Let me start by saying that those people who are against the State President distributing maize but would rather see people starve are inhumane and inhuman. There is hunger and starvation and gnashing of teeth in this country that every little help that can come one’s way must be appreciated. Let me also say that I support those who are against the President personally distributing the food. As a symbolic gesture, this was okay for once but not to make a habit out of it. What has turned out is a politician who wanted to earn political mileage from unassuming and hapless people in the name of being the Chief Helper, if not the Messiah. Let the maize and flour flow, but not get whole principal secretaries and presidents carry sacks of flour.
The question as to where this flour is coming from is particularly pivotal and at the centre of what makes a corrupt society compared to a sane one. Let me also state that I do not believe what the President says when she says that she will not abandon the suffering masses and will distribute maize flour to them until they harvest. I do not know why but I doubt that she will be revisiting all those villages and townships for a second round of maize distribution and to the same people. If you did not have maize or flour in October, you may not have the flour in January, and until you harvest, you will need support.
Allow me to move to what I saw and talked with people when I visited Chendausiku in Balaka on the day the President was in that district. The President has been to this district more than twice since she assumed office as president of this great republic. At Chendausiku Primary School, across the road, I witnessed the longest water queue I have ever seen in the forty years I have been on the face of the earth. Water in this area is particularly a problem. Now the women are the key water drawers and in Balaka at Chendausiku, they are spending several hours just to get some 20 litres or so. What is the solution to this problem? Is it the Member of Parliament, the district commissioner or who?
As I walked the road at Chendausiku, I also saw very large rocks on the road. It looked awkward that such rocks could find themselves there. When I asked about what all this meant, this is when I heard that it must be the works of a Mr Maseko. I asked who this Mr Maseko was? I learned then that Mr Maseko was a person who had a mental problem and lives at Chendausiku. He puts boulders on the roads and behaves in abnormal ways because of his mental problems. I did not have the tools to get Mr Maseko to treatment at Zomba Mental Hospital. But I think about him and wish the DC or someone at the boma could help Mr Maseko.
By the way, the water tap that I mention often at Sanjika is still leaking. Drip, drip, drop, there goes British budgetary support!