We, Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (retired), Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, leader of delegation and expedition, Native Authority Mandela, and I, are not in the tradition of writing letters to heads of state or prominent people. We don’t even like to be seen in their company because we don’t want to talk to people who are not prepared to listen anyone, even to themselves, as Grey Mang’anda loves saying. We have also decided not to talk to cabinet ministers and even those people in the opposition because ndiozimva as if they came into their seats straight from heaven.
Did we not raise an alarm about the 177 farm tractors and 144 maize shellers President Bingu wa Mutharika bought? We alerted the government; we alerted the opposition, the academia, the ACB, the journalists, and the anthu-wamba, or wananchi and abaturage, as they are called in Tanzania and Rwanda respectively. Everybody kept quiet and sat phwii, making us look like cartoons, as Edward Chitsulo used to described people who conducted themselves like zidude or certified village idiots.
Did we not say that the tractors and shellers for which we, our children, and their children will pay back to India (K2.5 billion in 40 years from 2011) were fast disappearing to Zimbabwe, farms in Thyolo, Mulanje and elsewhere?
Did we not cry, loudly, on twitter, on Facebook, in newspapers, on radio, on TV, in church, in beer halls, in dancehalls, in the air, on land, and in every place that these 177 farm tractors and 144 maize shellers afforded this Cashgate federal republic an opportunity to improve its economy by graduating its farmers from hand-hoeing to mechanised and commercial agriculture? You, dead nation, did we not?
Well, today, even the remainder of those farm tractors and maize shellers are being distributed, not sold, to friends and colleagues of the very political leaders who bought the tractors and shellers in exchange for a pittance. Next time there is a problem, don’t count us, you dead nation!!
However, we still have two issues to address before we leave the stage, because our art for art’s sake phase is drawing towards its shelf life, to borrow an Edwardian term.
First, we feel really disappointed that Goodall Gondwe, Malawi’s federal minister of finance, has decided to limit his pre-budget consultations to his old friends and the very institutions that have been consulted ad nauseam but whose advice has failed to move this Cashgate federal republic forward and graduate from its terroristic donors, as Professor Bingu wa Mutharika described them in his African Dream, an economic manifesto. If only half of it were implemented, Malawi would stand on its own rather in less than two decades and do away with neo-colonialists. Any real consultations should have involved poor villagers, the very people the budget is meant to focus on.
From these common pipo, to borrow another Edwardian term, the minister would have learned what it means to work hard, how to rationally use and monitor the little that one has, and how to plan for the future. Consulting spendthrifts who dish out economic and political theories of yester years to solve today’s problems will not move us forward. Never. Mwapulika dada Gudo?
Second, we wish to ask, not President Jacob Zuma of South Africa because we have no interest in cavorting around with politicians, but Desmond Tutu, who is probably the most respected South African alive today. Desmond Tutu has used his moral authority to condemn Israeli massacres in Gaza, Palestine and the world has listened and acted. Like we did in 2008, while on the side of Malawi’s journalism fence, we wish to tell Desmond Tutu that this xenophobic violence in South Africa will dent his image. Tutu needs to intervene and remind the Zulus, particularly their King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, and Chief Mangosothu Gasha Buthelezi, founder and leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, that the Africans that they see coming to take up even the most demeaning jobs in South Africa are victims poor governance and economic management in their countries.
Also, Tutu should speak out against xenophobia because this unwarranted violence is targeted at the very people whose parents and ancestors bore the wrath of the roving Apartheid South Africa’s violent machine when they hosted, fed, clothed, educated and protected the ANC cadres, today’s ruling elite in South Africa.
This ‘knockberrying’ of fellow Africans unto death because of frustrations with the South African government’s failure to deliver on its promises will tarnish the image of South Africa and make the Zulu nation look like another Boko Haram kingdom. If Desmond Tutu fails to speak out against abuse of human rights in South Africa ubuntu will remain a mere ideology with no practical application.n