ColumnsHitting The Nail

The folly of praying for rain


In the truest spirit of this column I will, like a hot knife on butter, sift through the arguments and come straight to the point as regards the idea that government can gather religious leaders of all shades in Lilongwe to pray for water for our rain-fed agriculture.

That gathering in Lilongwe was a classic example in the exercise of futility as it wasted scant resources that this country badly needs and, of course, everybody’s time.

In case some of you, dear readers, are left mouth agape, wondering what I am up to, let me make a declaration. I am a Christian, though not a good one, but a believer all the same.


To put it more succinctly, I believe that when we supplicate to God, he answers us.

But the same belief in God teaches me that you do not insult Him or waste His time by praying for things that He has already bestowed upon you. It is an exercise in futility, I repeat.

God bequeathed to us a beautiful country called Malawi. It had everything including trees that helped bring rain that filled up our rivers and lakes year in, year out.


But what did we do with it? We made sure we cut all the trees as we grew a crop that no one likes in the world— tobacco.

The rain is no longer falling and we think God will give it to us by praying when in the first place we have destroyed the very system that brought it.

As if to add salt to a gaping injury, we insult God further in Lilongwe.

After destroying the beautiful system that worked so well in sync to bring rain, we turn to Him again to give us more water to grow crops yet we already have the water in abundance.

Those who study our country’s geography tell us that its huge chunk is taken up by Lake Malawi. It runs almost the length of this country all the way from Karonga up North, passing through the Central Region in Nkhotakota and Salima down to Mangochi in the South.

The lake has a big tributary in Shire River which runs through the Lower Shire, all the way to Zambezi.

This water goes to waste as it flows throughout this country.

Can somebody tell me why God should give us more water in form of rain so we can grow food to feed every mouth?

The problem is us and not God. Malawi is a country that is not creative in fields that matter. Malawi is a country whose leaders have no iota of determination and stamina to do the things that matter.

Malawi is a country whose citizens accept mediocrity of leadership and accept every excuse that the leaders throw on them in an attempt to stop working on things that matter.

So much money has been poured into this country from all manner of donors since time immemorial and the question that goes begging is why didn’t someone think of developing a robust irrigation system that takes advantage of the water the country already has to produce food all year around?

This is doable and other countries in worse geographical shapes have done it. Examples are many that if I start mentioning them here, I will go on forever to fill up this whole newspaper.

We are not doing it because we are a hopeless nation and malnourished in leadership that can do it.

The Chinese seem to have excess money that they easily lend out to poor African countries like ours to put up infrastructure and our idea of using their largess is to build mega projects whose value to the nation is questionable.

Do we need that stadium is Lilongwe, for example? What value will it bring when it will just sit most of the time, wasting away?

Imagine if that money was spent on irrigation. Would we be sitting in Lilongwe wasting money to pray to God for rain when we already have water?

What a pathetic lot we are.

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