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Monday, November 10, 2014

Ebola: The moral story in International relations

The World Health Organisation has declared stabilization of Ebola cases in West Africa, specifically in Liberia. The release stated "Case incidence is declining in some districts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while steep rises persist in other districts," There are nearly 5,000 reported deaths. The WHO said that more than 4,960 people have died of Ebola, mostly in the three African countries worst-hit by the outbreak. It added that over 13,200 cases of Ebola have been reported in the West African states. What has changed the course of Ebola? The realities that Ebola could spread to the Western World, has seen the most frantic efforts outside terrorism for the World to tackle a health crisis in recent months. Just a month ago, Ebola, seemed like an African problem with each dipping a little something to help the poor Africans to get along. Until the cases were reported in the United States, Spain and now even in Ireland. The cases appeared to have gone all the way to Australia and threatened to collapse the aviation sector which is still trying to find its feet. By 1st September, 2014, Philanthropist Bill Gates had given more than many Western Governments in tackling Ebola. International emergency response organisations such as the Medicines San Frontiers and the Red Cross were reporting crisis level approach to handling of the cases, nobody, paid attention. The month of October reported cases in the Western World has acted as a reactor for the required response from the World self appointed moral leaders. They do preach peace, against nuclear armament, human rights and many other critical issues, whose voice and opinion matters. However Ebola has revealed that moral leadership is what is lacking in tackling global health issues. Perhaps more especially when it affects the poor nations. The hypocrisy of asking poor countries to respect human rights even at the extent of cutting aid, has been glaringly exposed with the Ebola response, allowing the loss of human life, a basic human right just because they are poor, too poor to afford sanitation and getting infected by the Ebola virus. The global response, coming only after the spread of the virus into the West, reminds many of us of the problem of the many killer diseases that the world, especially the moral leaders who scream human rights in the context of personal liberties or political freedoms at the expense of other basic rights such as a right to life, that are yet to be tackled but have been neglected since the essential affect the poorest of the poor, or the bottom billion. Ebola, since it was discovered by Peter Piot, nobody has paid attention to developing treatment or vaccine. Experiments were being conducted at a snails pace that, the only first batch of vaccines are said to be underway and might be only available around mid 2015. The same has been said of why there is no malaria vaccine, one of the number one killers in developing countries. The reason one scientist told me at a health conference, is the cost of research is high and African countries where the problem is endemic cannot afford them. Its a risky business. He said treatment drug research had already recovered most of the costs and it was cheaper and profitable to treat the disease than stop it through vaccine as it would affect the companies that are making a killing from the millions of episodes of malaria that countries like Malawi alone records. Prof. Paul Farmer of Partners In Health was among the sole voices that spoke of the need to treat Extremely Drug Resistant Tuberculosis when it broke in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. He said today's world of travel and connectivity is an illusion for anyone to isolate infectious diseases as a problem of one particular geographic location. The reality is that one travel in plane from Durban to New York, as Ebola has demonstrated can become a global health crisis. No problem in this age and era, should be left based on the basis of their financial status, as those with adequate healthcare can easily catch up with similar challenges. To be honest, it is not a question of moral obligation, Africa and much of the poor countries have made a fair contribution to the global development agenda. They have contributed with human life from slave trade to periods of colonization to actual mineral resources. The consequence of poor nations remaining where they are is the ownership of their own resources, poor leadership and the imbalance of trade and many restrictions that the poorest of the poor have to accessing proper and well compensating market and skills. Dealing with health issues, is beyond a moral obligation, it is supposed to be rightly an issue of global politics, just as terrorism or the push for the best deal with Ukraine between the West and the East. The Ebola crisis has proven that with adequate resources and a united approach, any health challenge can be tackled, quickly and effectively. We can all learn lessons from this debacle and perhaps as we set the new development goals for post 2015 start to seriously consider targets to some of the remaining health challenges that can easily be removed from the global health agenda in the next decade also. Ebola has shown us that globalization, means we sink or rise together. No more diseases or issues for the poorest of the poor.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

so far released

here are all cashgate documents

Proper analysis for cashgate

Will be processed by 7 am Malawi time with whoever is involved and what happened. The documents are just too many.

