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Mbene’s welcome

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When, for the first time in 2018, Mbene Mwambene landed in Malawi, the attitude was positive, almost celebratory. To a fault.

Mbene forgot, maybe his memories got drowned in the river of excitement— the excitement that comes with visiting a foreign country, acting in that foreign country and, then, becoming a part of the education system of that country, before going back home. If you get what I mean.

Mbene, the self-confessed Manchester United fan, is pursuing master’s studies, which is good because, when the learning is over, he will be able to impart the knowledge in Malawian youths and all those disposed to learning.

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Now, the fault in Mbene’s celebrations comes in because, somehow, the pint-sized actor— among the many things he is— forgot all the trouble associated with the provision of public services in Malawi.

When we have been crying wolf over persistent power outages, Mbene was exposed to all the electric energy he needed in Switzerland. Here

is a land where, for every second that a power outage ‘visits’ the people, those responsible have to run full-page adverts in newspapers for four consecutive days. Yes, four consecutive days of apologising to consumers in newspapers.

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Those entrusted with the task of supplying power to that country know that they have no job if they cannot provide power to consumers. So, if there is a power outage, they concoct words that help those negatively affected to cool down.

Surely, I will not be surprised one of these days when, after visiting the people of Switzerland with a power supply shortage, the suppliers run a message like this: “Good people, remember that we, here at the electricity supply company, are your daughters and sons. You know how daughters and sons behave; sometimes they are not as careful. But, then, we are your sons and daughters and, please, please, please, please, look at us [forgetting that it’s a newspaper advert! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!] …”

This is to say, elsewhere, service delivery is taken seriously.

But, as Mbene were to discover no sooner than he had settled down here, this does not apply in Malawi.

The actor, known for ‘The Story of the Tiger’, had a trip to the Northern Part of Malawi. And, knowing that failing to plan is preparing to fail, he booked a seat in—not a plane this time around but— a bus.

Well, in Mbene’s account— and if we can trust an actor anyway, Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!—workers at the bus company told him that there was no need for him to buy a ticket in advance. There would be space for him in the bus, he was told!

Now, that surprises me. Does an actor trust anyone? To say the truth, some people like it when they joke at the joker’s expense. What more when the joker at whose expense you have to joke is Mbene? It must be fun! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

So, the people at the bus company decided to joke at Mbene’s expense. They made fun of him by making sure that he missed a seat on the bus.

The bus came loaded with passengers who did not care about Mbene, save for a few seats. And, so, the ‘boy’ had to miss the trip to the Northern Region and he fumed. And where did he fume? Facebook!

Nobody takes Facebook seriously here, Mbene! Maybe Switzerland! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Now, joking like this, at the joker’s expense, is comic relief!

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