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Tag Archives: Citizenship

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

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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

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