October 12 2023
Malawi joined the rest of the civilized world to commemorate World Mental Health Day on October 10, which, I daresay, is my birthday. We thank the Lord to have made it alive to this day.
This year, consideration was made as regards mental health as a human right. Thoughtful and deep, as the condition comes with it all kinds of stigma and discrimination.
As I write, Malawi is gripped with so many mental issues in our midst.
Drug and alcohol abuse is rocking the show; marriages are breaking like nobody’s business. Just come to think of it, students at Robert Blake Secondary School razed the school for the simple reason that the new head teacher was instilling discipline by dealing with a boy found smoking hemp and also for telling the students that they would have less days of entertainment!
On social media, just this week: A man strangles his grand father to death; a man and his wife slay their baby for reasons best known to themselves and in Zomba a man cuts his wife’s head off. Are these macabre deeds becoming more pronounced because of the way information is flowing these days with social media or is it because many are walking with mental illnesses?
The times are hard. The economy is tanking. The Kwacha is buying less and it appears those in leadership positions feel they are the best thing ever to happen to this country.
The depression and stress is well too much taking all of us to the edges of delirium, schizophrenia and other extreme mental health defects.
It is self-evident that experts in the field are too few. Provision of wellness services is way too high for the Malawian on the street to afford.
At times, what happens in the country borders on mental defects in high places as well.
Figure this: former president Peter Mutharika joins the commemoration of the Mulhako wa Alhomwe. The best thing he feels like saying is declaring his intention to contest at the 2025 presidential elections.
He is still a bitter man after losing the fresh presidential election but to air those political jabs at a cultural event is nothing but a defect any psychiatrist would be quick to jump on.
Just as misguided as Mutharika, the other day Malawi Congress Party secretary general Eissenhower Mkaka sounded like someone that needed some attention at the lunatic asylum. It was at the late John Tembo’s funeral.
In his eulogy, Mkaka was requesting Tembo to report to first president Hastings Kamuzu Banda that the wheels running the country were well greased with Chakwera. He said Tembo should be the harbinger of good tidings to the Ngwazi that Chakwera was doing so much to raise the standards of Malawians in all sectors.
At no point did he ask Tembo to deliver a message that the price of maize and virtually everything else was sky-rocketing daily under Chakwera and that life is unbearable under his rule. And, for that matter, who in their full control of intellectual senses would turn a funeral into a political rally?
While we have in our hands one of the most inconsiderate, heavily insensitive government, it also is clear that the opposition needed a mental check up last week. Where is the opposition? All we hear is that Kondwani Nankhumwa is ready to face Mutharika at the DPP convention and that he will win since he has never lost in an election.
Who will appease the spirits that have cast on us this spell of mental sommersaults? What libations do we have to offer that the gods may intermit us this evil? Only time will tell.