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Transient terror by landlords of hell

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By Madalitso Musa:

Those who have nothing

But guns for the hungry

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And think of nothing but

Death and dying, let them

Spend our Earth’s fortune

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Harvesting blood from the

Fields of war

But the last banquet shall

Be their children’s children’s blood

—Kofi Anyidoho

IN PAIN—Kalindo after the alleged attack

The gruesome murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, by suspected Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s operatives is a bloody reminder of how bad leaders and governments shudder with rage at critics.

Khashoggi’s only sin to become a case of one of the most stomach-churning murders in history was to see the Saudi Arabian government with different optics. Nothing else.

The club of Draconian leaders and oppressive governments has throughout history used intimidation and terror on people who are labeled subversive. Ken Saro Wiwa of Nigeria was dispatched to an early grave by the monstrous dictator Sani Abacha while Gele Diwa, a journalist, was murdered by a scheme of former Nigerian dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, simply for being critics. The list is long.

Adolf Hitler of Germany used his Nazi Youth to exterminate Jews, Benito Mussolini unleashed his Fascist thugs to terrorise opponents. Not far from home in South Africa during Apartheid, whites used oppressive laws and intimidation and violence to push natives into submission.

The rule is simple and engraved in marble: If they do not agree with us, they are enemies and must be beaten up, or even killed. And that is exactly what is happening here at home.

Few months to an anticipated tight election in record time, Malawi has been turned into a lawless war zone where savagery and brutality have become convenient tactics to intimidate and harass people who have refused to toe the ruling party’s political line.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has, however, always denied responsibility of such attacks on critics or those on the other side of the political divide with the usual air of hubris and sense of impunity.

Even Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi, instead of owning responsibility of security lapses in the country, all he can offer as a solution to these acts of brazen brutality is his irritating gobbledygook. By the end of the day, the thugs are still free and continue with gory intentions pursuing people who are not in good taste with the government.

What is more frightening and disturbing is that the agency we are supposed to call police is behaving like rats scuttling in the undergrowth and peeping through tiny spaces while the sponsored thugs are unleashing terror on people. After people are beaten up, the farthest the police go is the usual drab and nonchalant “we are investigating the incident” refrain.

The supersonic speed at which the police act on those on the opposition side of government even on petty issues, and the chameleon pace they take when the wrongdoers are connected to the ruling party, easily tell how biased the police are.

Failing to provide security to people regardless of political affiliation is a serious and dangerous abrogation of duty by police. Serious because these are people failing to do what they are paid to do. Dangerous because by looking away while people are being attacked simply means the police do not care anymore about protecting lives of people. why, then, do we have the police?

If people terrorising Malawians are not apprehended, soon the harvest will be fatal.

There is a lot at stake in the next elections and the police must be aware of that. The prospect of some people losing business, some losing jobs, the plush vehicles and massive property they got by virtue of political connections would tempt one to employ any means, even killing, to protect what they have.

On the other hand, when those on the other side see opportunities that come with being “in government”, they too would do everything in the book to have a share of the national cake.

The truth that we must all contend with is that these are critical times. Now, what is apprehensive as we run towards the polls is that the political violence, if not sorted out now, might escalate into bloody affairs. Lives might even be lost.

What should be known and must never be ignored is that people cannot always allow to be victims of fellow mortals whose only protection is being close to power. My biggest fear is that when people start reacting to violence with violence we may end up one day picking up from pools of blood shards of what we used to call a nation.

VICTIM OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE—Govati

But those who live under the illusion that their power is eternal and, so, they have the right to terrorise people should take a glance in the mirrors of time. From there, those whose brains and humanity have not been suspended to the rafters of political bigotry and jingoism will learn that the only permanent thing in life is change.

Has it not happened in this country that those who comfortably lived in ivory towers and thought they were some demigods slipped into oblivion overnight and all their power was gone?

Life has a way of changing our fortunes. There is always the interesting part of reversal of orders. When you step in water some water rises over your feet, and when you put water on a fire, the water is heated and when the same water that has been heated by fire pours on the fire, the fire is doused and becomes the victim of the same water it heated.

Let me end as I began:

Those who have nothing

But guns for the hungry

And think of nothing but

Death and dying, let them

Spend our Earth’s fortune

Harvesting blood from the

Fields of war

But the last banquet shall

Be their children’s children’s blood

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