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Continued from last week

The epic failure by president Mutharika’s government to release information about his whereabouts while in the US point to the poverty of mind with which successive governments in Malawi have been run. It seems we have remained stuck in the 1964 time-warp, where the government is supposed to be a feared institution, with citizens playing a subservient role in it.

This is very unfortunate and Malawians have to take the blame for allowing this to happen to them. Ordinarily, governments are supposed to be at the service of the people, not the other way around. We do not exist for purposes of stroking the ego of the government. On the contrary, any serious government ought to ensure that it meets the expectations of its citizens by being accountable to them. Doing this is not a favour, it is the ultimate duty of a government towards its citizens. Read More

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A woman sells groundnuts as an entrepreneurial means to support her familly. Blantyre, May 2015. – Thoko Chikondi

THREE WEEKS before my third birthday, in 1987, then Burkina Faso leader, Captain Thomas Sankara delivered a speech on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Several thousands of women from all walks of Burkinabe life gathered to listen to the speech and many more accessed it across various media. As a man himself, the irony of the occasion was not lost to Sankara.

“It is not an everyday occurrence for a man to speak to so many women at once,” he began by saying, adding: “Nor does it happen every day that a man suggests to so many women new battles to be joined.”

It is in a similar context of thinking that I frame this entry this week. “A man,” Sankara further says, “experiences his first bashfulness the minute he becomes conscious he is looking at a woman. So, sisters, you will understand that despite the joy and pleasure it gives me to be speaking to you, I still remain a man who sees in every one of you a mother, a sister, or a wife.” Read More

Rhythmic Revolution: Captain Sankara on his guitar, one of the few things he owned

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