The Cashgate web_ the links between payers, paid and beneficieries

The cashgate web. Down load the link and post in your browser and it will take you to where the web of beneficieries: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cdX3Qo5-qDQHGc02EVTLxYyiOODQ9wGPpRkRtRvLZ9M/edit?usp=sharing

The Cashgate Report

Access the names and payments recieved. Some were not able to cash. Copy the link and put it in your browser it will take you to the actual Excel file. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12NmFsO1R_Dnx3u6Mj-n06Wm4pJgXxHjBzGn0CCxdfUk/edit?usp=sharing

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Adios amigo, adios Dennis Atcheya Chirwa- one day we will meet again

Adios amigo, adios my friend
The road we have travelled has come to an end
When two love the same love, one love has to lose
And it's you who she longs for, it's you she will choose 

Adios compadre, what must be must be
Remember to name one muchacho for me 
I ride to the rio where my life i must spend
Adios amigo, adios my friend 

Adios compadre, let us shed no tears
May all your maƱanas bring joy through the years
away from these memories my life i must spend
adios amigo adios my friend.-by Jim Reeves


When we thought we got it right in our life journey, death bites hard and takes away one of our own. We were four, in 2001, Chiletso Shati then having a shop in area 18A, introduced me to a friend, who instantly turned into a brother Aubrey Kalino. Aubrey one day brought along  friend, Denis Chirwa, who would years later follow me into Journalism and become one of the closest sparing critic in everything I did. Limbikani Nzungu Chisi moved to Lilongwe, the boshitia gang was born. Boshitia is a Mozambican hit, nobody but Nzungu can tell its singer, Denis was the pilot of the group, I was the one one sitting in front and Aubrey was the story teller. We traveled all corners of Malawi, we planned all sorts of things. But Denis, among us had one unique character, he would be the most argumentative, more than Nzungu when high, but he will be the peacemaker with everyone.
He never left a friend, even if they had quarreled. He would argue, argue and argue, then remark in his idol Bakili Muluzi's voice "Mumaona Atcheya Amatekeseka" then take a long sip of his carlsberg green, and go on to the dance floor, in his jacket and dance. After his dance, he would order all of us home, that his BCA Hill Jnr should not be left empty.
In the morning, he will be the first up, drive to my place, let himself in and drink anything he found. As if nothing happened, as if there was no argument, if you brought it up he will tell you, "za dzulo Atcheya amwela dzulo, lero ndi tsiku lina". He imparted that bond, that no matter what happened or argued on, you should wake up a different person the next day.
Many knew him for his strong criticism of any Government of Malawi, many wondered if he had lost his head, many wondered why he admired Former President Bakili Muluzi than any other politician. The politician whom we named him after- Denis, became our Atcheya. He became the symbol of boldness amid chaos.
I write far away, wondering what is going on with his spirit. What is happening to this bold brother of mine, all alone, killed like a dog in a foreign land, looking and crying over the spilled blood. The blood now on You Tube, died a painful death. I hope I can provide answers to what he lived for and what he did for the 14 years, we became good friends, workmates and brothers.
We were four, now we are three. May the soul of Atcheya look upon and protect us.
Denis, never wanted to be a journalist. But since 2001, when I was covering local Government elections for the Nation, he offered to drive me around. His daddy, now my Uncle Brigadier Marcel R.D Chirwa, loved his first born son more, he gave him a Toyota Corrola at the age of 17. It would be our feature of transport for fun or work.
We covered the elections, he took my notes, or brought to my attention anything that I had missed. We spoke and argued about parties and when Limbikani Chisi, then an engineer moved to Lilongwe, politics was the main subject, that Aubrey always shouted at us to find better topic.
In 2008, he applied, without any qualification to the Malawi Electoral Commission as a stringer. He was picked, he called me and told me "I will be your driver and you will tell me how you spot news" I took it as a normal project.
We literally travelled wide and far, thats when the fascination with President Bakili Muluzi started. He believed Muluzi presented both politics of the past, but more importantly what he called "human politics."
Every time we covered a presidential rally, Denis would come to MBC area with his MEC badge just to check what President Muluzi was wearing and which jokes he would through. He always thought Dr. Muluzi was a human first and a President later. He bought jackets and wrist watches that matched Muluzi's and spoke and joked about him everyday.
When his father was arrested, he was furious and dared even Police officers who were refusing us entrance to court, he said all these are Brigadiers sons, they will go in and write what this stupidity is all about.
He loved and adored his father. We spoke at length why he never wanted to be a soldier like him, he said my mind I would not be a disciplined soldier. He had company of soldiers whom he called friends.
