The small axe


If you are the big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down, to cut you down!” – Bob Marley

Leaders are sent by God, so we believe. Of course that is what we hear from the preacher men who do the needful when given the chance to pray in the presence of the president.

What happens for countries to have wrong leaders then? Those who do not feel the pain of the common man? Quite surprising that the common man toils everyday to keep the system rolling yet it is the very system that rebuffs the common man.


Surely, what cannot be disputed is the fact that ordinary people vote for their president in our so-called democracy. The likelihood that you will choose someone who is not born a leader is likely in democracies where everyone is allowed to choose their leader.

You see, one man can promise shoes and the voters will sell their future because of likelihood of possessing a pair of shoes for the first time in their life. In our democracy, we cannot vote for someone who will make our lives better so that one day we should afford to buy our own shoes.

The big people have occupied their place and it will be impossible to wrest the power from them using the ballot. Surely, a common man sees the problems in different colours; it is either blue or yellow. What is obvious is that we lack a common purpose.


The only way to make the county better is to give our children a common purpose. That common purpose will be in form of small axes. The thinking behind a small axe is that no matter how huge the challenges are, a small axe will slowly bring down that challenge.

So significant today is Bob Marley’s ‘Small Axe’ from the 1973 Burnin’ album. Malawi has struggled to deal with its challenges because our children are born in a corrupt system and it will be difficult to change the situation if we do not tell the children the truth.

Although it sounds Biblical, it will take the few righteous people who will slowly but surely, take out the big corrupt ones. Are we teaching our children to be that small axe?

The fallacy of democracy as a catalyst to development is obvious. The participation of the poor in decision making is affected by their poverty that is why governments would want to maintain the status quo. That’s how they remain in power. Vulnerable people would easily make irrational decisions and unfortunately, such decisions are very clear during elections.

If democracy were indeed functional, we could see politicians falling in the pit they dig. The act of digging a pit is similar to taxes on water, electricity and bread. Surely, this will be hugely felt by the common man but if we were brave enough, we can avoid falling in it.

The year 2019 would be the perfect year for politicians to fall in that pit. But since we cannot become the small axe that we desire to be, perhaps the only gift we can give our children is to let them be that small axe. Maybe that is the only way to rid our society of the evil that has haunted us.

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