Who is regulating water transport?


This was another heavy week for Malawi as tragedy once again struck after a canoe capsized in Nsanje District at Mtayamoyo on Shire River. Apparently, it was hit by a Hippo. By Wednesday afternoon, the number of those that died had risen to six, including the body of a year old child which was the first to be recovered. My heart bleeds for the departed innocent souls and all those that might have been injured during the accident. Their only crime was to try and be self-sufficient as we are told they were destined for their farms on the Mozambican side. Many of them were bread winners for their respective families and it will be a daunting task for these families to pick up the pieces.

Never mind that this particular accident was triggered by a Hippopotamus but I could not help it, I just had to reflect on a number of aspects that led me to the following questions: Do we really have any institution that is seriously regulating water transport in this country, that is to say, determining what vessels should or should not find their way on the rivers and lakes in our country? How secure are we, especially when it comes to vessels plying on water bodies that are bordering other countries, as was the case in this instance where people were heading to Mozambique on a canoe?

Had it not been for the accident, no one would have even cared or remembered that there are people that rely on unconventional ways of travel on the water bodies that we have in this country of ours. You just need to look at how ancient our main vessel, Ilala, is and you would realise that we are not serious about water transport as a country and it will be ages before we realise that through serious investment in water transport, we could have saved unnecessary costs for some of the cargo that we ship in via road transport.


Once we sober up, we will begin to address such matters. May the souls of the departed rest in peace and may God comfort their families.


30 years and more


Once upon a time the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) was a very promising and thriving party. If I am not mistaken, it had over 30 legislators and their presence could be felt both in and out of Parliament. How they went from being one of the influential parties that helped oversee the wind of change in the country to being at the periphery of the political circle we will never know. Now it stands a complete shadow of its former self, with a sole legislator here and there as the cycle of elections keeps turning. The party’s founder, late Chakufwa Thom Chihana could be turning in his grave due to the state that the party is in. I am mindful of course of the fact that even during the time he was very much alive, he faced leadership struggles in the party but it was still a force to reckon with.

And 30 years it has clocked now under the democratic dispensation that it so much helped to champion…well, here we are; the Aford leadership has all of a sudden realised that having tried partnerships with other parties, including the Tonse Alliance, it has been getting a raw deal and as such this time it will go alone in the 2025 general elections.

They might of course have their legitimate reasons and good luck with the course. I happen to have met and interacted with a good number of Aford fanatics who strongly believe that the days of glory for the party are not past yet.

I therefore have reason to believe that this rejuvenation drive is sincere and can only hope that it is not in any way out of frustration. For a long time we have seen political party masters taking their parties as if they were personal estates to an extent that they use the same as a bargaining chip every time an election beckons.

Did I hear somebody say if they were indeed in an alliance then they would have, by now, been given a ministerial portfolio? If indeed that were the case then that is totally gross. From my end, all I see is an element of greed that is synonymous with almost all politicians in this country. If they do not get a seat at the table to ‘eat’ or indeed if there are no crumbs falling on their lap from the table, most of them end up getting filled with bitterness and in one way or the other it ends up clouding their judgement.

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