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Analysis

chilembwe-banknote

John Chilembwe features on most Malawian bank notes

THERE ARE many things – as a nation – that should, in normal circumstances, make us angry and be able to voice that anger until substantive and positive action is taken. But nothing ever appears sufficiently wrong for us to rise up and demand that those responsible for systematic oppression and deliberate under-development be taken to task.

Yes, there have occurrences in Malawi where people’s actions have led to change – political, social and economic. However, as a nation that is always in a state of continual becoming, we must always resist the temptation of feeding off past ‘glories’. At any point in our lives, there is a generation that must either fulfil its mandate, or betray it altogether, to paraphrase the revolutionary theorist, Frantz Fanon. Read More

SPARE A THOUGHT for the people who live under Traditional Authority Phambala, in Ntcheu. In December last year, hyenas in this area killed a woman. As if this was not enough, four children survived attacks, sustaining injuries and were scarred for life in the process. Livestock has not been spared as well. All this in a day’s work. spotted-hyena-kenya

Ntcheu has a reputation for hyena attacks. It would seem, however, that every single year, authorities appear unprepared to deal with such and inspire confidence by saving lives. That hyenas keep outsmarting humans for many years would be laughable (sic) were it not so tragic. Yes, there is only so much that can be done and casualties will always be likely but is enough being done to ensure that minimum standards of safety and security are met in such areas as T/A Phambala’s?

It would appear as if nothing is being done at all! Reports say the rangers who were deployed to deal with hyenas only lasted three days and went away. Apparently there was no money to keep the rangers in the area for longer. So, being the thinking and imaginative Malawians we are, what was the best solution? Remove the rangers and leave the people in the area exposed and vulnerable to attacks. What is one life lost, anyway?  Read More

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The Malawi flag at Independence

SO, we find ourselves in the midst of yet another scandal. Surprise! Surprise!

Malawians who still think scandal is an exception – not the rule – of our approach to governance need to wake up from their slumber. Since 1964, this country has been run primarily via scandal, and never in the best interests of the broad citizenry. How else should we account for the massive under-development that we have been subjected to by the series of governments we have survived since independence day?

We have been repeatedly subjected to governments bereft of imagination, sincerity and love. Instead, we have elected liars and nincompoop political upstarts, who are guided not by the demands of the flag but by their own avarice. As a result, the catalogue of failures this country has experienced are not as natural as we have been made to so easily believe.

In fact, one of the most blatant lies ever sold to Malawians by every government we have survived is that they have all governed – or are governing – with Malawians at heart. Sadly, this has been believed by many citizens and in doing so, we have internalised fear and poverty to a level where we cannot see or imagine a different state of affairs. Read More

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I REPEAT: as a nation, we are screwed!

That is to put it quite politely, of course. In the year that we turned 52, and graced the occasion with monstrous placards masquerading as billboards across the capital city, we revealed our collective lack of imagination as a people. That the eyesore was allowed to stand, sanctioned at both national and local government level, means we – as a people – have allowed themselves to be led into a worse-off state than we already occupy.

But, to have expected anything different is to live in a Malawian fantasy, where national pride and respect for independence are treasured traits. We live in a country where playing a game of cards with people’s lives will win you affection and accolades, not condemnation and punishment. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that this country can be plundered with impunity – no questions asked; no answers demanded; no accountability sought.

In Malawi, therefore, public office has become a gateway to self-enrichment, which is a source of power in itself and ultimately, a means to oppress poorer and powerless citizens. It is an abnormality that has been normalised primarily because of the abject poverty of both material and mind that plagues this country. Read More

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WITHOUT MANY people realising it, the world has been plunged into a raging Information war of epic magnitude. That we are not seeing jets flying, tanks invading countries and missiles fired does not mean nothing is going on. It took one of the world’s biggest powers, the United States of America (USA) to bring the rest of the world closer to confronting a truth that has been lurking for a while now.

The US election last November yielded what some people describe as a ‘surprise’ outcome. But if you were really paying attention, the emergence of president-elect, Donald Trump, as victor is hardly a surprise. To pay attention, however, sometimes requires that you do not pay attention to certain things as well. And, when it comes to Media – mainstream media especially – paying less attention has profound merit.

To his credit, Trump understood this point very well and made sure it was central to how he ran his campaign. He not only cast aspersions on mainstream broadcast media like Cable News Network (CNN) and print media like The New York Times, but he went further to directly tell these media exactly what he thought of them – lapdogs being stroked by their masters (The Establishment) so that no change happens, and millions of Americans continue to be disenfranchised. Read More

IN 2000, when I turned 16 and was now eligible to travel on my own passport, I decided to apply for one. By this time, I had already been in and out of Malawi on several occasions, on either of my parents’ passports. You can understand my excitement at the thought of owning this document – the prestige among peers, the satisfaction of presenting it to border authorities and of course, the occasion to relish various immigration stamps and the memories they come with.

As it turned out, however, it was not as easy as it seemed. There were a number of significant obstacles that stood in my way. Read More

za7danc

AFRICA’S OLDEST political party, the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, is going through a tough time. As the party approaches its 105th birthday next month, you can say such times are to be expected. Of those impressive 105 years, the ANC has only spent 22 years in power, meaning for the greater part of its life, the party has been engaged in the active fight for freedom. Naturally, therefore, the party can be forgiven for showing signs of fatigue, having been worn off by an oppressive apartheid regime.

But that is not the case. Read More