A king must be honest


Mdzukulu, for you to understand me better, let me resort to an adage.

An ageing king realised that if he died, he had no one to take the throne. He decided to adopt a son. He launched a competition and 10 boys made it to the top.

The king said to them: “I have one last test and whoever comes top will become my adopted son and heir to my throne.”


He gave each boy a seed of corn and told them to take the seed home, plant and nurture it for three weeks. The 10 boys took their seeds and ran home to plant their seeds.

In one home, the boy and his parents were sad when the seed failed to sprout. The boy had done everything but he failed. His friends advised him to buy a seed and plant it but his God-fearing parents, who had always taught him to be honest refused.

The day came and the 10 boys went to the palace. All the nine boys were successful. The king went to each boy, asking: “Is that what came out of the seed I gave you?”


An each boy said: “Yes, your majesty.”

The king would nod and move down the line until he reached the last boy in the line, who was trembling with fear.

The king asked him: “What did you do with the seed I gave you?”

The boy said: “I planted it and cared for it your majesty but it failed to sprout.”

The king went to the throne with the boy and said: “I gave these boys boiled seeds and a boiled seed cannot sprout. If a king must have one quality, it must be honesty and only this boy passed the test.”

In Psalms 34:12-13, mdzukulu, the Lord says: “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.”

Malawi is going through hell.

Travelling at night in all corners of the country, two things are clear: blackouts and the sound of generators in various workplaces or business premises.

Check this mdzukulu! Presently, the demand for power in Malawi for public and private sectors is above 400MW.

However, the available power generation capacity is 360MW.

But that is not enough mdzukulu.

The shortfall is projected to grow rapidly in this country, where the World Bank says only eight percent of the population of about 18 million has access to electricity.

According to a study by the Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi, projections for generation requirements for 2010, 2015 and 2020 are 408MW, 603MW and 829MW respectively.

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) officials reveal that up to 98 percent of electricity is obtained from power plants located on the Shire River in Chikwawa.

Hydro-electric power station on the Shire, the country’s largest river, are hampered by siltation and outdated equipment, making power supply in the country erratic.

Of course, mdzukulu, it is not surprising that Escom – touched by all sorts of mediocrity and mismanagement mingled with partisan interests – year in, year out follows with a message to Malawians; ‘promises’ of prolonged hours of blackouts following the same story of dwindling water flows in the Shire River and Lake Malawi – and obviously, all things being equal, soon the basis will be high water levels in the same sources.

These, among many others, are the reasons, nowadays, mdzukulu, daily power cuts can last up to 30 or more hours.

Yes, authorities point out that the country’s hydro potential is estimated at over 1,000MW. But that does not, in any way, mean that power cuts can be solved in 48 hours.

That would be a lie, mdzukulu, not befitting a self-glorified king.

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