Monday, September 12, 2011


It is good to be angry
But not to be wise.
It is good to be angry
But not to be blind.

But we want to be angry
It's therapeutic
It makes us easy to manipulate
It makes their puppets
And we are happy to be
And they know it
They know our weakness.

Beware power hungry lions!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Malawian Renaissance: a MUST Philosophy

The stone unveiling for Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo is also the official launching of African Renaissance in the country.

Both President Bingu wa Mutharika and (his brother) the Minister of Education Peter Mutharika intimated an Afro-centric vision inclined to restore the pride of Africanness through the new university.

In his book called The African Renaissance, Washington Okumu emphasises the development of African human resources, culture, science and technology in a tailor-made relevance to the continent’s needs. The principle of African Renaissance is the awakening of self-pride in what is African as the starting point of our endeavours.

In their speeches, the Mutharikas vowed their common dream for the university’s unique role in pursuing Malawi’s scientific and technological goals that inspire cultural pride and our self-belief in us as a capable people. If the university is driven to its goals, it will cultivate the spirit of self-dependence and self-pride which constitute the soul of African Renaissance.

Centralising Malawians and rejecting the dependency syndrome, President Professor Mutharika said “I want you my people to take lead in developing our country.” He echoed the assertion that nobody owes Malawians a living and argued that “We have a moral duty and obligation to get out of poverty.”

Rather than waiting for someone else to come and develop our resources on our behalf, the Malawi leader is quick to underline that “development takes place when people take full control of their resources.” Malawians must be seriously thinking of making the most of what we already have.

The new university is expected to plant a spirit of researching into and developing indigenous resources for a science and technology that remains industrial oriented.

Apart from scientific and industrial engineering, the university will include a special faculty in African Tradition Medicine to enhance indigenous resources and inspire the people’s pride in what we locally have. “This is what makes us African,” Professor Mutharika the President argued.

The uniqueness of the new university lies in its philosophy that science and technology is most relevant and meaningful to people when it involve the people’s wisdom and evolves with their culture. That explains why the Malawi University of Science and Technology will have a robust integration of cultural disciplines.

This is a university of science and technology that will have a School of African Arts because liberal arts and sciences achieve more when they complement each other. The President’s assertive thinking contradicts the ill-informed tendency to over-prioritise sciences while brushing aside arts or humanities as non-developmental.

The President realises that it is through stories (literature) and music that you inspire a people’s pride and self-confidence in doing things, if you really mean to cultivate a producing society. The African Renaissance stresses the importance of culture in complementing science and technology.

Therefore, “We must do more research in African music, literature, theatre politics and democracy. We never learnt democracy from the west, by the time they were designing theirs we already had our own African democracy and Malawi democracy,” Professor Mutharika the President.

The Malawi leader’s thinking echoes the famous 1996 Thabo Mbeki “I am African” speech in which this South African champion of the African Renaissance said: “I am born of a people who are heroes and heroines [...] Whatever the circumstances they have lived through, and because of that experience, they are determined to define for themselves who they are and who they should be.” That is what we are!

Although the heroism and pride of Africa have faded away in our obsession with Western values and history in recent generations, the continent boasts of the longest known culture of great inventions since Egyptian civilisation.

Taking his turn, the Education Minister Professor Peter Mutharika said that it is sad that Africans now rush to Europe for quality education when the world’s first university was built in African. Solution? We must build more universities and develop them to world-class standards. We can do it, we have done it before.

Records show that although schools of advanced learning first appeared in India, it was in Africa where we had the university to offer degrees. This is the continent where the first proper university began.

It was a woman called Fatima Al-Fihri who founded the University of Al-Karaouine at Fes in Morrocco in 859 AD. The Guinness Book of World Records has recorded this as the oldest continuously-operating degree-granting University in the world. It was followed by the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt as the second oldest degree-granting university in the world founded in around 972 AD.

Europe's oldest university was only founded in 1088 in the northern Italian city of Bologna. The United States' oldest university, Harvard, opened in 1636.

