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Stuffing the mind with nothing

Dear Pain

The wheel of time must be dotted with many spots of significance for people like you and me.

If not, why do we find ourselves swimming with the tide in one moment and, in another moment, swimming against it; or, rather, the tide confronts us?

It is all about time and the spot-of-the-wheel that relates to that given point in time.

But, then, this only applies to those that believe in pre-ordination.

I would not be surprised to learn that the ‘pre-ordination’ type is the superstitious type. After all, such people are always looking for a scapegoat so that their lives can remain unsullied from realities, especially unpleasant ones.

They want to find a way to feel good; an excuse to find a means to point a finger at others.

No wonder, as the AfroBarometer people have put it— after gauging people’s perceptions of withcraft in the country— they have summarised that 90 percent of people in the Northern Region believe in the existence of witchcraft, with 83 percent of people in the Southern Region wallowing in similar thoughts. In the Central Region of this country of the lake, 73 percent of the people believe in witchcraft.

Instead of scheming plans that would uplift this country from the pit of under-development, they waste the time on fingering out who can be a witch or not.

This, Dear Pain, could be one of the reasons we have spent a good part of post-independence years walking in the dark. Literally.

As we walk in the dark, we cannot see that our roads are getting speckled with potholes.

In our moment of perpetual darkness, Dear Pain, we cannot see that politics is largely to blame for our state of affairs. I mean, political bootlickers are given contracts as payback and the results are there for all to see.

This week, President Lazarus Chakwera was in Dedza District, where he expressed dismay at poor workmanship on roads, some of which were commissioned six months ago but have already ‘grown’ potholes.

How can that be? Do not bother, Malawians have been walking aimlessly in the dark all this long, just that the darkness ‘grew’ in thickness after 1994, when nepotism, corruption, theft, criminal acts, and what have you, reached a new crescendo.

It is then that we started talking about poor workmanship on the roads. Blame it on the hand-out syndrome. All people want, at least the majority of them, is to do an easy job but get paid a fortune.

As such, the country is littered with embarrassing roads, uncompleted school blocks, ramshackle airports christened ‘international’ and what have you.

It is an undesirable state; one fertilised by wayward thinking.

Instead of putting hands to the wheel, the citizenry wastes it on thinking about something that amounts to nothing.

This attitude spills to national development blueprints. That Malawians are good at formulating documents and bad at executing what is put therein is common knowledge.

It stems from the fact that Malawians spend more time ‘thinking’ about this and that nothing— I mean, many are people who waste time pointing at those who are doing better than them and accusing them of practicing witchcraft instead of scheming their way out of the resource-constraints pit.

Instead of thinking about how to cover 90 percent of the Northern Region with infrastructure, 90 percent of the people there would rather believe in things to do with witchcraft.

Instead of thinking about how to deal with the problem of crop infestation in the Southern Region— we still have the Fall Armyworm and, in terms of bananas, Banana Bunchy Top Disease— 83 percent of the people would rather think about witchcraft than farming, entrepreneurship and what have you.

In fact, instead of thinking about how to diversify in the crop production sector— tobacco has overstayed its welcome in the world, cotton is losing steam and we have had too much of nsima— 73 percent of people in the Central Region would rather think about who is bewitching who.

This, Dear Pain, means we need a mental switch so that, in no time, we can learn to start thinking about things that matter.

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