Mission accomplished. At Area 30, as the Police Headquarters are called, we delivered our petition for a delivery of an operations vehicle to Sharpe Valley Police Station. Additionally, we handed in a letter from the people of Chintheche who are appealing for police protection against killings and midnight abductions there. We hope Inspector General Jose will dispatch an operations vehicle to Chintheche, too.
At Parliament, we delivered the Centre for Social Concern study findings that clearly explain why Malawians deserve a minimum wage of K200 000 per month.
After fulfilling our main assignment, we decided to visit friends, acquaintances and fiends located here in Cashgate City, as our Capital City has come to be aliased.
People here work extremely hard to make ends meet. As they work in their offices, civil servants pay people to work in their maize and vegetable gardens and run kaunjika underwear businesses just to make ends meet. They spend three quarters of the time on WhatsApp and over the phone issuing instructions to their business foot soldiers.
The minibus touts shout themselves hoarse all day, just to make ends meet. The prostitutes hop from one joint to another selling their erotic capital products, just to make ends meet. Beggars stand at every vintage point, palms extended and eyes closed all day, just to make ends meet. Petty thieves work all day and night to pounce on anyone whose security is lapse. Traffic police officers work from dawn to dusk, checking vehicles for road worthiness and issuing fake general receipts to errant drivers, just to make ends meet. Car sellers spend the whole day in their vehicles hoping against hope for that occasional customer, just to make ends meet. In-car robbers and carjackers spend the whole day chiselling out car keys hoping against hope that one day one car will open and they will empty that car of its contents, just to make ends meet.
What happens in Lilongwe takes place in almost every city in the world except, of course, in Shariah cities and Kigali where Kagame’s shoot-to-kill approach has paid dividends.
We found one of our friends, Serpentino at a relatively posh restaurant located about five kilometres along the Lilongwe-Mchinji highway.
“Welcome,” Serpentino greeted us as we pulled chairs to sit at the table he and three young women shared. They were dressed to be killed: miniskirts, see-through blouses that revealed the full map of the torso, platform sandals, layer one, layer two and face filler on foundation, and eyelids shaded in Malawi flag colours.
“You see,” Serpentino started, “I have been telling these girls that what some disgruntled people in the party are doing won’t take them far…”
“And what’s this party?” Jean-Philippe asked.
“The DPP, of course,” Seperntino said. “It is the only party, after all. Others are just mere social networks and clubs.”
“Even the MCP?” Nganga asked.
“Yes,” Serpentino answered sharply.
“And what won’t take them far?” Jean-Philippe asked again.
“The DPP brought in someone who had just been fired from his job and made him APM’s running mate…”
“Allegedly laid off….” I intervened.
“Ok. Allegedly fired…” Serpentino said.
“And who is APM?” Jean-Philippe asked.
“Apita. You don’t know him?” Abiti wondered.
“Go ahead,” Nganga urged.
“This ‘baby’ and his baby-like supporters think that they can stage a ‘coup de presidence’ and take over the party just like that? They believe because they have not dipped enough into the State gravy train as they expected, they can use age as a reason to stand in the way of a serving president who has the support of the grassroots?” Serpentino paused, anticipating a comment.
“Go ahead,” I said.
“It would appear that the very people we entrust with making laws are the first to break them. In this country, every adult of sound mind and money can run as president as long as he or she has gone past the 35th birthday. APM says he will run. Why are the babies trying to stop him? Why don’t they leave the party and form their own social network?”
“In fact, age has nothing to do with delivery,” Nganga said.
“Some of the best political leaders in the world were elected when they were already past 70 years. Ronald Reagan and Nelson Mandela are two shining examples. In Zimbabwe Emerson Mnangagwa is 75 and he is running for election for the first time. In Nigeria General Buhari is 75 but he is running again next year. In the Vatican, the current Pope was elected aged 76. In Malaysia, Mahattir Mohamad has just been re-elected as prime minister at 92 years,” I said.
“And that’s why we now support Peter Mutharika. He will stand. If the other parties are strong, let them win. But we cannot afford discriminating against any person on account of age. The ‘babies’ must read Section 20 of the Constitution of this country very carefully,” challenged Serpentino.