Scholars also say some of the earliest great thinkers of ancient Greece, which is now the bedrock of Western civilisation, did their education in Egypt even before these African universities were founded. Now we have used the same Western civilisation to kill our spirit and capacity for civilisation because of an over-dependency syndrome.

We have become copy-cut society and consumers of Western civilisation rather than producers of our civilisation. The more we get our Permanent Head Damages (PhDs) here in the West, the more we risk a cultural genocide.

According to Professor Peter Mutharika, “Some of these degrees that people are getting from oversees are tantamount to academic genocide.” This is an apparent reference to the “cultural genocide” of Western education that has led millions of Africans to assassinate their own values and cultural pride.

Only a people who are proud and confident in themselves are capable of inventing and producing in science and technology. This is the MUST philosophy: the very spirit of African Renaissance at the Malawi University of Science and Technology.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Seasons of Silence

Dear Reader,

It has been a long silence of writing, a period in whic I have been cornered to explain why I write no longer. I have had to make vague noises and excuses that have hardly satisfied those who long to read from me.

But the fact is, I have really been writing - except writing in other forms that may not have been accessible to you. There is a kind of writing that must be called private writing which only become public at a later point.

Then there is the other kind of public writing that instantly must get to public attention because you are commenting on topical issues that cannot wait. But you need to be close to the events if you are to be a relevant writer. Being away from Malawi has not helped me much in this case, and absence from my homeland has partly threatened to suck up pen dry. It really never dried though, and write on this blog, I will.

While I withdraw with promises that I am fanning the flames of this blog again, I can only say "So long." Farewell never!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Laws of Anarchy

The backbone of morality is cracking under the weight of legality all over today. Even this is a foolish begining of an article because it is no longer possible to agree on what is moral or not.

Yet, what is legal is easily agreed upon. We open that holy book called Constitution, locate chapter and verse. But Constitutions are born out of a people's code of morality, whatever that means.

The Credit Crunch has just revealed some of the worst evils of the Western society and its erstwhile extremes of capitalism.

One man became so rich that when his businesses began to collapse, several countries in South America and the Carribbean had their entire economies seriously threatened. Just one man holding the fate of so many souls.

The British authorities are now spending sleepless nights trying to save the sinking ship of the hitherto giant economy. You can see the anguish of the inner souls all over the face of those who are losing jobs.

The British Government has had to "borrow" public money pump billions of Pounds into the banking system where this vicious cycle of a mess began. They have to save banks from collapsing in order to save the economy.

But this has not stopped innocent members of the public who have sacrificed their tax money from losing their jobs and assets. Yes, Gordon Brown or Barack Obama are effectively borrowing this public money because the public patiently awaits on trust to be repaid by restoring market confidence and rebounding the economy.

Everyone has spoken. And we are told the commercial banks got us into this mess. Yet, the former boss of Royal Bank of Scotland is set to receive a collosal bonus of 690,000 pounds per annum for the rest of his life -- a package for an early retirement after leading the bank to historic losses.

This is public money just pumped into the bank. But the argument is simple. It is legally bound in an agreement. It does not matter that it is immoral to take such a collosal sum of meoney from the suffering public.

But the story is all over. Malawi's former president Bakili Muluzi led the country into chaos when physical, economical and social infrastructure broke down. If Muluzi was still in power today, Malawi should have been second to Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe by now. Now he has been figetting to come back to power.

The real question is not whether Muluzi can or cannot stand. The real question is whether he should stand at all because we all know what he did to the country besides the framers of the Constitution having intended to restrain power-hungry politicians from haunting thrones like the Abiku or the Ogbanje of Things Fall Apart.

These are the questions which the media and the civil society in Malawi should have been championing. But both the media and the civil easily get unconsciously manipulated into sympathy for the opposition. And so, they gloss over the real questions.

But the arguement is again simple. Is he legally allowed to stand by the Constitution or not. But who said legality is everything we must venerate at the cost of the suffering souls of the many?

