Big Brains: Off Chemusa


We are having a talk on energy in our country, the one we all claim to love. We take turns, suggesting how we, men, can add something to the country’s national electricity grid using brains, as opposed to whatever shallow minds may insinuate.

The place is called Big Brains: Off Chemusa. It is a hub of activity, tucked somewhere adjacent to [or is it behind] the market. The intoxicating stuff is plentiful, but so are garnishing talk and images that make one appreciate as eyes pan around.

“The electricity gensets, the much talked ones, have long been installed but the blackouts show no signs of waning. Powerless than a quarter day, in all townships! What exactly is wrong with this country?” It is ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M speaking.


He gets an immediate response from Lackson. “Nanga si mumangosiyila, ndi kunyoza, boma basi! [It’s because we blame the government for everything; you mean, for once, we can’t think about how each one of us can contribute solutions to problems affecting our country?]”

“Like what? The government must take its fair share of blame, which is the large part of the blame of course. After all, politicians campaign that they will give us the best of life when voted into power; hence, they deserve to be blamed for their cosmetic policies,” says ‘Atsogoleri’.

But Lackson is far from buying that line of reasoning. He maintains that he is one of the many, in our population, who wonder why the government continues to be blamed when the country’s engineers are not blamed.


“You blame the government yet it invested heavily in establishing The Polytechnic, some over 50 years ago. Where are the engineers that have graduated from that institution? Are they adding value to the country’s electricity needs or they are busy signing cheques in the confines of air-conditioned banking offices, clad in their neckties and suits? We have to ask ourselves what we have done in our respective portfolios and professions to assist bail Malawi from numerous problems we are facing; we should realise that everyone has a role to play somewhere. Enanu mumangodziwa kuba magetsi, madzi, ndi mafuta basi!”

Someone tries to interrupt him by suggesting that The Polytechnic is a gift from the people of the United States.

Not taken aback, he continues: “We have faced some of these problems since the Bakili Muluzi era, Mutharika of the Bingu fame, Joyce Banda of the ‘Amayi’ fame and, indeed, Mutharika of APM fame. What have we, professionals, advised these regimes? Are we also not busy trying to pocket allowances for workshops that are held back-to-back in our exclusive resorts and hotels? Shame on us, Malawians; we love our pockets and can’t invest in research!”

But others in the Crew question Lackson’s insistence on professionals adding value to the country’s development when the very government we have had has paid little, or no attention at all, to scientific research, let alone adding a permanent solution pack to the economic and development landscape of the country.

“Why can’t we, for once, seriously develop our Renewable Energy base and heavily invest in it as opposed to relying on temporary gensets? We, after all, have plenty of wind, water, sun, among other energy sources. Why can’t the government and our engineers brainstorm on this and save our country from sinking economically because we don’t have reliable power to generate growth?” Interrupts Joe, as he earns the bulk of all the heads in nods!

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