ColumnsTales of Time

Into the fire


It is that time of the year again sounds like an old and tired refrain but, still, it makes sense. Indeed it is that time of the year again when we are merry and mellow or force ourselves to be.
Last Christmas, I had a meeting with one of the big shots in town who sounded bubbly and full of hope that the following year, meaning this one, our Malawi would transform to a paradise that we would not recognise. I told him in the face that his were just delusions and should, therefore, remain quiet other than bothering me.
The reason I refused to row in his boat of false hope was that having lived over three decades, I can easily tell the direction this country is going and where it will all end. Because, I was in a very mellow mood that day being Christmas, I told my politician friend that things would actually worsen after that time especially with the type of people who we have entrusted to run our affairs.
Look at us now! Have we not become worse than we were at the turn of the year? I moved around town the week before Christmas and things were not as they used to be then. Back in the days, the week leading to Christmas was a time of joy and a time to spoil friends and family. Mayiye, our good bartender at Ndirande Ma Flats where I often slake my thirsting spirit told me that when she was still lithe, December was always time people would drink and make merry. I told her that perhaps the mood has only changed because people have become prudent and would not waste their pennies anyhow as they used to in the past. But after moments of reflection, it dawned on me that it is not easy these days to celebrate. Lives have become harder these days.
One of my friends owns a barber shop and the other day, he told me that for close to 10 months, he has had no more than five customers on a day. He said, sometimes, sadly, three days go without him having any client because of the blackouts that have become a pain in the wrong place to most Malawians.
My quick thought was on people whose bread depends on electricity. Obviously, these people have been deprived of a source of income and their lives have become miserable.
Now, we are talking about a people who are livid because all that made their lives worth it had been taken away. It is inanity of the highest degree to think that people would be celebrating when their lives have lost some meaning. You would expect some raw anger and all you have to wait for is when that reticent anger will come out.
The year that is ending has not been the best for most Malawians even those on high paying jobs. Life has become a struggle and normally it is only silly to think that someone would be happy with it and remain calm. I know Malawians have a reputation of longsuffering and they will take everything without exploding. But this cannot last forever.
I find it absolutely demeaning that a normal human being would think some of us who prefer telling things as they are have an aversion to some political party or a love for another. The truth which we all can see is that this country is in a mess and needs redemption and that redemption must come fast.
What, of course, hurts is that there seems to be no signs of salvation from the political space. You can easily tell from the way, of a sudden, Members of Parliament started getting into strange alliances when it was all about defeating the Electoral Reforms Amendment Bills that were clearly a solution to our electoral mess.
This country is in serious need of sacrifices if at all we have to make sense. Christmas, as I said earlier, is here and the year is fast folding its mat to pave the way for the next. But looking back the feeling that we have is that with the current leadership and even the opposition, as we are moving to the next year is just like the proverbial jumping from a frying pan into the fire.

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