Tongue-tied tongue


The tongue is the mother of all capabilities.

It can, at once, make dance the hardest of hearts.

It can, at its best, bring people together.


In fact, at poetry festivals and such other places, it brings people from all hamlets together and, then, spins them into the greatest realms of the imagination which words create.

The same tongue can, within seconds, put asunder everything that people worked so hard to create.

In Rwanda, some loose tongue, employed on one willing radio station, led to one conflict and another and another and… genocide.


That is the tongue at its worst.

There are countless cases of the tongue working as fuel for the fire of human misunderstanding.

But, then, tongues do not go about building or destroying by themselves. Far from it.

They are merely transmission belts; which merely provide the pathway for things hidden in the hearts and such other places so that, at the behest of the mouth ‘animal’, they can come alive.

And the hidden things may be disguised in myriad ways. They can come as a sermon. They can come as some sweet-talk turned sour.

So many ways.

And, where other souls clothed in our bodies of clay are injured, people may end up meeting at some District Commissioner’s place.

You see. Tongues can come in many ways. The tongue can grow legs; even the very legs that take one to a Lilongwe-based public servant’s place.

It is the tongue; remember.

In fact, it is the tongue that has given people the mantle of power.

Less than two years ago, for example, and swayed by the movements of the tongue, Malawians were puffed up with hope. They had been rendered that breathless because of the painful journey they were made to travel, literally.

Walking on the pebbles of blue sand made it worse.

I mean, the superciliousness. The sheer insolence. The impunity.

Malawians had to run the painful run of democracy, a run powered by an independent Judiciary and unrelenting democratic partners.

As it were, this orb is something else; it is strewn with an array of perplexities. No wonder, it is unpredictable. The winners of tomorrow are the losers of today.

Ironically, the winners of today are fast tracking their fall.

It is easy to know that. To begin with, they, somehow, seem to have grown wings; so far-reaching are the wings that, when well-meaning Malawians point at the wrongs, they are treated as ridiculers.

And, yet, the follies they abhor are a genuine thorn in the flesh.

Take, for instance, the problem of drug shortage. It has become part of our DNA.

What has happened now? There are no drugs in public hospitals.

Health officials have been acknowledging that drug shortages have become the order of the day because Local Government officials had been under-budgeting, leading to the shortage of medicines in health facilities.

Maybe it is high time lawmakers started mobilising resources, notably utilising Constituency Development Fund, as one of the solutions to the problem.

After all, the Decentralisation Policy empowers local councils to do the needful, instead of waiting on the government.

When one points this out, they are taken as messengers of bad news.

In fact, taxes have become another burden on the citizenry.

This is why Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) recently weighed in on the issue of pains Malawians are enduring.

CCJP lost patience with those that are presiding over our national affairs and, in this vein, described the state of the nation as that of hopelessness, lack of direction and betrayal.

The commission felt that the current administration has betrayed Malawians who voted it into power because it has failed to deliver on its flowery promises that included taking the people out of dehumanising levels of poverty.

It further said the country is in hopeless mode because it lacks decisive leadership, faulting current leaders for failing to walk the talk politically.

The commission faulted the government for its failure to address seven areas, including social protection amid the rising cost of living, shortage of drugs in public healthcare service facilities, uncertainty over implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme, delays in procurement of maize by the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, fuel procurement mess at the National Oil Company of Malawi.

But, then, we are in this situation because of the tongue. The tongue, Dear Pain, can hurt.

The tongue can attract a fine of goats. The tongue.

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