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A mirror of humanness

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Recent discourse on democracy, leadership and development in the country has dwelt a lot on the prospects of mind-set change.

Calls have issued from many sources, including from high profile sub-humanoids lacking an aorta of motivation to change their own values.

Strangely the pressure for change falls on people while those who must exemplify that change unashamedly continue to preside over the wanton rapes of laws, procedures and public resources with sadistic ferocity.

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In desperation Malawi is now talking of mind set change in education institution, raising numerous questions regarding content, instructors, target groups and assessment of the change sought.

If it be true that old dogs cannot learn new tricks what about foxes and vixens with their proverbial cheek, cunning and obstinacy.

Our leaders are unwilling to adopt values consistent with democracy and civility. Malawians are lumbered with leaders brutishly given to abuse of power, greed and deceit. Yes, leadership has been a roller coaster of false promises, lies and deception from lofty places.

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In any case why should anybody talk of mind set instruction when the examples of leadership with a human face needed for emulation have been with us all these years?

Let me admit at the very outset that when I decided to prepare my last respects article for the Hon. Robson Watayachaga Chirwa I soon realised that I was facing a colossus that defied single track appreciation.

Tussling with my imagination was a huge personality at once simple and complex; great and humble; richly spirited and decidedly strong at heart. I was coming face to face with an enigma able to balance power with humility, duty with sacrifice, religion with tradition.

And it soon dawned on me that everything that I honour regarding good people, good leaders and good leadership was packed in this one gift to Malawi; one unique person now lost to a country whose leaders desperately need recovery of their own dying humanity.

Looking at Hon. Robson Chirwa I now understand that leadership is indeed not about leaders; it is instead about those that leaders serve. Leadership is never about self-exaltation but about lifting others up. It is a unity of humane behaviours, not the clamour for praise or superfluous acts of pseudo-heroism.

When experts say it is impossible to imagine anything which better becomes a ruler than truth and mercy, you see all possibilities in Hon. Robson Chirwa.

His whole life shines a great light on the fact that those who have failed to work towards truth and peace have missed the purpose of living. Yes, where is the wisdom in claiming power and wealth in this wretched world and sell one’s soul to the devil?

Hon. Robson Chirwa embodied so much deserving a whole book!

In him I see that the purpose of living is truth to humanity and that such truth must be expressed in how each one of us relates with fellow humans. He truly related well with all manner of people including some of the fiercest. This takes humility and self-denial.

What people have said about Robson Chirwa reveals his values, which many leaders today would do well to emulate.

On hearing about his passing, retired president Bakili Muluzi said, “he was such a humble, humble, loyal person. You could not question Robson’s loyalty. He was above board”.

In not too dissimilar a manner Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President, Lazarus Chakwera, says “the gentle giant has fallen. This country will never produce such a great and selfless politician”. Such are the testimonies that much pain is reflects brightly over his passing.

I understand when faith leaders suggested that God should not have taken Robson Chirwa leaving thieves, cheats and men given to sleaze. These are words of mourning coming from a Malawian crying for just leaders for a desperate nation.

Speaking to Chimbizga Msimuko in 2013 Dada Chirwa said, “I never annoyed the Head of State in any way; discipline in anything is important”. There is not much discipline left today, let alone humility!

Not only was he loyal to the leader he served and peaceful to colleagues he worked with, he had words of kind advice to all of us who care to be human ‘to recognise that everyone around is important’ not just friends, tribesmen or political escorts.

Till the time of final calling, Hon. Robson Chirwa led a life that reflected brightly in deeds of kindness and concern with the wellbeing of others. His advice was: be simple and supportive to others. God will reward you that way.

In Hon Chirwa what you meet is a humble, God fearing and truly unpretentious man who thought not of himself as do many of our leaders today.

His best wish when his compatriot Gwanda Chakuamba passed on was down to earth, saying and almost begging from the powers that be “if the history book of Malawi is still being written, then a little space for Chakuamba should be reserved”.

Honesty, accountability and humility were the core rubric in an unwavering moral compass that served him well to the very end.

Hon. Robson Chirwa was really a special person, at one point refusing to teach in secondary school because he did not deserve anything higher than his own T2 primary teacher qualification.

He was never an opportunist nor did he show huge insatiable appetites for power and wealth as do present leaders. Asked why he retired from active politics when he could well continue Robson Chirwa suggested that it was time to let “people with new ideas” take over.

Who will learn from Hon Robson Chirwa? Why should leaders attend mind-set change colleges when all they need to become has been before us all along?

Hon Chirwa, you talked of new ideas with much hope for Malawi to move forward beyond your own times. Well what we have are insatiable grizzly bears. They want everything. They take everything. They deny everything.

And the serpents try very hard to look and behave like humans.

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