Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tendering Malawi's Natural Resources

 The unkempt grass stirs restlessly in the background, as the multi-directional winds produce snaky noise in the after-math of their collision with tree-leaves. Sometimes, a careless mouse will be seen to loiter around, playing into the path of a hungry snake. If the mouse gets eaten; nobody cares, it was not known to the Blantyre City Assembly (BCA). If the snake suffers at the murderous heel of man; nobody cares, it trespassed on BCA’s land.
In an ideal situation, the place where mice now come and go, and snakes play attack-and-hide under dry, brown leaves, was not supposed to degenerate into this state of nobody’s land  because, when lawlessness dominates where control was supposed to be the norm, it becomes nothing short of systematic failure.
This is the state on Njamba Freedom Park (NFP). On paper, the park belongs to BCA but, in effect, belongs to the trees, the ants, mice, snakes, birds, and rabbits. These natural features literally take care of NFP- fertilizing it with their dung, and, in the absence of piped water from BCA and water drops from the skies, supporting organic life with their waste waters.
NFP, home to a wide range of animals and supposed recreation centre for Blantyre city residents, is in a neglected form of sorts, and serves as a reminder that, for all BCA best efforts, the place remains underdeveloped.
Year in, year out, BCA’s Department of Parks and Wildlife has been singing one song: the song of promise to, among other things, improve the environment at the Park and make it as close to nature as it could be. It is a song whose chorus remains the May 1989 visit by head of the worldwide Catholic Church, Pope John Paul 11.
Hopes were raised, then, that Njamba- being the choice place where upon the Catholic Church’s head trod- could become a place of world tourism attraction. Councilor Luke Jumbe, one of the famous Blantyre city fathers in the 1990s, had grand plans for the park, just like the people who succeeded him. But nothing really materializes for NFP.  
Sand miners go about their business, drawing sand from the small river that cuts through the park- yet, both sand and river they do not own. They make no attempt to pay anything on the assumption that- looking at the neglect manifested in the withering grass, brown-leafed trees, and the human mongering- Njamba is nobody’s land.
And, quiet recently, others have gotten into this habit of parking vehicles in the park’s grounds, trampling upon the unwatered grass left to fend for itself by the City fathers who only care for their children, the people in the city, and not the natural resources that literally bring fresh air to the land.
However, BCA chief executive officer, Ted Nandolo, says time is ripe in reverse the deteriorating standards of NFP.
“We have big plans for all aspects of city development. We can develop our parks into revenue-generating sites. Our development budget for 2011/2012, amounting to K473, 855, 309, has provisions for infrastructure, environmental, maintenance and education programmes,” Nandolo says.
If not for the sake of Blantyre residents, at least the city authorities will do it for their own good. In November last year, BCA established the Directorate of Commerce, Trade and Industry headed by Dennis Chinseu.
The Directorate is not a cash-cow because, in the first place, it is not a cow per se. But Blantyre city has facilities whose revenue-generating capacities resemble the productive capacities of a cow.
“We are looking at things like city rates, recreation fees, and city parking fees as some of the ways of generating revenue,” Chinseu, who hastens that parks fall under this category, says.
Chinseu says this is the reason BCA wants to exploit all possible avenues of revenue, including such activities as business licencing, collection of property rates and recreation fees in all of the assembly’s parks.
“With this, we hope to be able to supplement the funds we get from property rates. 90 percent of the funds we generate come from property rates,’ Chinseu said.
As the City fathers reposition themselves to ‘fish’ from more ponds, apart from the deep waters of property rates, Blantyre residents can look west and find solace. There is a place, some 9 km west of Blantyre Central Business District, called Michiru Hill. The hill plays host to Michiru Conservation Park.
The park is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a tourist destination of magnanimous experiences and never-fading memories. Just that, as Senior Park and Wildlife Assistant Gracious Changani would have it, not many people seem to be aware of this place. 
But, each passing day, Changani looks at the Branchystegia woodland, reptiles, birds, and a variety of mammals. Common among the mammals are hyenas, who are so fortunate to have a cave named after them. The ‘Hyena Caves, made of granite, are believed to have formed some 50 million years ago.
Studies suggest that, 50 million years ago, Michiru Conservation Park was not a park; it was a valley. Somehow, the stones fell from the mountains, and filled the valley below. In the process, new homes were formed and found, and new animals became proud owners of these ‘homes’. At Michiru, the homes can be anything: caves, trees, stones, running water- anything that can sustain life.
Today, Michiru Conservation Park is a place so naturally demarcated (without human intervention) that pythons craw the days away in the upper part of the park, rock hyraxes have made the middle part nothing but their abode, while the lower layers, so carefully punctuated by caves, are the domain of the nocturnal hyenas.
“Michiru Conservation Park is a very beautiful place. Malawians should visit this place and appreciate the beauty,” Changani says.
But, in a way, Michiru also suffers from human ills. But, unlike the neglect that has characterized life at Njamba, its greatest challenge is poaching.   
The bad thing about poaching is that it is against good intentions. After all, all parks and conservation sites are like legislation: founded upon the principle of mutual love, care, and concession.
Which leaves one wondering: Why can’t Malawians appreciate this common sense, and leave nature to be what it was meant to be? How can people in authority fail to do their part, and expect nature to flourish?
After all, there is a thin line between poaching and neglect; they both border on neglect.
But, even against people and authorities’ best efforts, Malawi continues to reel under a myriad of challenges in the quest to take care of its botanic resources, and improve on the variety of the botanic endowments it has.
Take, for instance, the case of equipment. Malawi does not have a multi-purpose laboratory necessary to examine the chemical composition of most of its botanic resources, a development that transpired into little knowledge about the wide variety of botanic life endemic to the country.
This, in effect, renders the country vulnerable to theft of its would-be botanic patents as people posing as tourists would easily siphon indigenous knowledge from a friendly but unsuspecting people which may later be patented in their name, leaving Malawi perpetually stuck in the woods of poverty.

