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No room for violence

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Puludzu

What happened in Lilongwe on February 19, at a planned Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presser (whether real or staged), is something that no sane man or woman would wish upon anyone, more especially now when we are trying so much to enculture issue-based type of politics and not the retrogressive kind which is synonymous with mud-slinging and violence.

Just to quickly re-jog your memory, some officials of the former ruling party, namely spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira, administrative secretary Francis Mphepo and national organising secretary Chimwemwe Chipungu were waylaid by a bunch of ruffians just as they were about to start addressing journalists in the capital. In a typical Kung-fu style, one of the bouncers (they call them paudala or dziphona in the neighbourhood) unleashed a blow that missed the DPP spokesperson by a whisker. We are told that Mphepo had to run from it and sought refuge in a ditch after noting that it was raining blows and all. Just like everybody else, I equally believed that this was a chapter of Malawian politics we did away with but, clearly, that was just an illusion.

While condemning these savagery acts, I am not oblivious of the fact that DPP has been associated with such behaviour in the past, with its party Cadets at one point brandishing pangas along Victoria Avenue in Blantyre, threatening to deal with anyone and anything that stood in their way. Is it not ironic now that things have taken a different turn amid the infighting that has lately characterised the party?

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Since the day when these officials were forced to take cover; only to re-appear elsewhere a few hours later with accusations directed towards the party’s estranged vice president for the South Kondwani Nankhumwa, people on social media have come up with a lot of theories as regards to who sent the hoodlums to attack the three.

One school of thought has it that the entire attack thing was well-choreographed and the masterminds were none other than the victims themselves. Well, we are not in the business of speculation and I was really hoping that the trio would make good of proclamations that it would lodge a formal complaint, probably with State security agencies, so that the suspects can be rounded up and the matter investigated but, seven days later, we have not seen anything to that effect.

Let me, however, hasten to add that most of our politicians are usually at the forefront perpetuating violence and using the youth to carry out such barbaric schemes, hence it becomes a little difficult to distinguish personalities when things happen the way they did last Friday. This is why a stanza lifted off Lucius Banda’s song, ‘Mtengo’, would be a perfect reminder to our politicians;

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Mukufuula mokweza, kupenya uku ndi uku,

mukufuna oleletsa komatu palibe abwere

Chitedze munadzala yakwana nthawi yokolora

Lero zasolobana ng’ombe zayang’ana ngolo

Aneba ankalira inu mwana akundibera uyu

Ankamenya amnzake, munkati nchimwana champhamvu!

Lero chimwana champhamvu chayamba kuonetsa luso

Mukulira mwanayo, chikwanje akufuna kukuphani.

Of job creation

One of the trump cards that brought the Tonse Alliance much needed glory when it mattered most during the June 23 2020 presidential election was the promise to create at least one million jobs for Malawians in its first year.

Eight months down the line, there seems to be minimal movement on the job creation aspect, much to the disappointment of those who were agitating for such opportunities.

I really think the leadership ought to think outside the box in the face of the pandemic that is upon us. Instead of wasting precious resources such as the K6.2 billion on those magnanimous allowances for some officials, the government would have empowered communities through deals with, say, tailors to produce cloth masks for mass distribution. In such a venture, others would be tasked with providing textiles. Most young people have already shown their entrepreneurial prowess and all they need is a little push to kick-start something big that can no doubt inject more life into our economy.

We have innovative young minds in institutions such as Malawi University of Science and Technology, who have developed machines to aid hand-sanitising and other activities but, sadly, instead of rendering them support by giving them business, Capital Hill was busy entrusting Covid money with to public officials who have proven to all and sundry exactly what they are good at; resource-plundering.

Typical of our systems, even teachers were equally up in arms this week, making it clear to Capital Hill that they would not pick up the chalk and offer lessons to learners in class unless they were given a piece of the pie in form of Covid-19 risk allowances. What a funny world we are living in!

Everything aside, the Tonse-led administration must find a way through which some of the promises it made to Malawians can be fulfilled. The Affordable Inputs Programme is but just a drop in the ocean; there is a lot to be done.

stevedakalira@ymail.com

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