight corruption?
Gides Chalamanda has been a great musician. Without blinking an eye, one can say Chalamanda is a legend among us. It was not surprising to see the young old man at State House, accompanied by his daughter Liny, of whom he sings in Liny Wakwatira.
It is a fact that Giddes broke the record when that song trended on social media. The videos of people dancing to the song from Kampuchea to Kathmandu and from Malaysia to Mali demonstrated that indeed music is a universal language.
Not only is Giddes a figure of our culture and heritage, he is also a voice of repute we all need.
This reminds us of the time Makasu broke the international records with their Make Friends With the World! Authentic music pays dividends.
It is no wonder, then, that President Chakwera invited Chalamanda to State House where the musician gave out one or two words of wisdom, that chipongwe sadyera nsima (impudence should not be your bread and butter). Chakwera gave Chalamanda some trophy.
A very good gesture indeed. But then, the President should not play Father Christmas in recognizing individual talent. I mean, when is he going to invite Boniface Ndamera of Lucky Stars to the palace? The point is, Ndamera is another music genius living among us. If you think this is a lie, tell me which wedding or engagement ceremony you ever attended in Malawi where the song Chinafuna Mbale was not played?
The point is, there has to be a strategic effort to reward artists like Chalamanda in an authentic way. The presidency should not be picky-choosy on who to reward. We will talk about the establishment of an arts council later for that way real art will really translate economically.