While people like Prof. James Seyani have tried, through the National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens of Malawi, to do their best, the lack of a state-of-the-art, all encompassing laboratory is hindering efforts to examine all of the country’s botanic resources and deter business-minded visitors from profiteering from the country’s botanic resources.

Of course, plans are under way to establish one such laboratory, but it may be a time.

What is needed, in its absence, is the need for Malawians not to publicize indigenous knowledge to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands- people who may end up protecting our own botanic resources using patent laws.

Reason:  Traditional knowledge is becoming a billion-Dollar phenomenon around the world and needs to be safeguarded. This is true for Malawians who go to such countries as South Africa to sell herbal concoctions and other traditional medicine.
It would become easy for such people to pass out the knit-gritty details pertaining to the prowess of their medicine, in the process exposing Malawi to theft of its invaluable botanical resources.

Just such a thing happened in Chipata , Zambia, two years ago. A European national was bewildered by a plant that acted as an anesthetic and was being used by local people when removing teeth using the traditional hand method. Perplexed, he asked the locals how the herb worked, and where it could be found- knowledge he later took back home. He has, since, patented the plant and its chemical components.

People, including Zambians, now find their own concoction- now out of their hands and control, anyway- in up market London shops.

The use of botanical resources stolen from African countries and, later, registered as protected patents has raised moral questions over the moral responsibility of pharmaceutical companies, who happen to be the major customers and beneficiaries to such fraudulent deals.

These companies cough millions of Euros to get the nod to use the stolen patents ,a trend that also leads way to exorbitant drug prices as the pharmaceutical companies seek to off-set some of the costs incurred in production of such products.

So, the theft of this knowledge could be disastrous for Malawi, a country- if not the only one in the world- to have no comprehensive analysis of its botanical resources.

It is like wishing away your own cash, really; and, then, asking for a third hand to bail you out of biting poverty.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jumbe Faction Refuses to Speak on Atupele Arrest

Bad blood may be thicker than yellow.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) faction led by Friday Jumbe has refused to speak on Atupele Muluzi, the arrested son to former State President and UDF national chairperson Bakili.
Jumbe told Zachimalawi on Friday he could only speak "competently" on the issue once Atupele writes a report to the "UDF presidency" on what has actually happened.
"Without that report from him, the party cannot be in a position to speak out on the issue," Jumbe said.
"You know that the UDF has so many members; millions and millions of members, in fact. It will, therefore, be strange to be commenting on issues to do with each and every member in the absence of any report. It will be like commenting on hearsay," Jumbe added.
Jumbe said, however, that "it is unfortunate that Malawi is sliding back into dictatorship, and, as the UDF, we will not allow the country to go to the dogs".
The former governing UDF is split in factions, with Jumbe, Humphreys Mvula, among others, belonging to the Jumbe camp. On the other hand is Atupele, whose faction includes such UDF figures as Kennedy Makwangwala, Ibrahim Matola, and UDF members in Parliament.
But UDF Leader of the House (in Parliament), Matola has urged all party factions to unite, "and get rid of the rot in our democracy".
Atupele was arrested for "inciting" violence and defying Lilongwe District Commissioner office's 'order' not to address a political rally in a week the Public Affairs Committee made headlines for asking President Bingu wa Mutharika to either resign if he fails to rectify Malawi's current challenges, or call for a referendum after 90 days.
But Mutharika, addressing a meeting during Thursday's World Water Day event in Mangochi, has said he is not game to resigning.
"Bingu does not run away from responsibility," Mutharika said, to the dismay of PAC officials out to oust him.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The Ministry of Health and the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board would like to inform the general public and all District Health Officers that the drugs under the kit system or any other drugs that are currently being distributed to Government and CHAM facilities have been tested and certified to be of high quality, efficacious and safe.
Since the development partners came to support the Ministry of Health by procuring drugs on its behalf that are in kit form, several issues have risen surrounding the efficacy, safety and quality of the drugs. As a matter of standard practice and following the policy, mandate and the responsibility entrusted in the office of the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board, all drugs that are used in the health facilities in the country are tested for quality before distribution. This is always a routine process that has to be undertaken by the Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health facilities are required to receive and administer drugs that have only been certified by the responsible institution in the country.
The Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board and the Ministry of Health would like therefore to inform the general public that it is the responsibility of the Malawi Government to ensure that Malawians are not using substandard drugs and any drugs and supplies that have been found to have by passed the quality control process will be confiscated and an appropriate legal action will be undertaken to the importers and dispensers. In this regard, the Ministry of Health would like to assure the general public that all drugs distributed to health facilities have passed a rigorous quality control process.
Meanwhile, the distribution of the drugs will continue and the Ministry welcomes all the concerns and feedback that would improve the availability and reduce misuse of the drugs in public hospitals.

