THE REAL PATH TO PROSPERITY, AS I SEE IT
With Richard Chirombo
Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir;
Once again, let me thank the people of Dedza South (Constituency) for electing me to this August House. I am even more excited because, hardly a year after the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, I am setting foot in this State-of-the-art Parliament building. I think the People’s Republic of China deserves forty-six years of thanks- not forgetting our visionary leader, Chitsulo chanjanji himself! (You speak wise mpwanga, olo ndevu ulibe! Phungu wanu wakale uja anakalamba, zaka 40 muPaliyamenti? Zosadabwitsa anayamba kumera imvi ndibweya wam’miyendo omwe! Anthu akuDedza chimidzimidzi! Laughter)
Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir; the last time I spoke in this ‘September’ House…why do you, gullible people, favour the term ‘August House’ as if it were the first month of the year? Why not ‘January House’? Kanundu eti? Sorry, Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir; these folks always get to my nerves! Yes, I am saying… the last time I spoke in this House, I alluded something to the fact that there is nothing new to the statement that the 2010/11 National Budget is pro-poor. The reason is simple: All our budgets, from LEGCO, independence, through to the Third Republic, have been pro-poor- no more, no less because we are a poor nation. Rather, we are a people who sit phwiii over resources that would bail us out of poverty! (Mwana wamwano iwe. Masuti tavala ifewa, tikuoneka ngati amphawi ife? Gulukunyinda iwe eti? Laughter).
Do you remember Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s words about the people of Neno? Or, you, MPs, were busy kuweta ng’ombe zachambuyanu when Kamuzu was saying this? (Chokani aHonourable Richard Chirombo inu; mwabadwa liti kodi kuti mutiuze zaKamuzu. That Kamuzu was a Lingaombe-guy- kutenthe olo kuzizire ali mu Three-piece suit. Amkamuseka kunjatu kuvala kwachimidzimidzi kuja! Boos). Of course, some people used to say Kamuzu was dressing like a cartoon because he wanted to hide his dictatorial-self to international donors. Nganga ija inali ndiguts for sure! (Shut up iwe, you are taking much of our time. Munthu angabise udictatorship muThree-piece suit? Ukuona ngati ife ndiana eti? Laughter). But Kamuzu was saying the truth. And this applies even now.
Allow me, Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir, to give a few examples. In a few countries I have travelled to, and these include Germany (in Reisende), The Netherlands and China, people dress their dogs in up-market suits, and cuddle them in expensive blankets- not timabulangete tanu tobookabookati!- to protect them from the cold at night. The dogs also eat well, five course meals; now, how many of you have bought good blankets for your garden boys? If you have any at all, enanu mumatchetcha nokha udzu wapakhomo, you don’t want to create employment. Raise up your hands. By the way, this includes Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir! Now, that is what we call kulemera. Osati ngolo ziwiri zokutha matayala, and you say you are rich. That is why I am saying that all our budgets have been pro-poor. The Civil Society guys who hail budgets for being pro-poor have nothing to say, really; perhaps it’s their way of avoiding toothpaste. It’s their clever way of getting bad air out of their mouths! (Mwana oyipa iwe; you mean to say akuluakulu ena amabungwe omwe siaboma samatha kukissa because they have ill-smelling gums?).
Well, Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir knows that’s not what I mean. It’s you, honourable members, who are raising such sentiments, hiding under Parliamentary privileges. Koma inu kuchenjera, Some of you are still mabatchala because mumaopa kufunsira..mukuti kufunsira outside Parliament kulibe privilege, mkazi akana! Mpaka mumera bweya oyera m’makutu musadakwatire! (Hey, Mwana wamasiye wazaka 46 iwe usatichedwetse! Sit down if you are tired. Kung’ungudza) Okay, honourable members, here we go (where are you going, Munthu wangoima!). I mean, ndikupitiliza you, Standard 4 drop out. You came to Parliament because umawerenga makope aEnglish aagogo ako Abiti Uchi!).
This notwithstanding, we are lucky that we have visionary leaders. You see, honorouble members, azungu amkatipezerera kale because we had leaders omwe amangovomera zilizonse. I can assure you that some of our visionless leaders would have nodded to the World Bank project on electricity interconnection a long time ago, forgetting that it is Mozambique which stands to benefit more, yet the poor Malawian is to foot the exorbitant bills. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I find sense in what Professor Bingu wa Mutharika is saying, that if the World Bank wants to win our support, then we must not be forced to foot the bills. It’s as clear as a black-and-white cat, you see.
