ColumnsHitting The Nail

What was the fuss all about?


The only sensible thing that was done during the 51st Independence Anniversary celebrations this week were the prayers on Sunday at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.

The rest of the jamboree was not necessary as it reflected a country dead on priorities and desperately in need of redemption for its own sake.

But before I expand on this, I must admit the clergy at Comesa did not disappoint as they used the occasion to give a true reflection of a country enmeshed in self inflicted myriad of problems amid rampant poverty.


I was particularly impressed with how Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre Archdiocese was able to use the story of Joseph to illustrate how tribalism and regionalism is tearing apart our country as people in the DPP government are not appointed to public positions on merit but based on where they come from.

The archbishop contrasted this with how King Pharoah appointed Joseph, a slave, to an important post of overseeing production of food during the seven bountiful years to cover the following seven lean years just as this son of Jacob had interpreted the dream of the Egyptian leader.

The result was that the people were saved from hunger. Is this not the opposite of what DPP government is doing? Has it not shamelessly said it sees nothing wrong with over half of the Cabinet coming from the Southern Region because it got most of its votes from there despite the fact that everybody from Mchinji to Nkhotakota and Chitipa to Nsanje pays tax?


The archbishop was spot on. We need our religious leaders to speak the truth without regard to who is listening and where.

To me the anniversary should have ended there and then.

The rest of what followed was a shameless flaunting of display of mightiness which we don’t have and don’t deserve and in the course blew K300 million of taxpayers’ money at a time when civil servants were still not paid.

The cost was more actually as other attendant expenditures and incidentals were not considered in the estimates and it happens all the time.

That this was an affront to the majority poor in this country is an understatement. Did we need to ferry and feed all those people that filled up Kamuzu Stadium from all parts to Blantyre just to engage in elaborate dances and displays for the entertainment of President Peter Mutharika and his visitors on the pretext of celebrating independence?

Was it necessary for all of them to then troop to Sanjika Palace in the evening to wine and dine on expensive lobster, caviar and wash it down with expensive champagne just to celebrate 51 years of poverty after independence?

I cry for a day when our leaders shall fully get it that this country is poor and then side with the poor both in their behaviour and actions.

The funny part is that as our leaders were feasting on a sumptuous meal of exotic foods, yet another report came out this week, showing that Malawi anchors the table, to use sports parlance, when it comes to poverty in the whole world.

As a Malawian, I feel awful. I doubt if our leaders feel the same as they sound and behave different.

There was nothing to celebrate about. The date of 6 July should be a day of sorrow and mourning for the mess we have made of independence from Britain 51 years ago in that it has not brought improvement in the lives of our people.

Don’t our leaders know that the majority of Malawians can’t afford even a bar of maluwa soap? That when they fall sick, they die like flies as there are no drugs in hospitals? That they have no access to safe water?

I can go on writing until the Sun is set in the West on how poverty is ravaging poor Malawians but my point is, there was no need for any fuss this week.

Common sense, which may not be common these days, indicates that you only celebrate when there is something good to celebrate about. Poverty is not worthy celebrating or is it?

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