Henry Chimbali
Public Relations Officer
Ministry of Health

Aaron Glyn Sosola
Acting Registrar
Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board

Today's Fact

The Public Affairs Committee (Pac), a quasi-religious organisation in Malawi (which should not be confused with the Public Affairs Committee of Parliament), has no mandate to call for President Bingu wa Mutharika's resignation.
Pac has given Mutharika two month to 'deliver, or resign'.
Quite an outrageous call, this.
Mutharika was elected by the Malawian people.
Twenty-zero-four brought Mutharika, through a popular vote, to power.
But his May 2009 win was overwhelming. He won overwhelmingly.
Pac, on the contrary, has never contested in an election. It has no people. It has no government. No national flag. No national anthem.
Pac has nothing but a bloated ego.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Malawi: A Police State?

Over-weight, obese, and fierce-looking police officers, long used to circumventing the distance between their offices and the loo, on Wednesday thronged the boulevard leading up to Limbe Roman Catholic Cathedral in Blantyre.
It's not President Bingu wa Mutharika they were after, or out to protect; no, the President made no public outing this particular day. Malawi's President was home and dry at the New State House, the 200-roomed Presidential abode, in Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe.
The police were out on a strange mission: following the tail of President Bingu wa Mutharika's words on March 5 this year.
The President, addressing people in his home district of Thyolo, warned that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were up to some nasty act bordering on, not only simple mischief but, treason.
Mutharika said, to the surprise of all and sundry, that CSOs were planning a coup. He said some development partners, out to influence regime change, were funning, fanning, and funding the CSOs so they could carry out a violent attack on his duly-elected government.
Incidentally, the quasi-religious group, Public Affairs Committee (PAC), announced that it would hold a meeting from March 14 to 15 this week.
In his speech, the President did not mention PAC, only saying that the CSOs would carry out the coup on March 14. It never came to pass.
Other government officials said Mutharika meant March 28.
However, as if out to wave an imaginary fly, police officers were out on the streets on a mission: to stop a coup at Limbe Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Initially, PAC has wanted to hold its meeting at the sumptuous Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel; only for the hotel to cancel the booking, ostensibly after bowing down to pressure from government agents.
But PAC was not about to be stopped. It booked another venue, this time the spacious Limbe Cathedral Hall.
Now, Catholics are no novices to Malawian politics.
In 1993, at the height of the fight against one-party regime, they penned a letter, the famous Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter.
The letter called for political change at a time of rising political temperatures. At a time when the one-party regime was so intoxicated with power, it saw nothing but death outside the ruling corridors.
But things did change, after the Bishops sacrificial act. Their lives were in danger, but, still, they pressed on with their mission of fostering political change in Malawi.
It came as no surprise, therefore, that officials at Limbe Cathedral accepted PAC's request for space- of course, at a fee.
The meeting started today, as planned- but not at Mount Soche Hotel, as planned.
That's where the police officers rushed to today.
They were armed to the teeth. Zachimalawi got a little 'foolish', and tried to get a picture of the obese-looking, over-weight police officers, and got the just rewards: The camera, a digital Olympus, is nursing 'injuries' at Green Foto Studio in Blantyre Central Business District.
The camera was grabbed, batteries and USB card removed. It was then thrown to the ground.
The Camera repairman tells Zachimalawi it (the camera) has suffered a broken lens' motor.
But, even without the pictures, we can all imagine how an obese individual, let alone police officer, looks like!
Malawi has become more of a police, than democratic, state.

Monday, March 12, 2012

MISA Malawi statement on ruling DPP’s threats on Critical Media Outlets

For immediate release

Monday, 12th March, 2012

The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) is
disturbed with repeated threats from the ruling Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP) top brass on media outlets deemed to be critical of President
Bingu wa Mutharika’s government policies.

Barely two days after State House issued a statement warning the media and
civil society organizations against ‘insulting’ the country’s leadership,
DPP Director of Youth, Frank Mwenefumbo, has called on all government
departments and the civil service to stop buying, reading and advertising
in newspapers critical of the DPP led government.

Mwenefumbo, who is also DPP Regional Governor for the north, made the call
during a presidential launch of the construction of Zomba-Blantyre road in
the old Capital Zomba, Southern Malawi, on Sunday, March 11.

Taking a direct swipe at one of the country’s main print media outlet,
Nation Publications Limited (NPL), publishers of The Nation, Weekend
Nation, Nation On Sunday and Fuko newspapers, Mwenifumbo said: “newspapers
have been writing bad things about the DPP and our President instead of
reporting on good things. (So) if I see DPP loyalists, be it a (cabinet)
minister or a Chief Executive, reading The Nation, we will suspect them;
you should stop that forthwith…If I see the Nation newspaper in your
offices (of government departments) we will suspect you. Stop buying it.
Stop advertising in it! If you want adverts, you can do that on the

Government issued a similar ban on advertising in Nation Newspapers in
March, 2010.

