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Tag Archives: Independence

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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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

Whenever I think about the young people in Malawi, two incidents that mirror the state of Malawian youths come to mind. Both are not pretty. One is the killing of Epiphania Bonjesi and the other is how, during election periods, young people drench themselves in paint, to reflect their political choices.

In 2004, nine year-old Epiphania was killed by – so we are made to believe – a stray bullet during a police altercation with protesters following the announcement of election results. Over the years, the memory of this girl has been relegated to the dustbin, never to be remembered again.

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The Malawi flag at Independence. Is the sun rising on the young people who are in majority?

Epiphania had a dream. She would have been twenty-one this year and only God knows what sort of girl she would have turned out to be and what sort of dreams she would have nurtured along the way. Yet, that dream went down with that bullet, violently shattering her hopes, dreams and aspirations. That this was caused by men and women who swore to protect and serve her is, perhaps, much more painful than the bullet itself.

More significantly, Epiphania would have had the opportunity to vote – for the very first time in her life – in the 2014 tripartite elections. To think of what opportunities have been lost to this girl, and to her family is heart-breaking. Hers is a death that could have been avoided, it’s a loss that was unnecessary and it is something that this country should be ashamed of having witnessed. Read More

THE MALAWI Congress Party (MCP) needs to grow up and get a life! At over 50 years old, this is an institution that should be demonstrating political maturity and providing the much-needed leadership in strengthening our political parties. Instead, the MCP has once again showed us that it is not capable of living up to its reputation as the oldest political establishment in Malawi.

This is regrettable.

MCP Party Symbol

MCP Party Symbol

It is undeniable that the party is a strong part of the history of this nation and has its own legacy. However, in the last fifty years, the party has gone through so much transformation that has culminated, unfortunately, in a severely weakened structure, an unclear vision and a dwindling support base, whose evidence is the dismal performances in the last few elections, notwithstanding 2014.

Most episodes of factional battles that have occurred in the party have been circus-like more than they have been tragic. Through all of this, we have been exposed to rather frivolous and dangerous trends in our politics that have seen broken relationships, missed opportunities, the stifling of genuine and robust debate and the conspicuous lack of a sense of goodwill within and between political parties. 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.

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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

TO UNDERSTAND the crisis of public leadership in Malawi, you have to look no further than Grace ‘Obama’ Chiumia, a cabinet minister whose open mouth and shut mind perfectly encapsulate the malaise afflicting Malawi.

In July 2014, the month of our golden jubilee as a nation, this minister urged young sports persons in the country to adopt the names of world-famous superstars as a way of bringing sporting success to Malawi. In the same breath, she mentioned that her adoption of US president, Barack Hussein Obama’s surname had brought her much success in politics. She equated herself to the real Obama!

“If you adopt names of famous tennis players such as Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal, you will succeed in this particular sport discipline just like them. Try it!” she advised, with no sense of irony or shame at all.

And, just when one thought Chiumia could not get any dumber, outdo herself and sink even lower to reveal just how much of an airhead she is, another bombshell was dropped this past week with her invoking Malawi’s painful past of the life presidency. Read More

 

As a nation, we are screwed.

The boards we put at traffic intersections to commemorate the occasion of our 52nd 2016-07-11-PHOTO-00000501independence anniversary do justice to the state of our nation. Due credit must be given to all the brains that are behind these notice boards masquerading as billboards. Everyone who was involved in this project perfectly represents each and every single Malawian, at home and abroad.

 

In short, those notice boards capture the sum total of our imagination as a country. If, 52 years after independence, that is the kind of image you want the country to be associated with, then you should be patting yourself for a job well-executed. Surely, we have outdone other independence anniversary commemorations – and those were not our best times either. Let’s take a moment to reflect and imagine how we arrived at this most embarrassing point.

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