One of the most dangerous distroyer of the modern society is the lawyer who cashes his living on the crimes of others. Many people who join the Law do so for money today. Compare with the spirit with which people join teaching.

It is an outright shame that the Law has lost its moral mission today. The good Lawyer becomes the first person to desecrate the Constitution. The Constitution is imagined with every well-meaning intention for the good of many except say the South African Apartheid Constitution that was made to commit evils against the many.

But when the Constitution enters the Court, it is reduced to a matter of debate. The cunning Lawyer gets away with it. This is our real problem in Malawi.

Our modern world is legally fueling anarchy because we have begun to live where anything is becoming possible as long as it is either legal, or it has failed to be proved illegal. Legality has become the law of anarchy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Opposition Backbone Cracks in Malawi

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President John Tembo has handpicked semi-UDF Brown Mpinganjira for his presidential running mate. Deep divisions both in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and MCP have followed.

It was first the Opposition’s one voice, one war against five consecutive annual national budgets in a relentless political storm against their government and people’s interests. Now the Opposition is wrecked after the storm on the seashore of betrayal, confusion and anarchy. The rest is political drama of a deep tragic measure.

Trusted but cunning Mpinganjira betrays UDF Chairman Bakili Muluzi while Tembo drags “a political stranger” to MCP without knowledge of the party leadership. At the same time, Tembo also betrays Muluzi who was counting on an MCP-UDF alliance to dislodge incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika.

As the drama unfolds, all those once touted in town as UDF alliance members have also picked their nomination papers from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to try their luck on May 19 elections. This means besides Brown Mpinganjira – Gwanda Chakwamba, Ralph Kasambara and Kamlepo Kaluwa are not fighting with Muluzi. He is betrayed!

It may look like the hasty sandwiching together of Mpinganjira and Tembo is icing the cake for the MCP-UDF alliance. It is not. Muluzi was unaware of Mpinganjira’s intentions.

Two weeks ago in Mulanje, Mpinganjira announced his “unquestionable loyalty” to Muluzi. Those who listen to memory remembered that Mpinganjira spoke exactly the same way just before ditching UDF to form his National Alliance for Democracy. This is how Mpinganjira fools others, and this is a character Tembo is blind about.

Mpinganjira knows he cannot lead Malawi in 2009 because it is extremely difficult to defeat a candidate who is a sitting President. He is paving his way to power in 2014 because that will be what is called an open term when there is no sitting president contesting. Mpinganjira’s thinking and strategy is to frustrate the Opposition old guards and clear them out of the way in his political press-ups towards 2014 elections after Bingu wa Mutharika. This is what people may never of Mpinganjira.

Muluzi himself never really knew Mpinganjira, and he never probably learnt any lesson from history. “My loyalty to Muluzi is unquestionable,” and he quits him. That is why Muluzi may never recover from the shock of this betrayal both psychologically and politically.

It was at the same Mulanje rally that Mpinganjira reminded Muluzi never to forget that “it was the Sapitwa region that first asked you to stand again.” Yes, they first asked Muluzi in writing to return to power against the Malawi Constitution. And that is revealing.

It was the work of Mpinganjira – the masterminder of “Muluzi’s Come Back” to poison Muluzi with politically acidic advice that would wreck him to political shreds so that Muluzi must be buried right on the political stage. Mpinganjira’s support will go with NDA officials who infiltrated UDF and those bigwigs who want Muluzi to quit the stage for younger generations. That is why this drama is a tragedy for Muluzi and those who believed in his coming back.

John Tembo calculated on the division and betrayal in UDF. Tembo believes that by picking Mpinganjira who comes from Mutharika’s political stronghold, he will sway the President’s voters where they are strongest. Unfortunately, Mpinganjira does not own any significant political podium of his own in the Lomwe belt. He has only quietly played the betrayed Muluzi’s political child with a waiting tactic. Will Mpinganjira speak to the Democratic Progressive Party stronghold with the voice of the UDF where it lost roots? Will he import MCP where it does not exist three and half months to elections? And what is Tembo’s political wisdom?

