Malawi might have graduated from one party rule to multiparty democracy, but artworks and chronicles of the 47-year independence era keep bombarding eyes with leaders trashing their predecessor as lords of wasted decades.
Typical of this crossfire, the incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika blames his forerunner Bakili Muluzi of presiding over a decade of massive corruption and underdevelopment just like the former president used to fault liberation president Dr Kamuzu Banda for objectifying women into his praise singers; youth leaguers and the paramilitary Malawi Young Pioneer for terrorising the people and condoning a reign of terror in an effort to instil the waning cornerstones: unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline.
In the shadow of Banda’s autocratic rule, it appears there is nothing good to write about, let alone going public with. This is wrong, very wrong -if not petty mudslinging.
While a myriad of dramatists are scavenging on street talk about the current political insanity in the country just to gain popularity, comedian Michael Usi has gone back in history to show the country has a lot to learn from its despised past.
On Monday, the comic star behind Manganya trademark said he is taking the cast of the satire Loto la Farao back on stage in his latest release, Kale, which combines traditional dances and drama to show our past is not rotten as it is often depicted.
“This is not a political play, but a reminder. Reflecting on the past enables us to restructure the present and plan for the future.Ã‚Â If we are looking for faults, we will find plenty of them. But instead of being derailed by distasteful bygones, Kale urges us to concentrate on positives because they motivate us to face the future with confidence,” explained the playwright, who was once quoted in the media as being approached by both Mutharika’s rulingÃ‚Â Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Muluzi’sÃ‚Â United Democratic Front (UDF)and Kamuzu’s Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The upcoming play is based on an open day which brings 50 members of party women guilds -including MCP’s Mbumba za Kamuzu, DPP’s Amayi a Bingu and UDF’s Lyolyolyo crew -together as Malawians. Typically, the gathering is characterised by dances, party colours and security agents as MCP’s youth wings.
The playwright denies that he is using theatre to wedge his way into MCP politics despite waxing lyrical about the party’s founding president both in his individual capacity and in the play.
He explained: “I don’t have any ambition to join MCP or any other party. Even if I have close links with politicians from all major parties in the country, I am not a politician and I don’t wish to become one.
“I am only an avid supporter of Dr Banda, whom many people despise as dictator. I believe he was the biggest democrat because he allowed the  referendum to happen and was quick to accept the results when Malawians elected Muluzi.”
He reckons Kale is a befitting tribute to the fallen leader, saying it will give the “born-frees” Ã¢â‚¬â€the youthÃ¢â‚¬â€a chance to have a feel of his mannerisms and leadership style.
The play was scheduled to premiere on February 5.
However, Usi says it has been shelved because he is not part of artists that are pouncing on the deteriorating political climate to make a name and a dime.