Abiti Joyce Befu, aka MG 66; Al Hajj Mufti Jean-Philippe LePossion, SC (RTD); the Most Paramount Native Authority, Mzee Mandela and I, Malawi’s only Mohashoi, are still here in Thyolo, still lodged at Game Haven; still jovially drinking and eating, and still garrulously engaging the autochthons of this part of the Republic of Lomweland.
During the week we have made a new friend, Khwarapuwa Chimpesandevu, who claims to be a Lhomwe of Ngoni origin. We have not asked him what he means by describing himself thus essentially because we respect the Malawi Constitution’s prohibition of discrimination based on tribal and ethnic origin. To us, a Malawian is a Malawian irrespective of how and from where one’s ancestors migrated into and settled in this mighty Federal Republic we fondly called Malawi, the hitherto Warm Heart of Africa.
It is not in our tradition to comment sententiously on issues that are in court or are still being investigated. It is this respect for the truth and avoidance of prejudicial statements that have made us not comment on Maizegate (Part 2) and other dubious dealings.
However, as we took our usual drinks at a pub near the police roadblock at Bvumbwe Market last Wednesday our friend, Khwarapuwa, broke into laughter when he heard the minister of Maizegate arguing that some six million Malawians would have died of (maize-related) hunger had the arrangement to purchase maize from Zambia not been made.
“Politicians are interesting,” he said, explaining, “they feel so big that they can lie without any dint of shame. Who has eaten this Kaloswe-ZCF-Transcrop-government-to-government maize? Who identified these so-called six million hungry children in his burning house?”
“There are two things he wants to put across,” I responded.
“First?” Khwarapuwa challenged.
“That as a responsible minister, in a responsible government, he could not allow anyone to suffer and die due to lack of maize. And to do that there was justifiable need to ignore the law or the procurement procedures and bypassing procurement institutions,” Mzee Mandela explained regally.
“During the Fieldyork notebook purchase scam, some twenty years ago, the minister of Fieldyork made a similar argumentum ad passiones to defend his potential criminal dealings…,” Khwarapuwa said.
“What is argumentum ad passiones?” Abiti Joyce Befu asked, joining in the conversation.
“It is the making of illogical statements by appealing to people’s emotions, Khwarapuwa explained, “The minister of Maizegate is appealing to some people to consider his act, his breach of procedures, his contempt of Malawians, as justified because he was fighting for them.”
“Was he?” Abiti wondered.
“That is the question!”
“Let me be very frank with you,” Mzee Mandela started, eyes fixed on Khwarapuwa, “this great country has known inquiries: the John Chilembwe death Inquiry; the Elliot Kenan Kamwana death and burial inquiry; the March 3 Martyrs inquiry, the Orton Edgar Ching’oli Chirwa death inquiry; the Evison Matafale death inquiry; the Robert Chasowa death inquiry; the July 20, 2011 massacre inquiry; the Bingu wa Mutharika death inquiry; the Fieldyork Notebook purchase inquiry; the Jetsale inquiry; the Maizegate (Part 1) inquiry; the Tractorgate inquiry; the Cashgate inquiry; and now the Maizegate (Part 2) inquiry…”
“Make your point quickly!” Khwarapuwa interrupted Mandela.
“Let him finish…” Abiti said, placing her left hand on Khwarapuwa’s right shoulder.
“In all these inquiries no one has been punished by a sitting government…” Mzee said.
“Meaning?” Khwarapuwa wondered.
“Nothing will happen to the minister of Maizegate as long as the governors are the same,” Mandela concluded.
“But the minister of Fieldyork was eventually jailed!”Khwarapuwa said.
“Yes, but by another government!”