But Tembo’s move has equally generated animosity inside MCP. Already, Speaker Louis Chimango, Bester Majoni and the Lilongwe MCP stronghold opposed the bluff of the MCP-UDF alliance. That is why Majoni’s fall during primary elections was stage-managed and Chimango has his own chiefs turned loose upon him suddenly. Tembo was out to punish those that opposed his intention to sell the MCP to Muluzi.

This time around, Tembo never consulted the MCP leaders of the Lilongwe party stronghold. They also are betrayed. As we go to press, there is a Consultative Process Meeting underground to chart how best to respond to Tembo’s undemocratic move that frustrates MCP potential and clean leaders. The division is deep and Tembo may not like the frustrated response of those capable Malawians he has undermined for so long under him.

It is all chaos and betrayal in the Opposition as presidential candidates fill in their nomination forms heading for May elections. There is no such time for them to get organized. The confusion and betrayals dishearten voters and faithfuls who look for straight-forward leaders. Is this collapsing of the Opposition an opportunity for Bingu wa Mutharika?

Friday, January 16, 2009

An Interview with Muluzi

When the Chief Reporter for Malawi News opened the media door for Muluzi to give a “Special Interview” on 3 January 2009, Muluzi was clear that his ambition to stand again has everything to with himself and his party and little to do with Malawi as a country.

“We had as a party taken a move for transition for Dr. Mutharika and I was not in the equation for coming back. I would like this very clear. It was only when Dr. Mutharika left the UDF and even went further to form his own party. That threatened my party,” says Muluzi.

The worst fear is confirmed. It is all about bitterness, revenge and a war to save the face of the wounded party. This is what Malawi’s critical voices have said all along. I remember the University of Malawi Bright Molande’s “Candle Burning in the Storm” insisting on revenge and bitterness as the real motives and cause of Muluzi’s political behaviour, that the rest are mere excuses and propaganda springboards.

What is more to it? Muluzi has also awoken to the fact that his bulldozing style of leadership has consistently killed the party. He has lost the legacy and he feels he cannot retire from politics in that mess.

“There is no way I am going to leave the UDF now in such a state of affairs. Let me be here. I went to the people and said UDF vote for this man. Do you think people will trust me again? … For me to say I will give you another person again. No.”

One reads in the interview the deep fear retiring without honour, without legacy, the fear of descending into political oblivion. His last dream in the equation of coming back is to project the last image of leadership before his party. It is the loss of trust of his followers that eats Muluzi up, inwardly. It is the man’s inward war of the soul to restore lost trust that completes his equation of coming back. In the way Muluzi speaks, it is first all about himself, and second his party, and nothing really to do taking Malawi anywhere forward.

Here, Muluzi speaks with a patronizing attitude when he speaks giving his party a leader as though the party has not matured to the democracy of collectively deciding its own leadership. One may find this attitude an insult to many intelligent members of the party and those who trully love democratic principles within.

Elsewhere, Muluzi is a desperate man who will do anything to exact his vengeance upon Bingu wa Mutharika. That is why he is entering a political alliance with MCP. This political marriage of convenience is already fiercely opposed within MCP ranks. That is why John Tembo is staging the political downfall of Speaker Louis Chimango and Bester Majoni who are opposed to the alliance. Muluzi is bent on using MCP in his ambition to surmount Malawi again.

Malawians remember as well that before what Muluzi calls “the equation of coming back”, first he had to fail in the equation of staying on in power. The constitutional and goodwill of the people prevailed upon him. Even as Head of State then, Muluzi knew well that he could only rule more only if the Constitution changed.

So, the seed of the ambition to keep on ruling Malawi was planted elsewhere before. Its black flower hanging on Muluzi’s image of a new democrat still eclipses Malawi’s history of democracy. Muluzi should know history.

