We, Abiti Joyce Befu, also known as MG 66, the Most Paramount (MP) Native Authority Mandela, Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), and I, the Mohashoi, spent our Independence Day and Eid Ul Fitr Holidays in Vila Ulongwe, Angonia, Mozambique. We were there principally because we didn’t want to irk the Malawi government by mounting huge celebrations on Tuesday July 6 when the government could not afford to provide even a Fantakoko or bwanoni to its starving soil and grasshopper eating citizens.
Further, we did not want to anger our Muslim brothers and sisters with our planned Drink and Pork Party (DPP) on July 7 because Muslims were celebrating the end of Ramadan.
Of course, the decision to relocate to Mozambique for the two days was not arrived at quickly and amicably. Sheikh Jean-Philippe, in particular, saw no merit in us leaving our brothers and cousins thirsty at Kandeu, the headquarters of Traditional Authority Ganya, in Ntcheu while we ate and drank ourselves until we could rise and walk no more. He had argued that it would have been better for us to stay in Kandeu and starve with the rest of the people there.
“Umunthu should mean more than wise words inherited from ancestors. It means working together, succeeding together and suffering together,” Jean-Philippe said punching his right fist in his left palm.
“Actually, umunthu is a bad and antidevelopment philosophy,” Abiti said.
“Why? This is a philosophy espoused even by the Great Nelson Mandela,” Jean-Philippe said, arms akimbo.
“Well. I, Abiti Dr Joyce Befu, MG 66, do I hereby swear that I will fight for myself first, my family second, my relatives third, my community fourth and my country last. I will never subscribe to any communist philosophy that makes some work hard and others eat without dropping even a single bead of sweat.”
“Stinking capitalist!” Jean-Philippe shouted.
“Stop talking like lawyers. In short, what are you saying?” MP Native Authority Mandela quizzed.
“Let’s go where we can have fun and stop talking about suffering together with….eh? We can go to Vila Ulongwe in Mozambique where people are not mired in deficit thinking and poverty.”
So, we agreed to leave. When we got to Vila Ulongwe, we went straight to Banca de Vinho. Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe asked for a plate of pork and a cervaja while MG 66, MP Native Authority Mandela and I each settled for a packet of Vinho de Nampula.
“Your country is funny,” the owner of the Banca de Vinho started.
“Meaning?” I asked.
“Well. Year after year Malawians complain about food shortages. You have fertile farmland and yet you don’t seem to care to use it properly. Instead of working hard you spend time praying hard for miracles in the 21st century!” You buy fertiliser and it is stolen. You buy tractors for farming and you steal them or sell them off. Elections come and you still vote for same people! Yet you expect your lot to improve. Forget!”
Jean-Phillippe, Abiti and MP Native Authority Mandela laughed. I did not because I was not amused.
“Nobody says the tractors were stolen. People in Malawi are asking why the tractors were sold off instead being used for mechanising agricultural production,” I said.
“I see,” the owner of the Banca de Vinho sighed, “and why is your Ombudsman investigating the issue if the tractors were not stolen?”
“To establish what really happened and who presided over the decision to sell the tractors,” I answered.
“And why are your so-called big parties, particularly the MCP, not interested in the issue?”