Since it was demarcated, Malawi’s territory has not gained even a single square millimetre. Some people even argue that actually Nyasaland, as Malawi was known then, surrendered some territory to our north eastern neighbours because Nyasaland’s border with German East Africa (comprising today’s Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania) was at Mbeya.
Neither Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66; nor the Most Paramount Native Authority Mzee Mandela; nor Alhajj Mufti Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD); nor Nganga Maigwaigwa, PSC (RTD), nor I, the Mohashoi, am qualified enough to engage anyone in definitive territorialism parlance.
However, so we hear, the Ngwazi, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda often quietened our North Eastern Neighbours by reminding them about Malawi’s historical claim to Tanzanian territory each time Raisi Mzee Julius Kambarage Nyerere, baba wa Taifa ya Tanzania, opened his mouth, personally or through his proxies, to claim any part of Lake Malawi.
While our territory has not adjusted, our population has done so exponentially. We know that there is strength in numbers, but we are really worried about Malawi’s unstoppable population boom.
We stopped believing in Malawi’s statisticians since they last lied that over six million Malawians would starve to death if Petit Kahuna administration did not import maize from Zambia to sell or freely distribute. We know they lied because although some maize was bought, none was distributed or sold and no one starved to death. Now we know why they doctored the statistics: to pressure this federal republic into the maize deal. Nkhuku zimatsata pamene okukonola mphale. Translation? Forget it.
Nevertheless, we still give Malawi’s statisticians the benefit of the doubt. We still respect them because what they say, fake or real, matters. What they say becomes official and drives national and international policy. We are called the poorest country in the world today because statisticians want us to be called so.
Today we request them thus: If they know that they are not telling the truth about our population, let them revise their data and tell the world how many we really are. Official data, from the Nyasaland government archives to online population calculators, indicate that our population has skyrocketed from just 737 000 in 1901 to four million in 1966 to 14 million in 2000 and to 18 million in 2017. And it is projected to hit 50 million in 2050! Is this real?
Last week, we went to bury Antony, an acquaintance we had met two years earlier at Chileka Lodge in Lilongwe, in his village located over 100 kilometres east of Milanje in Mozambique. After burial, Jean-Philippe asked Antony’s brother, an educated-looking man who had travelled all the way from his official job in Maputo to attend the funeral, why Antony lied to us all along that he was a Malawian from Muloza in Mulanje.
“Does it matter?” Joachim, Antony’s brother, wondered in Portuguese-laced English.
“It does. He lied,” Jean-Philippe said.
“Well, did Antonio’s presence in Malawi change anything?”
“It did. How many Antonys prey on Malawi’s resources?” Nganga Maigwaigwa responded.
“Did you show your passport at the Muloza border?” Joachim went on.
“No, we got a border pass!”Nganga responded.
“You see. We are one people. Mozambicans vote, eat, work, and get treated in Malawi. Malawians vote, eat, work, and get treated in Mozambique. ”
“Are you not saying anything?” Jean-Philippe asked, fixing his gaze on me.
“No comment,” I said.
“Have you ever wondered where all the millions of Malawians live?”Joachim asked.