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.
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
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
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
These boards were laid across the capital city, Lilongwe, to commemorate the 52nd Independence anniversary. The mediocrity on display could not anger many Malawians who accepted them without question.
OF LATE, it has been disheartening to interact with people from the homeland. The sadness punctuating every sentence spoken and the weight of hope at the end of every conversation often becomes too difficult to bear. It is yet another legacy added to the catalogue of failures Malawi is bestowing on her people.
The national soul has been repeatedly violated and tortured by a governance system which always conspires to undermine the confidence of the people it’s meant to serve. This repeated assault on the national soul, occurring over many years and streamlined through our shallow politics, has frighteningly dislodged our sense of alertness as a people.
As a painful result, most Malawians have ended up without any kind of expectation, idea and intimate association with their citizenship. What does it mean to be Malawian? What duty do we have, the whole lot of us, towards negotiating our scarred past, an utterly confused present and an uncertain future?
There are many things that should, in normal circumstances, make us angry and be able to voice that anger until substantive positive action is taken. But nothing ever appears sufficiently wrong for us to rise up and demand that those responsible for the systematic oppression and deliberate under-development in Malawi are taken to task. Read More
The world’s first self-driving taxi service was recently launched in Singapore. Here is an abridged version of how The Guardian (international) reported on this world-first.
A nuTonomy car vehicle. Photo-credit: Yong Teck Lim/AP.
“The world’s first “self-driving” taxi service has been launched in Singapore – albeit with a human backup driver and co-pilot on board for the time being.
While multiple companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for several years, nuTonomy said it would be the first to offer rides to the public, beating Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, by a few weeks.
The service would start with six cars, growing to a dozen by the end of the year, said nuTonomy, adding that it aimed to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018. Read More
Rhythmic Revolution: Captain Sankara on his guitar, one of the few things he owned
EARLIER THIS month, the people of Burkina Faso celebrated the anniversary of the August 4 Revolution that brought Captain Thomas Sankara into power. Given recent developments in the country – the ouster of long-ruling president, Blaise Compaore – and subsequent attempts at destabilising the transition government, the occasion was marked with great reflection.
The memory of Sankara is not only for the Burkinabe to hold. As a committed pan-African, Sankara’s contributions towards the shaping of African consciousness are not only enormous, but they have also stood the test of time. From renaming Upper Volta to Burkina Faso – Land of the Upright People – to challenging practices of post-colonial States in relation to the colonising presence, Sankara set a solid and futuristic framework for thinking about governance and development. And, he was not just about the talk!
“We must make every effort to see that our actions live up to our words and be vigilant with regards to our social behaviour so as not to lay ourselves open to attack by counter-revolutionaries lying in wait. If we always keep in mind that the interests of the masses take precedence over our personal interests, then we will avoid going off course,” once thundered Sankara. Read More