We find the recent order to stop advertising in NPL as well as threats on
journalists in general very strange and retrogressive for Malawi’s nascent
democracy. Attacks on the media and civil society and human rights
defenders in general are attacks on democracy and should not be condoned.

Media outlets are part and parcel of any democratic state worth the name
and have a watch dog role in any such society. Malawians are also rational
and capable of deciding what media outlet to read and listen to. It is sad
and retrogressive that any individual should decide for Malawians which
media outlets to read.

MISA Malawi maintains its position that through numerous broadcast
programmes and published articles on health, agriculture, business,
politics, culture, entertainment, economy, youth development, sports, good
governance and rural development among others, the media in Malawi have
immensely contributed to political stability, unity, development and
economic growth and this validates the fact that the government and the
media have worked as partners and should continue to do so.
We note that government has its preferences when it comes to choosing
which media organizations to advertise with. It is a known fact, however,
that advertising is the life blood of every vibrant private media
institution and we fear that the DPP’s directive will cripple the
operations of such media outlets and our nascent democracy in the process.

We repeat our stand that democracy is about empowering citizens to take
ownership of their own growth and development objectives, harmonizing them
with national aspirations after interacting and engaging with differing
views. This noble activity is guaranteed and protected by the Constitution
of Malawi and is facilitated, on a daily basis, by the media.

His Excellency the State President openly swore to defend the Constitution
and has in the past openly supported media development activities as part
and parcel of his development agenda.

MISA Malawi is, therefore, requesting President Mutharika to personally
distance himself from threats issued by DPP cadres on the media in the
country and the Constitution he swore to defend.

MISA Malawi expects the State President to ensure that his administration
remains the guarantor of media development and press freedom in Malawi as
enshrined in the Malawi Constitution.

As we have indicated in the past, we would like to assure government that
MISA Malawi does not condone biased reporting and neither does it
encourage irresponsible journalism.

We are optimistic that His Excellency the State President and other top
government officials, will take note of our appeal and if there are some
concerns, they can be channeled through relevant media bodies for
mediation. We believe this will help to clear the impression that Malawi
government is taking systematic steps aimed at suffocating the media,
thereby strangling our young democracy in the process.


Anthony Kasunda


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bingu is an Elephant- Sidik Mia

Public Works Minister, Sidik Mia, has described President Bingu wa Mutharika as an 'elephant' that invades a village, and keeps on moving forward, despite facing a horde of barking dogs.
This is an apparent reference to Mutharika's detractors. They include civil society organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations, the news media, among others, according to a Press Statement signed by State House spokesperson, Albert Mungomo.
Mia, speaking on Sunday during the inauguration ceremony of the Blantyre-Zomba Road attended by Mutharika, said Mutharika would keep on working for the goodness of Malawi, despite all the detractors.
"As we approach 2014, the President will keep on inaugurating one road or another. The opposition will have nothing to inaugurate.
"In fact, these people will keep on barking like dogs. You know what happens when an elephant leaves the wild and invades a village: dogs will bark and bark. But the elephants remains unperturbed and goes on doing its business.
"The most astonishing thing is that the barking dogs do not bite the elephant; they just bark and bark, and do nothing else. President Mutharika will keep on inaugurating roads and development projects while his detractors are wasting time barking," Mia said.
The President has since named the road the John Chilembwe Highway.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Waiting for Nothing

