To the four guardian angels

I am heartbroken and I am really sorry our beautiful guardian angels—Tisunge Francisco, Jennifer Bonongwe, Gift Manyada and Madalitso Nayuma—for letting you down. I have let you down, the country has let you down. I wish I had heard your screams for help fast enough to save you from the tonne of bricks that mercilessly crushed you to death.

When your mothers sent you off to school on that bright Wednesday morning, they never meant for you to die at school. They had good intentions and big dreams for you—they wanted you to have a bright future, which is possible with education, quality education. It is this dream that also prompted your community members to take it upon themselves to build you a learning shelter, where you could sit and immense yourselves in knowledge—not to be buried under it. They dreamt of a transformed Nantchengwa community through you beautiful angels. I am sure they said a silent prayer for your protection while at school and wished for your safe return home.

I am sorry beautiful angels, that you were born in a country where the leaders occupy themselves with trivia and neglect their jobs. Sorry that these leaders, never cared about your future—they just don’t care about anything save for enriching themselves, their cronies and their tribespeople.

They shout and bang their gold-plated podiums where they speak of how they have transformed this country and how they are the best thing to have ever happened to this country, but 54 years after independence, there you were angels, learning in a substandard building which was a danger to life from the start.

If only someone entrusted with the responsibility to look after the welfare of Malawians cared a little, and not spending energy and time castigating each other as they try prove who is the biggest thief who should assume office in 2019, this tragedy could have been averted. Yes, true to who they are, these leaders have stolen your lives. I wonder how they sleep at night knowing that they failed you and sent you to the grave this early.

Malawians, we all have the four angels’ blood in our hands. Maybe we were brave enough to speak against the political, economic and social malaise rocking our country, something could have been done. We, all, have robbed these children of lives that we can now only imagine how it could have turned out. Every day we sit and watch as our leaders plunder public resources, as they deliberately ignore their jobs while they award each other hefty rewards for doing nothing. We should, and we must, speak against such impunity.

I am sorry for that, little angels. I am sorry that we Malawians do not know the power that we have to change the course of our country. I am sorry that our leaders no longer feel that they are accountable to us, but to themselves and their cronies. They act as if they are our bosses and yet we are their bosses. Little angels, please pray for our country and us that God should remove in us the fear of speaking out against the ills while we still can. The spirit of sitting on our laurels and mop should be removed. That we should be courageous enough to confront our leaders when things are not alright.

To Mr. President, when did the innocent children who just wanted to learn become your enemies? Is this the tonne of bricks you spoke about?

I am sorry, little guardian angels. May you watch over us and forgive us. Rest in eternal peace, till we meet again.

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