He loved and adored his mother. He would speak of her hours end. When he lived in Blantyre at Chimwankhunda, he only had one fear- I dont know what would do if my mother died. He feared her, never even wanted to sleep out, but sneak in. I cant face Denis's mother today and not any time soon.
He adored and loved his mother Tamara, they became buddies and more often driving around together. Whilst in Kenya, he told me where they went, what they were doing. A bond so rare.
The he adored his sisters Felistas was his best friend than a Sister, dragging us to see her. We knew Marion and Mtisunge before we met them. Claudia was an angel in Denis words. He would stop everything, even his favourate drink would be second if any of the sisters called, he would walk away at a distance to speak to them. He would come back beaming "Atcheya monga mwini mbumba was being consulted." He planned their weddings, spoke about it and wanted the best out of them.
Then there is Pacharo Marcel, his brother he loved and protected. He admired and openly expressed his emotion. Very rare would Atcheya speak about emotions, even the "First Ladies" at each time, would rarely be a subject of discussion, always ending with I give them enough attention. But Pacharo was his world. When he went into the Army, he spoke everyday about him, he planned his pass-out more than his graduation. Pacharo's return into the military was a triumph for Denis personally, a soldier was in the house. On the pass-out, though I was out of the country, he sent me a picture of himself, the retired brigadier and the young-man, telling me "osaopa" we have conquered. No words can heal the pain his brother will forever fill.
Then there are other two people Malumbo he called My elder brother and fighting partner, they argued fought, but anything happened, he called him first and also Ralph whom he said, "I want to get better and write something about his skills."
Despite his well-to-do status at any point, he gave priority to his friends. The stories are abound about his driver-like attitude at MEC as a stringer in 2004, Democratus where he picked everybody and even at Capital Radio, where he enjoyed radio more than any other place.
If you asked him his dream, he said meeting Atcheya and having a cup of tea, Ooh Yes, we will be two Tcheyas in on room. 
Apart from his criticism to any work you did, he was an advisor to the gang. When I moved to the Office of Vice President, he gave me three months to survive, when I told him I was moving out of the office- he laughed as said "I told you, cant work with politicians, it needs boot looking and pretenders. You cant fit in, come to BCA jnr tizawotche mbuzi." When we gathered at BCA Jnr, he never raised the issue, he said that is gone, forget you worked there, lets find something to do.
He hosted a barbecue when he was about to leave for Kenya, within a short time he had been in Area 25C, everyone around him knew about BCA Jnr and himself as an organiser and his skills.
Politics, he never supported any party- he would tell you the good and bad things about each party and why nobody among the gang should join politics, saying "Ndizabwera mmakwanu kuzakusamutsani mukalowa ndale." He sounded very political on social media, but he never wanted to join anybody. He said it was the easiest way to destruction.
Last Friday we spoke about a death of his closer friend, I called him, he was defiant as usual, we agreed in December we will be in Malawi, we will roast mbuzi which I had run away. After his degree he will come to London and stay and look for post graduate opportunities. We should he said, go back to Balaka and see what we saw that night. We should go back to Salima and dance on top of those boats again. He said we should make sure we record videos of eevrybody dancing. On Saturday, his last day on earth he wrote inbox "You dont like football, Tcheya akunyamuka kukaonela mpira, tilankhulana mawa". The tomorrow that will never come.
I have left out deliberately his amazing part of life- Denis liked reading on human life and freedoms. He read Martin Luther King Jnr. He knew everything about it. He said "the great die young".
He seemed to have prepared for his death. He took photos of all of his family a week ago and put them together on his war. His last profile page.
He took pictures of all of us, his gang at wrong places and times, and in-boxed us. We went berserk that he was keeping the photos, we laughed and joked about those days. Before he died, he found time to remind us the bond we shared, the good times we took for granted. More important he brought us together again.
My family of the Chirwa's, the loss is not bearable. To my brothers of the gang, Tcheya will always linger around, huge and larger than in our past when we thought he will be forever somewhere and we will meet again.
All alone, he was stabbed and killed from behind, nobody could face this courageous from front. He travelled today alone in a box. He said when he died everyone including foreign media will write about him. Tragic as it has been, it has been true to his word.
Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up and understand this bad dream.
Perhaps when I see his grave one day, closure will come.
Perhaps there is a reason his life has been short, his departure brutal
Perhaps he was an angel, who came to teach us something we never knew
Perhaps very soon, we will join him and roast heavenly goat
Everything is in doubt, but I am sure he looks down smiling, wanting us to forget the pain, and live as if nothing happened.
Quoting his hero MARTIN LUTHER KING, Free at Last, Thank God Denis Atcheya is Free at Last.

