As directed by our most adorable, multi-award-winning leader of delegation, Professor Dr Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 33 and the Most Excellent Grand Achiever (MEGA-1), we are still here in Nsipe, Mangoni, where we have camped until the end of this year. We are here because we are establishing ourselves, positioning ourselves, making hay while the campaign is running since the Ndata of the post-May 21 2019 might be here. Nsipeans believe Ndata will, not might, grow here. Soon.
As we all know by now, those who did not go to pay homage at Ndata proper in 2012, when president Professor Bingu wa Mutharika died, are now licking their political wounds. Only change goalkeeper seems to have crawled back into the system. But even he has received a below par welcome. So, as much as possible, we will stick with the likely soup-maker of the future.
Because of our long stay here, we have learnt a lot about Nsipeans. These people are typical postcard Malawians: friendly, smiling, sharing, affable, slow-to-anger, and deeply generous. Everywhere we have been, we have enjoyed ziboda or mang’ina, as cattle hoofs are known locally, ganda, the thick oily pork skin, and masese, the halaal brew produced around.
“Does the Malawi Bureau of Standards [MBS] visit this area?” Jean-Philippe asked when we were offered masese in huge cups at Chokazinga Village where people were enjoying their Christmas.
“You know, our grandfathers used to drink this great stuff using gourds or zipanda and earth pots, mbiya,” Chinkweta said ignoring Jean-Philippe.
“And why not use cups,” Jean-Philippe asked another question.
“Cups, what for? We don’t drink tea here! Masese for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Chinkwenta answered jokingly, sipping on the drink before passing it to Nganga.
“I asked if ever the Malawi Bureau of Standards or health inspectors ever come to inspect this food,” Jean-Philippe asked.
“If you have nothing to say don’t disrupt the party,” Chinkweta said, switching on his handheld radio, “I understand the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) was having a meeting today in Mangochi.”
“We already know what they have agreed?” Mzee Mandela said.
“What have they agreed?” Abiti went on.
“I got it from my Monkey WhatsApp Group that FAM has decided to remove any academic qualification as a condition for one to contest any position in the association.”
“This is crazy. Why?” Abiti fumed.
“I support the move,” I said, adding, “FAM is only following in the footsteps of parliament, the presidency and other organisations. In Malawi, you don’t need to go to school to be president, parliamentarian or ward councillor. The only criterion is ability to speak and understand English.”
“Correct,” Nganga said, “if at that high level no MSCE is required, why should it be required at the level of FAM?”
“If someone wants MSCE to be the condition for people to be elected into the FAM executive, then sport must be introduced in school as a compulsory subject,” I said, “even universities don’t teach sports administration.”
“After all, you don’t need MSCE to be a good leader,” Nganga said, “We know people with PhDs who have failed even to lead their own lives. To the contrary, we have paramount chiefs who are doing a tremendous and commendable jobs in leading their subjects!”
“What did you just say?” Chinkwenta said, turning his bloodshot eyes to Nganga.
“No fighting here,” Abiti pleaded.
“I am not anybody’s subject. This colonial demeaning language must stop now. “ n