From Monday to Wednesday this ending week, we were in the City of Chintheche. Yes, City of Chintheche since we believe in Bingu’s dream that we should all be dreaming in colour because it is dreams and visions that lead to great national and international short-term and long-run national development strategic plans.
We mostly spent the three days in that city’s central business district and watched PEOPLES employees empty their shop into the awaiting USIKU vans. Yes, PEOPLES had decided to close the shop claiming it was not making profits, so we heard.
The locals did not bother much about the closure of the shop that is literary owned by all the people of Malawi through Press Trust, which Aleke Banda rescued from the jaws of the once mighty Malawi Congress Party and the parasites that exploited, tortured and extorted gifts from us for some 30 years of death and darkness. Resilient as usual, Chinthecheans now argue that since PTC (rebranded to PEOPLES) came uninvited to their city, it can as well pack its goods and go for good without saying goodbye and thank you.
However, we, Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), the Most Paramount Native Authority Mandela, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, AMAI (RTD), and I, the Mohashoi, found this closure of a Malawian people’s shop without warning typical inconsiderate, uncalled-for, irresponsible and typical of public utility managers that denigrate and insult minority clients. See, we, Malawi’s only permanent tourists, call us gipsies if you like, can no longer buy newspapers, marmalade, mosquito repellents, v-bumu washing paste, salt, or toothpaste from our own shop. Yet, as a nation, we still expect tourists to go and visit the countryside? Forget.
We have decided to ask the Malawi Law Society (MLS), Cedep, and CHRR to defend and protect the right of these minority Chinthecheans to their own shop! PEOPLES must get back to Chintheche hic et nunc. If these groupings refuse or delay to prosecute PEOPLES or just incite other NGOs to have Matthews Chikaonda arrested or taken to court, we will publicly condemn and, later, sue them for being biased towards some minorities, such as homosexuals.
In frustration, we went to sit at Jonazi’s place to mingle with the bottom-up, overtaxed, and impoverished people. I called for fantakoko. Abiti asked for bottled still natural spring water.
“We’ve just run out of stock,” the saleslady answered, smiling apologetically like an airhostess whose aeroplane has run out of toilet paper.
“Why?”Abiti wondered, “I am extremely thirsty. Where can I get a bottle?”
“PEOPLES is closed. That was our main source of bottled water. Otherwise, we will have to wait for Northern Bottlers to supply the water next week!” the saleslady said innocently.
“Enough about water!” Jean-Philippe said. “Can we have the real hard drinks, instead?”
“PEOPLES is closed!”
“How about Johnnie Jameson Walker?”
“PEOPLES is closed!”
Jean-Philippe and Native Authority Mandela settled for Chintheche Gin each. As we sipped our drinks a conversation started.
“Ada, nde ndi fumbu”, one elderly man in our midst, Jolowali, started in typical Tonga style. “You are perhaps aware that there is a strong Western campaign for Malawi to change its laws, moral codes, Umunthu values and its peoples’ attitudes, perceptions and stereotypes so that we, men, start marrying fellow men and women start marrying fellow women. We understand that lawyers and the President have already changed the laws. As we speak, some men and women are publicly marrying each other in Blantyre, Lilongwi, M’mbelwa and Zomba. Is this true?”
“No. What has happened is that the government has put a moratorium on the arrest of homosexuals who come into the open,” I explained.
“If you put a moratorium on the arrest of thieves, are you not, in short, legalising theft? This so-called moratorium on homosexuals is tantamount to the Malawi government legalising homosexuality in Malawi without asking us,” the Jolowali concluded. n