Adios amigo, adios my friend. You will forever live in our hearts!
The pain of loosing you is eased by knowing that one day we will meet again!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE5nLMzmja4


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Changing the way you look- the World is always falling around

If you asked people in the 1950's, the Africans specific, the World was falling around. The colonialists were supposed to go and the self-governing philosophy would entail development. It would mean deciding what Africans wanted, self-rule and quicker development. 50 years down the line, countries that championed such arguments, like Ghana, Zambia, Malawi and even Zimbabwe, there are almost worse off than they were.
Today, the same World is falling again. There are conspiracy theories, either the Western World is blocking development, or pettiness and pure tribalism is affecting our development. The arguments now range like in Malawi from Federation to Succession, while in other countries like Sudan, the newly created South Sudan is already into civil war, less than a year it moved out of Sudan.
Again the World is falling around, just as it was during liberation struggle, some poisoned minds wants people to move into second liberation fronts, without proper analysis or thinking, to jump and make them power shakers and movers.
Looking at development data over the past 50 years, the poorest of the poor are now heading towards more poverty and very few have hope of moving out of the trap. Investments, or larger investments are only heading to "big" countries that can offer markets and very few small states on the international arena are able to attract investments.
In debating the future of any country, especially development, making an economic argument should be the major priority, than arguing on sharing of positions and seats in parliament. Unfortunately it is the opposite in most of the debates that are now taking place in Africa, that have resulted in a few starting mob debates, without proper research and splitting the countries further.
Abdul Raufu Mustapha paper "Ethnic structure, inequality and governance of the Public Sector in Nigeria" examines some of the core issues that many of the African states are still grappling with and why models that split people on tribal or regional lines do not work.
He states on Nigeria "Nigeria has about 374 ethnic groups that are broadly divided into ethnic “majorities” and ethnic “minorities”. The major ethnic groups are the Hausa-Fulani of the north, the Yoruba of the southwest, and the Igbo of the southeast. These three “hegemonic” ethnic groups constituted 57.8 per cent of the national population in the 1963 census. All the other ethnicities constitute different degrees of “minority” status. The dominance of the national population by the three majority groups was further accentuated by the tripodal regional administrative structure of the 1950s, which gave each majority ethnic group a region. From this demographic and historical starting point, Nigeria has evolved a tripolar ethnic structure, which forms the main context for ethnic mobilization and contestation. This paper investigates the consequences of the demo­graphic and historical legacies for the management of inter-ethnic relations, particularly within the public sector. The paper is divided into three parts. 

The history and geography of the ethno-regional cleavages in Nigeria, and suggests reasons for their endurance. Early colonial rule in Nigeria was based on the implicit concept of one country, many peoples, and very little was done to create unifying institutions and processes for these peoples. The internal geography of colonialism expressed itself as a cultural geography, which emphasized the distinctiveness of peoples, and the indissoluble connection between the “tribesmen”, their territories and their chiefs. Colonial administrative regionalism consolidated the link between ethnic distinctiveness and administrative boundaries: Hausa-Fulani in the north; Igbo in the east and the Yoruba in the west. The ethnic minorities in each region were forced to accommodate themselves the best they could in each region. Four factors that guided the evolution of the Nigerian state from 1900 are examined: the policies and practices of colonial administrations; the attitudes and prejudices of colonial administrators; and the colonial economy. From the 1940s, these three factors were joined by the politics of the emergent regional elites who had the incentive to mobilize along regional and ethnic lines, and in the process further entrenched the cleavages developed under colonial rule.

The long-drawn politico-historical process of regionalism, statism and localism has led to a concentric pattern of seven ethnic and political cleavages in Nigeria: (i) between the North and the South; (ii) between the three majority ethnic groups; (iii) between these wazobia groups on the one hand, and the minority groups on the other; (iv) rivalry between states, sometimes within and sometimes between ethnic groups; (v) interethnic rivalry in a mixed state composed of minority groups of different strengths, or a segment of a majority ethnicity surrounded by minority groups; (vi) intraethnic or subethnic rivalry within each majority ethnic group, sometimes also corresponding to state boundaries and sometimes within a single state; (vii) and finally, interclan and intraclan rivalries, particularly in the southeast and the north-central parts of the country. The most politically significant cleavages on which this report concentrates are the first three.

