Good people, the 51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations came and petered out as usual—except our President Peter Mutharika was outgunned on his own microphone by Zambia’s Edgar Lungu who stole the show with his calculated speech highlighting how Malawi and her neighbours stand on the continental and international scale five decades after the emancipation struggle.
The independence show at Kamuzu Stadium was supposed to be worth every tambala of a whopping K300 million that went into it when some civil servants were starving for payday which only dawned on ‘June 37’.
But the independence party was not much ado about nothing more than deepening poverty.
It was a celebration of the mediocrity Mutharika wants replaced with new cornerstones, including integrity, hard work and patriotism.
Yet cultivating laziness is commissioning a has-been of Saul Chembezi’s size to sing at what is supposed to be a celebration of the very best of free Malawi. Chembezi’s deployment was an ill-timed exhumation of a one-hit wonder whose last release was the hugely recycled Azisiya with Uhuru Band in a year only God remembers—and the has-been who once endeared to clubbers at Sunbird Mount Soche’s Sportsman’s Bar offered no surprises.
It was heart-breaking seeing the also-ran offer a quarter-hearted performance to thousands of Malawians who risked their lives by filling the rotten stands of the colonial stadium because they wanted to experience the best of their motherland.
And one Minister of Health Jean Kalilani’s son was not the best pick either. Malawians, who believe in fair competition and clean politics, do not need to be reminded that Tay Grin has the right to do what he knows best.
Rather, integrity requires the powers that be to explain clearly how the artists were selected? How transparent and inclusive was the selection process? Who did they compete with?
As the country seeks to define a new way forward, experience, that undying teacher of real-life lessons, teaches us that nepotism, shady deals and conferring status on underserving people can only worsen a culture of laziness and corruption.
Give the best of hard workers the very best of opportunities and the rest will learn to strive to do better all the time.
Otherwise, lovers of good thing will remember the ended national holiday for Lungu’s inspiring speech and the masked gule wamkulu pole dancer called gologolo at the stadium whose sitting capacity was once halved because it is supposedly too old to hold. Who said Kamuzu Stadium is a falling giant?
It appears Malawians drink anywhere, but a risky trend is taking root in the capital Lilongwe that make red-letter warnings against alcohol consumption within shopping premises utter repressive.
A filling station in Lilongwe has given Lilongwe citizens a right to drink as they please and stunned proponents of “security first” wonder what will happen if one of the drunken smokers at the highly inflammable drinking spot lights up the wrong way.
I am tempted to think the regulators do not care or they are drunker than that hazardous multitude at the gas station.