One of my friends has this bumper sticker on his truck: Proud to be Malawian, Northerner, Tumbuka. I found that sticker exceptionally instructive. With his permission or the permission of those who created this sticker, I would like to create one for me and my tribe: Proud to be Malawian, Southerner, Lhomwe/Khokhola. My wife could create hers: Proud to be Malawian, Northerner, Ngoni.
It is interesting that several people I know have started re-branding themselves from being Lhomwe to some tribe they think President Joyce Banda will like. These people are assuming that since some may have seemed to have benefitted from belonging to the Mulhako wa a Lhomwe during Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s reign, maintaining their tribal heritage will be disadvantageous. I have also heard and read from some people who are now saying that the replacement of Peter Mukhito as Inspector-General of Police is the cleaning up of the Mulhako mess by Presidet Banda. I choose to differ.
There has never been a time when I felt more Lhomwe than now. Given, my tribal heritage is mixed with Yao, Lhomwe, Ngoni, Sena and Portuguese. But being Lhomwe was extremely difficult for some of us in the past recent years when it was interpreted as being sympathetic to President Mutharika or that one was pro-DPP. I did not join the Mulhako wa a Lhomwe group, although I could have if I had wanted. I still ate finyagi (chicken gizzard in Khokhola), or finyambe (in Lhomwe). We still refer to fishermen as wosaka. I am Lhomwe now just as I was during the peak of the DPP. It is sad, I may say, nepotism was rampant in the DPP-led government as they did not even want to hide that being Lhomwe was, to many people, the only qualification to public office. My writing this is not to betray my Lhomwe compatriots, but rather to say that this should never, ever happen again in civilised Malawi.
Mukhito was branded the best IG ever (according to Bingu). He may have been at some point. Police is now ever present on our roads, they seem to be reasonably equipped and he supported the police football teams. Mukhito did remarkable things when he was IG. On the other hand, I am happy I was never IG during the past recent years under Bingu. There is the Robert Chasowa case, the arrest and torture of Ralph Kasambara and Atupele Muluzi, the disrespect (in public) of Mrs Joyce Banda when she went to see Atupele in jail and July 20, 2011 killing of demonstrators. These and many other issues happened on Mukhitoâ€™s watch. I do not know how much he knew or contributed to the problems. But because he was the man responsible for the Malawi Police Service, he just had to go.
Before I finish off, could I ask the President to see the K1000 banknote that we were promised was coming. How does it look? Will Muluzi now have his television licence?