He further examines the manifestations of the inequalities associated with the cleavages examined on the history, particularly in the political, bureaucratic and educational apparatuses of the state. It argues that the cleavages coincide with systematic patterns of horizontal inequalities. It was particularly in the sphere of education that regional differences were first manifested under colonialism. And this then had a knock-on effect on the regional formation of human capital, and general economic development. Persisting educational and socioeconomic inequalities between different regions and ethnicities form the context for the observable inequalities in the staffing of governmental institutions in Nigeria. The long-run patterns of overlapping inequalities have come to shape people’s life chances and their political perceptions. They have also had a tremendous impact on the electoral politics of the country and the composition of different cabinets and bureaucracies, giving rise to political conflicts centred on the nature of ethno-regional representation within the public sector. The patterns of ethno-regional representation in various cabinets, parliaments, military juntas, and different levels of the public sector bureaucracy are examined, showing patterns of systematic correspondence between cleavages and horizontal inequalities in these institutions.

He also looks at various efforts aimed at reforming the lopsided nature of representation within the institutions of the Nigerian federation. Particular attention is paid to an attempt to banish ethno-regional differences through the imposition of a unitary system of government, and the reasons for the failure of this policy. Other reform measures examined include the breaking up of the powerful regions into smaller states, the evolution of a quota system for elite recruitment into the educational system, the constitutional provision for affirmative action under the federal character principle, and the building of a federation with a strong centre and a powerful presidency as the antidote to ethno-regional separatism. There was also the reform of the party system and the introduction of majoritarian and consociational rules to moderate divisive tendencies within the political process.

These efforts at reforming ethno-regional representation and relations in Nigeria have had only limited success. While the reforms have fundamentally transformed the Nigerian state, they have yet to solve the problem of ethnic mobilization and conflict. As a consequence, there is still a plethora of grievances from various ethnic groups."

Such a detailed study is important for people that want to bring arguments that will bring fundamental changes to any state or country, not emotions that have little or scientific proof that will further the interests and development of the people they claim to represent.
Small states have the challenge already to rise up and be counted in economies and investment now built based on populations and very little on individual issues. 
For all arguments, the best possible way of debating and looking at issues is finding always the opposite side of what everyone is proposing, looking at the strength and weaknesses of the same, and reasons why we should adopt or not adopt particular system. Shouting for the sake of shouting does not help anybody, both in the short or long term.
In Malawi, institutions such as Public Affairs Committee, can only be taken serious if they commissioned a study on various models of political systems, encourage differences on opinion and propose a plan that will make sure that every Malawian is a winner and not only one particular end. The process requires thoughtful, careful and proper investment and not hurried approaches that the speed of some people suggests.
The World will always be falling apart, but it is the responsibility of all of us who professes to live and make a difference to find solutions to the challenges, than rush in make up solutions that will only reward our thinking and wishes.
High Commissioner for the St Kitts Nevis states "WHEN YOUCHANGE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS-THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE"
Perhaps, it the way we have been looking at things that needs to change, or perhaps it is the system.
After 13 years without Local Councils, we just formed new councils elected on May 20, 2014. Instead of looking at what we invested in in terms of devolution and power, we are already starting new concepts without evaluation if what we put in place would work or not? Such phased rush of developing ideas would be counterproductive to the very same development that we cry for.
Perhaps, we look at the current structure, change the voting systems to 50 plus 1 and indeed, even nominations of leaders should be endorsed by no less than 1,000 registered voters per district for one to be eligible to be a President. Unfortunately the speed at which we are debating, seems everyone has made up his mind and we will only remember sober facts, when everything ends up in a crisis, leaving the poorest of the poor- very poor and victims of political football as usual!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebola needs attention just like Islamic State

