Our leader of delegation, Abiti Joyce Befu, also popularly known as MG 66; the Grand Mufti Alhajj Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), the Most Paramount (MP) Native Authority Mandela, and I, Malawi’s only Mohashoi, are here in the Republic of Mangochi for our annual retreat and to laze in peace away from the New Year celebratory tintinnabulation that characterises Blantyre, the City graduating from Mediocrity, and Lilongwe, the Cashgate City.
We chose Mangochi because we like wading in the waters of this part of Lake Malawi and cavorting in the clean sand along its beaches. We also like Mangochi because unlike Mzimba, which verbally claims to be an independent kingdom within the Federal Republic of Malawi, Mangochi is an independent state in action. Mangochi has for decades openly and subtly taken on and defied the might of the Malawi Federal State. Evidence? Here, matola is practised openly. The traffic police know, see and encourage it. Roadblock police know, see and don’t discourage it.
Here vehicles with South African registration numbers ply the roads and conduct business. The traffic police, the MRA, yes the same MRA, and the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DTRSS), the issuers of the vehicle registration numbers and certificates of fitness (CoF) know, see and tolerate this. Maybe, the President and his wife do not see or tolerate this as they are whisked to and from the Chikoko Bay State House in Monkey Bay.
We have learnt that unlike Mzimba, Mangochi is feared by politicians not because of its chiefs, but for its huge and eager-to-vote population. Here, there is even a saying, nay, a warning that: ‘antagonise Mangochians and lose the next elections!’
We wanted to spend the night at Pamudzi Resort near Sunbird Nkopola but it was packed with moneyed holiday-makers. We went to another resort, but there, we were asked so many silly questions intimating that we were incapable of paying. Abiti and the MP Native Authority Mandela told the guard, in slow Chiyao, to go to deep smouldering hell and to tell his boss to thank heavens that our no-nonsense Ngwazis, Kamuzu Banda and Bingu wa Mutharika, are no longer with us. Otherwise, we would have already sent him packing back to Kerala and nationalised the resort. We finally settled for Mlangeni Holiday Resort. We did not regret our final choice.
Yesterday, we reflected hard on men and women, other than ourselves, that had positively moved Malawi in 2016. We searched for Malawians that had courageously stood for justice, promoted human rights and the truth. Among the truth tellers of 2016, we identified Nicholas Dausi, the newly appointed Minister of Information, Goodall Gondwe, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, and Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
These three men agree that Malawi has failed and that our economic, nutritional, gastronomic and development performance in 2016 was miserable and mediocre. The only difference is that Dausi and Gondwe blame our failures on natural disasters that befell us in early 2016, the dry spells that followed thereafter and Cashgate, which the government is dillydallying to fully prosecute.
Chakwera’s position is that we have failed because of lack of leadership from the State President, through traditional leaders, senior civil servants, right down to the ward councillor. We also nominated Chakwera for helping to pass the Access to Information (ATI) Bill, which President will soon sign into law because he values the will of the people of Malawi and their right to access enabling information.
However, we fell for Bon Kalindo, or Winiko as he is known in theatre circles. We agreed that without Bon Kalindo’s breaking away from his DPP colleagues’ lacklustre approach and mounting a daredevil red ‘semi-naked street march’ advocacy for the protection of Malawians with albinism, nothing would have been done, and no law would have been passed.
Prior to that the police were busy marching in Dedza, the President was slowly appealing to religious, traditional and cultural leaders to appeal for uMunthu and save our albino brothers and sisters. It was only Bon Kalindo who understood that cutthroat capitalism does not care about ethics and religious appeals. Kalindo leveraged his role as Member of Parliament for Mulanje South to ensure that he and his colleagues urgently passed the anti-albino killing law. So, it happened. Big up to Bon Kalindo, our Man of 2016.
Next week, we will unveil our woman of 2016. n