It has been a while since the ordinary man and woman in Malawi lost hope that things would, at least for the next two years, be okay.
Now, indications are that government officials have also lost something, something unknown, something strong: touch.
As the ordinary Malawian thinks of what tomorrow may be like, a tomorrow premised on the shaky foundations of micro-economic instability, a predictable, but stinging, development partners' rumpus, rising commodity prices (and, now, erratic rains) the rulers are also troubled in their hearts.
It seems like the leaders have finally realised that they have lost touch with grassroots' communities, and are no more wiser than the first-time visitor to Malawi.
It is one thing to grow up in a foreign country, acquire education there, and come to be one of the citizens of the host country; and quite another thing to grow up in a foreign land, learn new ways, come back home to serve your country, only to realise that you have lost touch with your roots.
It, really, is a tragedy, though not tragic enough.
But there is nothing more tragic than this: You go to a foreign land, learn to eat their way, drink their way, throw-up there way, and behave their way. But, then, you realise that you love your country more that the host country, and that, no matter what it takes, and how long it takes, you will still go back home, serve your country, and die with honour. Someday.
That must be love. Love like what Malawi's President, Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, had (or, rather, claimed to have)when he decided to come back to Malawi, his home country, in the early 1990s. For your own information, in 1992, Mutharika drove from Lusaka in Zambia to Blantyre.
Why? He wanted to attend the United Democratic Front's (UDF)(then, a pressure group) convention. So bad for him, he was not elected. His name was not even mentioned by any of the delegates. They might have thought, as some opposition leaders have claimed at one point or another, that he was from Angola because of the prefix 'wa' in his full name.
So, Mutharika's association with the former governing UDF did not start in 1998, 0r 1999 (which culminated in Mutharika's dissolution of his brief-case United Party (PP)to join the UDF); it was a long-drawn affair (his dissolution of the PP).
Mutharika played soccer (and, I hear, netball) on the pitches and courts of Dedza Secondary School in those years when the colonialism-scent was still all over Malawi's three-coloured robe.
That was a time when to be in Dedza was tough; (when to) pass through Dedza was tough; and (when) to stay in Dedza was tough.
Tough not because Dedza, the Central Region district, was (and still is) the abode of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, John Tembo. Nobody doubts that Tembo, popularly known as JZU, was a strongman during the MCP regime. Nobody says 'No' to assertions that he was more close to the Founder of the Malawi Nation, Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. He was.
But some people attribute to Tembo some things he, probably, never knew. And blame Tembo for things he, probably, never did. Some accuse Tembo of plotting things he never (even) dreamed of. And some say he harboured ambitions to succeed Kamuzu.
But no one claims to have entered Tembo's heart.
(And I say this not because JZU is my Member of Parliament and has been ever since I was born. Not that Tembo has always been MP for Dedza South, or Dedza Central- whatever it is, and it used to be-. The veteran polician has, on more than three occasions,contributed towards Malawi's development without being MP. Most people get this wrong. It could be malice, I don't know. For example, Tembo was never MP the whole time he served as Reserve Bank Governor. And there are other positions he served in without being MP. I think it will be interesting to write something about the people who served as MPs in Tembo's constituency,while the 'real' MP served as Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, and how they felt (the fear, whatever) serving in the position of a man so close to Malawi's first president).
The point is that Dedza was not 'tough' because of Tembo. It was tough because of the weather.
Dedza is mostly cold.
Dedza is mostly cool.
Dedza is uncomfortably English.
Dedza is Western.
That is why most white settlers liked the district, and settled there, establishing Bembeke Roman Catholic Cathedral, tourist attraction centres, agriculture development initiatives, among other impressive structures.
But no one knows why people drawn from the length and breadth of Malawi liked Dedza so much, when it came to education.
It could be that the people of Dedza are warm; that they (the, mostly, Ngoni people- and Chewas, too) of Dedza are the Warm Blood that Pumps the Warm Heart of Africa.
President Bingu wa Mutharika went to Dedza Secondary School.
Some say Sam Mpasu went to Dedza Secondary School.
A thousand other top government officials trace their education background to Dedza, too.
How good is Dedza, after all, to produce enough beans to feed the whole country.
How great is Dedza, that its peaches, late season mangoes, big-as-a-pumpkin-tomatoes, and many other farm products, come from Dedza.
Dedza feeds Malawi in food.
Dedza fed the nation in education.
Dedza hosts John Zenus Ungapake Tembo.
Dedza has a strange climate, too cool for Malawi when, as most people know, the neighbouring Salima district is too hot for comfort.
So, somehow, because of its attractive-self, Dedza attracted one Webster Thom (the present-day Bingu wa Mutharika) to its knowledge pond. It must be while in Dezda that Bingu's love for Malawi grew.
He could wake up in the morning, join the other 'boys' on the line to the bathroom, and get a shower.
Now, in Dedza, to shower was courage. It is like getting a refresher course in a refrigerator: too cold for comfort. That was Dedza those days.
With its horde of indigenous trees, and one of Malawi's biggest mountains to boot, the weather was uncharitable to young Bingu and fellow students.
But Bingu braced it. Bingu mastered the courage to brace the cold weather, and 'enjoy' a shower of (almost) cold water. Weather experts always tell us the difference between cold and cool; they even say that, in Malawi, there is nothing like cold weather. They are right. Here, cold has been used to mean extremely 'cool'. It does not mean the real cold. It's just a feeling, a way of emphasisisng a point.
It must be in Dedza that Bingu learned to be courageous, and became a courageous man. So courageous he now calls development partners 'colonialists'.
Sometimes, he becomes so generous with words, he tells them in the face:
"Go to hell".
Pure Dedza courage.
When time came for Bingu to go to India, in that long journey in the never-ending pursuit for education, he might never have forgotten Dedza. And courage.
That must be the reason, after working for the World Bank, Bingu decided to come back, and serve the country that 'gave' him courage.
He fits so well in the third scenario in our example above: a man who goes out, learn foreign languages, eat foreign food, dine in well-lit restaurants, and decides to come back home and serve his country.
Such a man things that he has not lost tough with his world, his indigenous world.
Bingu comes to Malawi (we are talking of then), becomes the country's President (we are not going into details here; but we can, at your request), and, as they say, the rest is his story!
But he started so well. By ignoring the experts, as with his Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme, he chalked some success. Food security is now a song in Malawi, though it is a song incomplete because food security entails so many things, and means much more than full granaries, and a bloated stomach.
But, now, things have gone haywire.
The one who believed he loved his country- knew it too well, and developed roots in it- has lost tough with the surface.
It is now a double tragedy. With long fuel queues, sky-scraping commodity prices, leaders who have lost touch with- not only their own people, but- reality, and people running short on hope, Malawians are sure but waiting for nothing.
Of course, Malawians are waiting for 2014, the year they will elect new Members of Parliament, (hopefully) Councillors, and (this is automatic. Even the President is hoping that his younger brother, Peter Aurthur Mutharika, could succeed him) the man or woman who shall preside over the destinies (there are so many people with so many hopes and aspirations here) of millions.
People they never knew.
People who may be waiting for nothing but trouble right now.
People who stand ready to cry five, ten more years.
They can't say they lived well- waiting for this great nothingness.
There is no hope in the people.
And nothing in the President who has lost touch with his own people. Calling them chickens, and the like.
Really? So, people have come to this nothing?