This morning, thousands of West Africans have flown out of their countries-including Ebola affected areas, and alongside many Europeans, Americans, Chinese and fellow southern Africans, they have shared public toilets or plane toilets each heading different direction. Every hour, every trip nowadays brings Ebola close to any part of the world.
With millions of people crisscrossing airports, people searching each other physically, attending conferences, falling in love or simply even going for peace keeping operations, the risk of transmitting the fluid contact virus are higher.
The Centre for Disease Control and the American National Institute of Health estimates that 5 people, at least every hour in Seirra Leone-one of the worst affected countries alongside Liberia are being infected.
Many of those affected do not want to come out for fear of being quarantined. Many have hidden their loved ones and relations for fear of losing them, others simply fearing they wont be able to bury them properly and the "curse" or "angry spirit" will haunt them or some claim will kill them.
Aid or funding to the Ebola hit countries has been on decline, that is obvious just like the absence of funding to many of the poorest countries, with funny conditions attached to many of todays funding. But the risk of an outright global risk does not spare the rich countries, in terms of global health challenges like Ebola, no one, with or without money is safe today.
Imagine a student working on internship in one of the affected countries, going into a club or disco for farewell party. Then flies into London or New Yorks club for a welcome party, sweaty, lots of body fluids exchanges, even kissings and whatever. We can have at least a thousand Ebola cases just in a case of one person coming into crowded areas.
The threat is real and the cost is devastating and without proper treatment, Ebola poses one the greatest challenges to the world, just like the emergence of the Islamic State. While the brutal Islamists behead people and wantonly kill Christians and those of other beliefs, Ebola sadly does not choose the colour or belief of a human being.
Anything to control it today, should be as urgent, well coordinated and well resourced than anything else as a matter of public concern. Not for African states, but the whole world as well.
The United States has just reported its first Ebola case. The large scale of people that the suspect came across with should send more worries to many people.
A media briefing organised by the Kaiser Family Health Programme indicated that at least 1.4 million people could be affected by January 2015, in other words in the next three months if the present response remains the only option for Ebola. The cry for USD$1 billion has largely been ignored and many countries are willing to invest billions a day in controlling the Islamic State than fighting the epidemic that could wipe out all the economic gains made since the 2008 financial meltdown.
The case in USA should raise alarm on the inadequacy and the danger that Ebola can be elusive for as far as 21 days, making it a greater risk than anything esle that can be tackled quickly because it is seen.
Unfortunately, all international reports on media houses like BBC and CNN end with a statement that the virus natural home is a west african bat, which is a delicacy to many in the region.
In a face of a global health threat, it is no longer a matter of reminding people about the bat, whether a delicacy or not, Ebola is now being trasmitted among human beings and it is human to human transmission that is now more deadly than the bat eating communities. Editors should seriously consider removing the bat link which has lived its use as demeans the seriousness of the matter that needs to be delt with.
Nigeria and Senegal have reported no case for 24 days, meaning they might have contained it or as Medicines San Frontiers argues many in affected areas might not be coming forwards. The fact that what started in a small village in Guinea, has affected over 3,000 square miles and now America should worry everyone that we need to do something now.
Listening to Medicines San Frontiers during the Kaiser Health briefing, it is pathetic is that what they lack are basic items to quarantine or force hygiene on many of the infected persons. In a world where football teams spend billions of dollars to pay and buy players, singers spend billions of dollars on anything and politicians trillions on wars, fighting Ebola should have come easy than anything else.
Is it because its in Africa? Our present day connectedness removes the geo political boundaries as people now travel faster and everywhere.
With scramble for Africa's natural resources by Chinese and Westerners alike, supporting Ebola fight should have been  a priority or thousands of workers from these countries remain at risk of exporting, not only Africas minerals, but a bonus of ebola virus. Time to act is now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Called to the Service of Malawi