He offers credit to Kamuzu Banda for bringing independence in 1964. But that history lesson slightly misses the heartbeat of truth. He says “we needed to move a little bit forward…because the world was changing particularly Southern Africa.” No. We needed change because we were suffering under dictatorship.

This time Muluzi claims he wants to change things. But the Law, the donor community, the mood, the numbers and probably the Divine will are all against his desires. Muslims have been petitioning and praying against Muluzi’s coming back lately. They have discovered what he is. “In 1994, people had no time to scrutinise him. They simply wanted change. Even a chicken could have ruled them,” says Al Haj Alick Likonde, chairman of the Quadria Muslims who suffered untold misery under Muluzi’s rule.

Then Muluzi is honest enough to accept that after independence and democracy, “we needed economic transformation, economic development … [because] people don’t eat these things.” Implicitly, he publicly accepts that his rule badly needed economic transformation.

Otherwise, Muluzi political theory that a period of democratic consolidation cannot happen together with economic development is false and non-existent. Or else, who is to tell us the book, chapter and verse for this miscarried political theory? If this political theory is valid, why is it that Muluzi’s first five years registered a positive economic trend just when we were mounting the structures of democracy?

Will Muluzi prevail against the Law, the donor community, the mood, the numbers and the Divine will?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


“Congratulations Malawians!” The Africa’s academic icon and world-towering economist Professor Adebayo Adedeji last night awed Malawians for their hard work, wonders in economic performance and food production. He was speaking at dinner hosted last night in his honour by President Bingu wa Mutharika at the New State House in Lilongwe.

That night, 14 December 2008, the mood was eloquent and arresting as the world sat down to listen. The flavor of the room was sweet, the background music soft, but the message was rich, loud and clear. “This country has virtually beaten everybody on the African continent in food production,” said Professor Adebayo Adedeji.

Earlier, the hosting Malawi leader had proudly described Malawi as “probably the best managed economy in the sub-Saharan Africa.” This is not a vain boast but a fact. “Malawi is a miracle economy,” but Mutharika hasted to openly add, “This is not my coinage but these are the words of World Bank and IMF.”

In the final analysis of his address, Professor Adebayo Adedeji came to witness and to agree that “Malawi is a miracle economy.” This academic colossus has compared Malawi’s historic phenomenal growth rate at 8% as equal to that of China arguing that “Malawi is certainly on its way to progress”. The Professor challenged that not even the African largest economy of South Africa growing at 3% compares with the rate at which Malawi rising. Europe was growing at the rate of 2.5% rate when it was undergoing a revolution of development, he observed.

Professor Adebayo Adedeji is well-thought-of in economic scholarship and leadership. He is an authority who has served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary to the United Nations Commission for Africa. He is the Chairman of African Peer Review Mechanism. His visit and choice of Malawi are symbolic.
Tonight, he had this to confess with admiration, “I have been closely following the developments [in Malawi] particularly since my brother Bingu wa Mutharika took over the leadership.”

The African academic icon said he was “attracted” to visit Malawi which he and the Governor of the Ogun State Otheba Benga Daniel coincidentally found Malawi “worthy visiting” for lessons and forging partnership after describing Malawi as a benchmark for others.

The elderly Professor Adebayo Adedeji spoke with well-humoured humility, wisdom, perceptive hindsight and deep insight. He said Malawi’s record progress is that of the people and not Mutharika alone. “Nobody can claim 100% perfection. But society has the right to seek perfection in a leader who provides inspiration. I hope you will continue to support him,” Adedeji said.

Mutharika has himself attributed Malawi’s progress and the world-wide recognition that come home in medals, torches and titles to all Malawians. Professor Adebayo Adedeji did not just thank us for the dinner, he said, “Congratulations to you all.”

We may not agree with Mutharika in our right to fault-finding, in our political and analytical biases, but we cannot disagree with the independent congratulations, recognition and honours that come to us – we the people of Malawi.

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University of Malawi, Malawi
The most sustainable revolution takes place in the human mind. But revolution is a most abused word.