MISA concerned about growing intolerance of media freedom in Malawi

Malawi Statement (Regional)

9 March 2012

The Regional Secretariat of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
notes, with profound distress, the growing intolerance of media freedom
and freedom of expression in Malawi. Today, March 9, 2012, we received a
statement released by State House Press Officer, Albert Mungomo, and
titled: ‘Civil Society Organisations and Media Conduct Inciting Anarchy in
the Country.’

Ordinarily, a statement such as the one we received today would not
warrant this kind of response. Yet, coming as it does from a country that
is facing serious democratisation and governance challenges, we would like
to express our deepest concern over what we consider serious threats to
media freedom and freedom of expression in Malawi. It is also our hope
that the government of Malawi, president Bingu wa Mutharika in particular,
will be able to consider our point of view on the same issues.

One, we strongly disagree with the suggestion that the media in Malawi are
making it their vocation to demean and insult president Mutharika. In a
democracy, the media should be concerned with ‘shaping public opinion,
mediating the debate between the state and civil society, but also acting
as a watchdog over public process, against private gain. Free media
[therefore] are a prerequisite to development in the promotion of
democracy, human rights and governments.’

We take the above quotation from a communiqué issued in Lusaka, Zambia, by
the 7th Regional Meeting of the African, Pacific and Caribbean-European
Union (ACP-EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly in February 2012, where Malawi
was represented. We find it odd, therefore, that the government of Malawi
does not share, or indeed, recognize that based on the above, democracy
should be about empowering citizens so that they are able to take
ownership of their own growth and development objectives, harmonising them
with national aspirations after interacting and engaging with differing
views. This sacrosanct activity is guaranteed and protected by the
Constitution of Malawi and is facilitated, on a daily basis, by the media.

Two, the law that the media are said to be in breach of, an insult law
regarding the national flag, emblems and names, is archaic and serves more
to provide evidence for the need for critical reform than anything else.

That the law still quotes a fine to be paid in Pound sterling and not in
Malawi Kwacha elucidates the fact that this piece of legislation remains
stuck in the time warp of colonial and repressive tradition and also
proves the urgency with which legal reforms must take place in Malawi,
forty-eight years after independence.

Several other laws of this nature and age exist in Malawi; the Official
Secrets Act (1913), the Printed Publications Act (1947) and the Censorship
and Control of Entertainment Act (1968. Still, there exists also Section
46 of the Penal Code, which empowers the Minister of Information to ban
any publication that may be deemed not to be in the public interest, as
defined by that minister. Clearly, these laws have no role to play in a
democracy and while we are fully aware that some of them have been
referred to the Law Commission for review, the fact that they still remain
active while under review does not inspire confidence, as they may be
permanently condemned to the review process.

Three, we are shocked that the government of Malawi is insisting that
president Mutharika ‘has never ordered the arrest’ of media practitioners
and human rights defenders. This is not the first time that this claim is
being made. We are aware of cases where journalists have been threatened
at press conferences for ‘asking the wrong questions,’ verbally assaulted
and threatened by senior government officials, and had their company
vehicles torched, to list but a few incidents. We deeply regret,
therefore, to note how this government defines what constitutes a media
freedom violation.

The statement also singles out phrases used by leading opinion writers in
Malawi to refer to president Mutharika. If the singling out of these
phrases ¬ does not constitute a threat then nothing else does. One of the
columnists and BBC Correspondent, Raphael Tenthani, who if famous for
using the phrase ‘Big Kahuna’ to refer to president Mutharika, has told
MISA that this phrase is actually respectful. “It means ‘the Big Boss.’ I
don’t know how it begins to be demeaning to the president. I have met the
president several times and we have joked about it for I use it almost
every week in my column. But I won’t stop using it because doing so would
be unwittingly admitting I have been disrespecting my president all these

MISA is aware also that on July 20, 2011, the day of mass demonstrations
in Malawi, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) ordered
all radio stations that were carrying live broadcasts of the lawful
demonstrations to stop all live broadcasts. That the statement from State
House chooses to ignore this fact by alleging sensational reporting on the
part of the radio stations which fell victim to this directive shows, we
are afraid, the signs of a government that may not be prepared to hear ¬
and confront ¬ the truth from its people.