For many that Malawians that have traveled, lived or visited other countries, the first identity they always bear is that of a Malawian. Nobody readily identifies himself or herself by his tribe, home district or ethnic orientation. The diversity, that's what I call the various tribal or ethic orientations of Malawians, including 9 in Chitipa district alone, has been a great source of pride than division.
The crowded nature of our cities, intermarriages and movement and resettlement's across all the 29 districts, has diluted the ethnicity of a particular area. Attempts to shift teachers from other regions to the North in the late 90's saw the majority of schools in one region almost close. The policy, myopic as it was, was short-lived.
The majority of Malawians, in the major cities and towns, rarely live with their ethnic-like identities as neighbors, they are from all over the country. The fact that they have lived together, worked or schooled together, many have become best of friends, others have married and others literary have become brothers and sisters through our community extended family system.
Many have lived together that their communities even forget where they came from and have looked at their competences and sent them even to Parliament, as their representatives, without looking as where they are coming from.
People like Chambo Kalua, from Rumphi is now MP for Mangochi North Constituency. Others before him include Late Elizabeth Aipira for Mangochi Northwest, Gift Mwamondwe for Blantyre City Central, Henry Mpofu Shaba for Blantyre Bangwe, Moses Kunkuyu for Blantyre City South, Billy Kaunda for Blantyre City East, Late Mary Kaphweleza Banda for Lilongwe City Central and Samuel Kaphuka for Blantyre Kabula.
The quality of Malawian non discriminatory attitude, when you look at Malawians of different origins getting elected to represent the ordinary black indigenous Malawian. These include Jan Jaap Sonke for Kabula, Jacqueline for Rumphi West and David Bisnowaty for Lilongwe City Central.
This proves that to ordinary Malawians place of origin, and ethnicity or tribal alignment is secondary, perhaps its our politicians we should be asking, why the bring the issue as a key issue instead of taking a cue from ordinary voters.
The tolerance of Malawians is well documented beyond even religious boundaries. A predominantly Christian nation with as high as 75 to 80 percent professing and practicing Christians, many forgot their religious inclinations and sometimes outright campaigning by some religious leaders for a particular candidate-Malawians have voted before for a Muslim President and later a Muslim Vice President. It tells you religion really does not matter in our choices.
This should bring us to examine our past. Those that before us were called to Service of Mother Malawi. Were they too selfish to identify regions, tribes or ethnicity  or even religion to make decision or decide what role they would play to their country?
The answer is an overwhelming no, they served Malawi and its interest first and never at any time did they think of how their region or particular tribe first, but they thought of Malawi, they were pride of their country and they came together for a cause.
This generation of politicians, commentators and even businesses can learn from those that were called to serve in all capacities who served Malawi first, its interest and its cause. There are many but the following can suffice to say they were true Malawians and served our cause:
Reverend John Chilembwe, who protested the inclusion of all NYASA's not from his village alone, in the First World War. He did not specifically ask for people from Mbombwe or Chiradzulu to be exempted. He knew he had a platform and voice and spoke on behalf of all Nyasa's.
Then we had Levi Ziliro Mumba, James Sangala, Lali Lubani, Kanyama Chiume and Orton Chirwa, Masauko Chipembere, Yatuta and Dunduzu Chisiza and many more, who despite their huge differences, came together at different times from 1935 to 1964 to stand up for what will become Malawi.
I am sure when they were deciding to recall Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, tribe or ethnicity was not part of their thoughts. Their thoughts were to liberate the future Mother Malawi. Self determination does not include tribalism or splitting of areas, it includes ability of like minded and love of ones land to succeed.
What has gone wrong, that every jim and jack wants to put tribal label on everything about Malawi. Who is serving Malawi and why is suddenly everybody so much in a hurry to acquire a certain label.
When Masauko Chipembere heard that his colleagues including Orton Chirwa, Yatuta Chisiza and others had rebelled against Kamuzu Banda, he did not think of where they came from, he thought of the service to Malawians-he quit in solidarity to his colleagues.
Yatuta Chisiza picked guns and was killed trying to save Malawi, Masauko Chipemberes rebellion was about Malawi.
When people like Attati Mpakati, August Bwanausi, David Rubadiri, Amunandife Mkumba, and later the Chakufwa Chihanas, ArchBishop James Chiona and colleagues. Dr. Silas Ncozana and many others, they have stood up and spoke for Malawi, they have worked to serve Malawi.
How may today have been called to service of Malawi and are serving the interest of Malawians? That is a great question each has to ask. Does the solution lie in splitting or entrenching regionalistic systems instead of building on how others, from political podiums crossed regions and won seats in areas they would not call home tribal or ethnically?
Are there lessons to be learnt from our past heros, why did they not look at a tribe or region to fight for a cause, they demanded within Malawi and got what they wanted?
The colonialist mentality was to keep different tribal groups against each other, that worked well until people like Levi Ziliro Mumba, James Sangala and Lali Lubanis refused to be bound by tribal lines and worked for the country. Kamuzu kept Malawians guessing of each other, people like Chihana rose for Malawi and mobilised a unity of purpose to spread the gospel of change!
Some peoples legacy will go as quick as they open their mouth, serving their bellies and mouths, than the larger and true calls of mother Malawi.
Just as there is enough room for all of us to stay together, there is enough room for all diverse group to demand changes or more, without trampling on the united country we have been for years. Perhaps we should look from the past and learn how they did it...........it should be service to Malawi first!