This only shows that our country has a serious agenda for, not only economic transformation but, economic revolution. We need to go further than papers fore-ordained by the World Bank, African Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and other eagle-minded institutions. We always appreciate the eagle in mighty flight, until it catches your mwanapiye and, then, you cry wolf. Too late. (Hear, hear. Aphalire sibweni. Laughter) That is why we need to support the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS). The World Bank, IMF and others can just come in as support actors. But we, as Malawians, will have to decide what to do with ourselves. Simple. (Mfundo koma zimenezo. Koma mphwanga, utakumana ndimzungu wamimba yake wakuWorld Bank ungamuuze zimenezo iwe. Siukhoza kumangosekerera umvekere, ‘Koma mzungu ndiokongola uyu!’ Inu sigulu laanthu lomanena kuti ‘Ngati dzanga lamzunguyu lili loyera chonchi, nde msana wake bwanji kuyera kwakeko’ inu? Ana opusa kwambiri!?)
Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir; This is the only way we can catch up with the so-called Tigers of Asia: Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. These countries were poor at independence, and even had lower per capita income than some African countries such as Ghana and Uganda, What did these countries do? (Just tell us. Ngati watopa osangokhala pansi bwanji. Nimtimbidyiretu une!)
These countries identified their comparative advantages and opted to specialize in areas where they could rake more benefits (Kodi mphwanga, ukufuna ukhale economic engineer wachiwiri? That’s pure economics. Continue, our good, educated boy!). Oh, yes! These countries knew they could not excel in certain areas and be able to export competitively. This, exactly, is our problem now. We don’t know where we can do better, and end up crowding our export plates with everything, achieving very little in the process. By this, I mean agriculture produce (iwe, ndidziko laachikumbe ili. You think we can abandon tobacco and start exporting mbewa!).
Mr…(khala pansi iwe. We have areas we dominate in, like Barley tobacco exports. But evil countries such as Canada want to kill us off through their dubious anti-Barley campaign. No wonder, these guys amakonda kusowa m’phiri laMulanje. Akuwona ngati mzimu waMbona ungawasiye choncho? This country is protected by Mbona. Oh, yes! Akuti mfwii ndani, asowe?). Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir; if we can identify specific areas and specialize in them, we can do better. But this must be corresponded by a deliberate process to empower our people, selectively, of course! (Sit down, man. We have Malawi Rural Development Fund (Mardef) and the Youth Development Fund already. Utiuza chain?).
Sure, Mardef is good. But we are talking about a revolution here; not just a resolution to bail our people out of poverty. Muzimva chizunthu aphwanga! (Quiet) Of course, humans have smaller ears than those of Kalulu-the-hair, komabe mudzimvetsetsa. (Ndiye ukufuna titani, tiyambe ulimi waabulu; m’mene abulu amalongololera muja akayamba zawana?). Mind your words, honourable members! Ana ena amawonera paMBC Television! Aphungu enanu mumayankhula zambwerera, mukuiwala kuti kumeta ndevu siumwana koma kubisa ukalamba. Grow up!
Mr. Speaker Madam, Sir; we must also change our settlement patterns and do away with subsistence farming. That way, we will release much of our arable land to commercial farming. Next, let us flood our colleges with Agricultural courses. I think The Professor is thinking along those lines through the five proposed universities. It must be made compulsory that everyone of us should attend courses on farming. It should be farming, farming and more farming. We can then call ourselves farmers; not what we yap today. (No, that’s communism. A Speaker, this guy is a confusionist, achotsedwe muPaliyamenti. Kuli bwino abwerere Phungu wokalamba, waimvi ndibweya wam’miyendo yemwe uja. Akufuna kulanda Anthu minda uyu! Laughter).
Or else, the other alternative is to go nuclear power (Kayerekera! You will see American Apache helicopters. Sakuidziwa Iraq ndiAfghanistan mwana uyu. No, no, no; you are inciting genocide mphwanga. Sit down, sit down- you don’t wish this country well. We thought you were Malawian. Cheat. Bad guy. You want America here? Ask malemu Hussein akuIraq!). Confusion rocked Parliament as MPs shouted: No America here, No America!
Drowned out, I sat down.