Four, our concern also extends to the mention made by the statement
regarding social networks. The statement reads: ‘The State House monitors
carefully such networks that are hostile and probably careless in
demeaning the state president.’ We are extremely worried that the
government of Malawi may be conducting some illegal surveillance of
Internet use in Malawi based on their faulty perception that social
networks are inherently hostile.
This, in itself, reveals a profound lack of understanding of what the
Internet is and its role in a democracy. We will continue to pay close
attention to the tone and language directed at Internet use in Malawi as
we believe, based on the statement, that there exists a significant threat
to Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace in Malawi.

Lastly, we are of the view that the relationship between the government
and the media in Malawi would be beneficial from a process of mutual
engagement. We are most willing to further open room for lasting dialogue
between the government and media, in the firm belief that this would
provide a more enabling environment for media freedom, freedom of
expression and ultimately citizen empowerment.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Learning Chichewa: Ndalama ya Pepala

Learning Chichewa: Ndalama (Money)

Waiting for March

It is March already, but, taking a cue from the sentiments emanating from The New State House in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, March ain't started.
President Bingu wa Mutharika, who must, surely, know another March than we are in, has smelt danger.
Danger in the air.
Danger in the home.
Danger in hotels.
Danger in lodges.

But the danger is not invisible. The danger is so visible- visible in the Civil Society Organisations', and Non-Governmental Organisations,top boss-faces.
Mutharika told a mammoth crowd in his home district of Thyolo that Civil Society Organisations are planning July 20, 2011-like demonstrations.
Mutharika went a step further, saying he knew the financiers of such an obnoxious act: development partners.
Now, that is strange. Development partners have become anarchy partners (with the NGOs and CSOs)?
It has become a strange world. This.
Not only this (world), though. There is a strange world. Another world.
The world in the mind of the President. And the ruling class. What with two professors ruling Malawi! Two professors using the same chopper.
This world, the two professors world, is a strange world.
And that's all there is to their unity. A strange world.
The two professors are different. One had students, the other has none.
He stands proud on the mountain of a 'gift' paper from Mainland China. One overzealous Chinese University made the mistake of offering Mutharika the Elder Brother (Bingu) some title: Professor.
It seems like Mutharika the Elder Brother always wanted to become professor: the real professorship, with students.
Somehow, he must have missed the train.
Somehow, Peter Mutharika the Younger Brother got hold of the train. And, therefore, the professorship.
Professor with students.
Real students.
And there, in both professorships, lies Malawi's tragedy.
Now the two professors have started living in their own world, an imaginary world.
The two professors, at their imaginary best, can see fish where only mosquitoes fly, and see electoral victory when even the flies are running away from the scene of defeat.
President Mutharika shocked all and sundry when he said, before all the world, that Malawi's development partners are planning to fan and fund confusion in the Southern African Development Community Member state.
But CSOs and NGOs have butted down such claims, saying they know nothing about it.
Now government is planning to thwart the Public Affairs Committee meeting slated for Mount Soche in Blantyre on March 18 and 19.
Government suspects that just such a meeting is what the President foresaw in his vision of anarchy (call it Vision- Anarchy)last week.
But organisers of the meeting have promised to press on, saying there is nothing sinister they will discuss. After all, you do not organise sinister meetings at such open fora as Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.
But government and State agents are having none of it.
It is a world of visions,theirs.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Without a Working Judiciary, Malawi is Normal Again

Two eyes.
Two feet.
Two hands.
Two ears.

It is easy to discover the matter: normalcy.

When the bird's day is past and gone, and when the day is so lonely and cold, there is always one thing to do: rest, or sleep the night away, until the wing of light waves again, and forces the dark-some night into some form of nature-instigated exile in the West.

It is still in exile the night goes to; though not the type of exile the likes of Malawi's one-party regime Prisoner-of-Conscience, Jack Mapanje, were subjected to during the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regime.That time (during the MCP era), to live was trouble, to die was trouble, to have no children was trouble, to be an expectant mother was trouble, to marry was trouble, to be a spinster or bachelor was wrong. To be was wrong, and to be not was wrong. To be Malawian, then, was tough, and not to be was nothing but losing out.

So, people- the likes of Mapanje- languished in, what?, jail. Should we call it jail, when the 'victims' of the regime, then, lived 'ignorant' lives? For once, there was nothing like being notified of the reasons why the 'suspects' were being held.

In more cases than not, people could wait for justice- without being told what wrong they committed against the powers-that-be. They could wait for days on end, waiting for the bright wing of justice; a wing that, often, never came.

So, a man could be eating Nsima, (Sadza, is it?), porridge, or drinking local sweet beer (thobwa) in the presence of himself, children, or relatives. Before the food settles in the stomach, there would be a knock on the door, people unknown, people in uniform, the famous red uniform that sent people into mind exiles, well before they were sent to the real jails.

Life was dangerous, then, because your husband, wife, first-born son, last-born daughter, tenant, landlord, landlady, and others of their like, could be an informant (no, the word spy is not good. Yes, informant is better, for that's what they were)- the Judas that played it openly and shamelessly. They called it duty to the nation. A nation premised on the four corner stones of Loyalty, Obedience, Unity, and Loyalty.

So bad that, for some people, days and nights could come and be gone without them noticing. All because the holding cells were so dark light-skinned people got tainted by the darkness, and came back home (after weeks, months, or years) in the dungeon) darker than Mwanza charcoal!

