Well, it may not have been British money that bought the aircraft. But how could we use our money to buy a luxury and then pretend to be poor and then at the same time go round for alms? It was like a beggar, who, when you have just given him K200, you go round the corner and on your return, you see him licking ice cream. He needed, so you thought, to have bought mgaiwa. To your chagrin, he didnâ€™t. This is happening when you, the donor, had to shed sweat and blood to get the K200. So, being human, you resolve that as long as that ice cream is being licked, you will never give the beggar any help that may be wasted. This was the story of the 7Q-ONE.
There were rumours that the jet was quietly sold. When I heard this, I was planning to ask the then president to explain how that jet was disposed off. The rumours were, now I know, malicious. The aircraft is the one President Joyce Banda used on her trip to South Africa and then to Liberia and back. My question is the same as was asked several months ago when Mutharika was alive. Will this aircraft be sold now and the money used to “buy medicines for our hospitals and fund the construction of rural primary schools?” Just because Bingu has died does not make the question irrelevant. In fact, because he died, the question is even more important.
I am writing this article having sneaked into Nigeria the first day of May 2012. Donâ€™t ask me how large my entourage is and whether I am meeting Prophet T.B. Joshua or president Goodluck Johnathan. These two Nigerians, so I am told, have become hot cakes for Malawian leaders or aspirants. One thing, however, about Nigeria and Lagos in particular is that this is the mother of all cities and countries south of the Sahara. For me, it is Nigerian movies in focus.
My trip to Nigeria in fact started off from Lilongwe the same day President Banda was coming from Liberia. I didnâ€™t know it was unsafe for the President if people like me stand at the Kamuzu International Airport main waving bay. The police prevented me from climbing up the waving bay, which I obliged. Downstairs, however, I saw Mr Henry Chibwana, secretary general of the all mighty Peoplesâ€™ Party. I remember the handshake from him seventeen years ago. I was graduating with a certificate in journalism at the Polytechnic. He was the principal then. Time changes all of us indeed.