It sounds contradictory, doesn’t it, that while common ‘scientific’ wisdom holds that to save water in the soil we need vegetation, mostly, tree cover, somewhere the state is using science to cut down trees to save water.
All along we have been made to understand that depletion of forest or vegetation cover is deleterious to human-flora symbiosis with humans standing to lose more as the manufacturers of oxygen are mowed down. We breathe in oxygen, a by-product of photosynthesis, while trees use the carbon dioxide we breathe out to manufacture their own food.
No tree and no grass no oxygen. No oxygen no human life. No carbon dioxide no tree life.
Covid-19 has reminded us about the importance of this chuma chosabisika called oxygen. Studies indicate that the normal human lung consumes approximately 72 litres of oxygen per day.
In petrol terms, 72 litres is enough fuel to propel a Toyota Vizara from Blantyre to Lilongwe and back twice.
From primary school biology and agriculture, we also learned that tree leaves are agents of evapotranspiration.
They catch the rain water which later evaporates to form rain elsewhere. The rain that falls to the ground is not allowed to quickly evaporate, thus keeping the soil wet; which is good for plant growth.
The tree tops act as a porous umbrella, a green house. Plants need adequate sunlight for growth but not too much heat. Greenhouses allow light and reduce the heat reaching the plants.
Hopefully, we now understand why the people promoting the wanton cutting down of trees are roundly condemned and demonised, such as the Trumpian President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, while those promoting forest conservation and afforestation, like Wangari Mathai and the Nyika Development Trust (NDT), are praised and awarded prizes for their efforts.
In Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika was not spared any swear word for allowing his mercenaries to deplete the Viphya Plantation, wrongly called Chikangawa Forest, in Nkhata Bay and Mzimba.
However, in South Africa, the Cape Town Water authorities are defying common science by cutting down trees that guzzle ground water. Such trees include pinus patula (pine), the very tree Malawi prizes for afforestation.
The belief is that once these guzzlers are out of the scene, the water table will be affected minimally and water will be available for human consumption.
What this means is that during this year’s tree planting season, we should rethink the species of trees to plant. This year, let us plant trees that spare water for us to drink.
Bon Kalindo is free to complain
Bon Kalindo has spoken. Speaking out is cathartic. It is healing. It is freeing. It is emancipating. It is revelatory.
Kalindo’s mind is now free unlike those of us in Malawi who are silently nursing our political wounds in our bedrooms or cleansing them with volumes of kachasu and other haram beverages.
His own political party, the UTM, has called for Kalindo to calm down, be patient, and change the approach, preferring the Kamuzuan contact and dialogue. The party has distanced itself from Kalindo’s criticism of Chakwera as a worse tribalist than the Mutharika brothers. So, the leaked interview was right that Mutharika is indeed a committed tribalist? Thank you Bwana Kalindo for the revelation.
We will not comment on who is more tribalist than the other since we are not experts in comparative tribalism.
Let us acknowledge Kalindo’s pain. He invested his skill, money, and life in promoting the Chakwera-Chilima presidential ticket. At one point he was beaten up by his own former friends.
Prior to that, he stood as a UTM MP and lost. Had he won, his cry would have been less strident because he would have been enjoying the large parliamentary salary and attendant perks.
One person we know joined politics and spent the whole of his pension package to be a UTM MP. He lost but, luckily for him, he serves in the current Cabinet. Others are nursing their wounds.
Kalindo is crying out aloud because he spent a fortune. He invested and he has not received returns on his investment. People join politics to make money. Forget about servant leadership this, equality that. Politics is business. Business is making profits on investment. This is why politicians jump from party to another. Greener pastures. Lucrative business opportunities to invest in. n