Big Brains: Off Chemusa


We are having a talk on energy in our country, the one we all claim to love. We are busy taking turns in talking about how we, men, can also help add to the country’s grid power – of course, through the use of brains and not what 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 in its plentiful but so is the garnishing talk and images that make the heart to appreciate as the eyes pan around.

“The electricity gensets have long been installed but the blackouts are back in their plentiful. Power less than a quarter day, in all townships! What exactly is wrong with this country?” Asks aloud ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M.


Getting an immediate response from Lackson. “Nanga simumangosiyira ndi kunyoza boma basi! [It’s because we blame the government for anything and everything; you mean, we can’t, for once, 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 in government; hence, they must not be spared the blame since they put in place cosmetic policies,” says ‘Atsogoleri’.

But Lackson is far from buying this line of reasoning. He maintains that he is one of the many in our population who always wonder why the government continues to get blamed when engineers in our country are spared from the same.


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

He continues: “We have had some of these problems since the Bakili Muluzi era, Mutharika of the ‘tiyende pamodzi’ fame, Joyce Banda of the ‘Amayi’ fame and, indeed, Mutharika of APM fame. Have we, professionals, advised these regimes? Are we also not busy trying to pocket allowances for continuous workshops that are organised back to back in exclusive transient and resort hotels? Shame on us Malawians, we love our pockets and our greed, we can’t invest in research!”

But others in the Crew question Lackson’s insistence that professionals should add value to the country’s development when our governments have paid little, or no attention, 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 the temporary electricity generators? We have, after all, plenty of wind, water, sun and sources of energy. 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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