But the birds were free, relatively free. They could go and come as they pleased. The birds.

The birds could manage, also, to be in pairs, two-two: husband and wife. Do birds date, then court, after that marry?

Whichever case, they were free to be in twos, and live freely- without the fear of the wife, neighbour, sibling, landlady, landlord, and the dreaded Youth Leaguers.Nothing wrong with birds in twos: don't they say it is natural to copulate (in the manner so accepted by a given society, and according to the moral principles upheld by the individual whose discretion it is to 'do' what they please?).

But it is not only the birds that could, and still can, be seen in twos: husband and wife, and and girl friend (what? Do we have 'girls' among the birds? Do we have 'boys'?)

Goats, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, among others, could be seen in two as well- in those, and these, days. Just that the birds and the sheep and the dogs and the cats could not hold hands- as humans did, or do. So much for human hands. They (hands) can hold people together, and be a sure sign of love, especially when people, hand-in-hand, walk together in the middle of a confusing, busy road.

The same hands can be a symbol of oppression. In the past, their was Nyakura , people's hands tied at the back- tightly. Painfully. That was the treatment, then. Treatment made possible by the weakness of hands. Rather, by the design of hands.

Wait a minute. We were supposed to talk of how, without a working judiciary, Malawi is 'free' and back to normal!

Yes, that is right. And that's what we are doing.

Malawi's junior judicial workers have been on strike for three months now- beginning from 9 January 2012- and have since been joined by Magistrates, judges, Justices of Appeal, and all who make the judiciary (one of the branches of government) tick.

Malawi is in a loud crisis.

Government spokesperson, Patricia Kaliati, told Zachimalawi today that government is doing all it can to bring the striking judicial workers back to work.

"Malawians should not panic," Kaliati said today, when asked about progress on the issue.

A striking judiciary means angry citizens. There is the anger of deceased estate beneficiaries to take care of. These people, who depend on the Registrar General's office- while the Registrar General's office depends on the High Court of Malawi to have some important documents signed- have nowhere to go now.

Some need the money for school fees. Which means, due to the judicial strike, some pupils and students have been denied the right to learning. Yet this right is Constitutionally-established.

Other people, the less privileged in society, are languishing in police holding cells. They have no voice and can, therefore, not free themselves from their 'bondage'. But the well-to-do are finding their way out of police holding cells.

They have money. Their money is the way. The way to freedom.

But the poor, languishing in Malawian cells, only have a voice.

And the voice is not money.

And can, therefore, not 'bail' them out of police holding cells.

These people will, thus, have to wait for justice.

In other words, they have to wait for justice to be done to those who administer justice.

Lawyer-cum-politician/activist Ralph Kasambara has already called the situation precarious.

Kasambara said this is a sure sign that government has abdicated on its responsibility. That is why, speaking to local media some four weeks ago, he asked the president (Ngwazi Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, Chitsulo cha Njanji, Mwana wa kwa Goliati, Tate wa University of Science and Technology in his home district of Thyolo) to resign.

Kasambara was Attorney General when the issue of raising salaries for judicial workers was being discussed in 2006. He was on the government side, and knows terms of the agreement.

But Ephraim Chiume, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, maintains that government negotiated with the judicial officers on a remuneration package that could not create artificial salary disparities among civil servants.

"The salary increments were for judicial officers only. And, then, the government negotiated with them on a 'fair' salary structure which they agreed to. That is he salary structure we have been using since 2006. Why should they query now? Why all this time?" Chiume, with so many unanswered questions in his mind, asked aloud.

Some questions are better-hidden, in deed.

So, the strike continues. People continue to suffer.

But, more importantly, other than having three branches of government- the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary- Malawi has two functional arms, technically. These are: The Executive Branch of government, comprising of the State President, Cabinet Ministers, and Civil Service administration, and; the Legislature.

In 2006, the Legislature approved salaries for judicial workers, having received the papers from the Executive. Didn't the Executive know what it was doing, processing all that paper work through the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, presenting it to cabinet for assessment and deliberations, sending it to the National Assembly (Parliament, to be specific, since the National Assembly is a broad term, and includes the Speaker of the National Assembly and the State President himself. People should not inter-use the term Parliament with the National Assembly. The technical differences are so distinctly clear and white you would trace them from a far) to be made (read, rubber stamped) into law, before going back to the President for that final signature that sends some unfortunate people to the gallows.

Everything was well known and understood, according to Chiume, and that is why government went back to the drawing table, decided it had been hoodwinked into making very useless a law, and opened negotiations. The judicial workers accepted, even though the Malawi Law Society (yes, the very same selfish Malawi Law Society that has barred members of the general public from visiting its resource centre by introducing a prohibitive K200 fee for entry. It does not matter you just want to read a newspaper, or outdated magazine. The Malawi Law Society, like lawyers, is there to make money. Period!) has gone to court, demanding that government pays up according to the dictates of the 2006 law.

Now, a case in which lawyers are going to the courts to force government to pay up to the very same judges and magistrates who will preside over the case is an interesting one. How do you preside over an issue you are interested in? Where is the impartiality? The professionalism? Why not hire foreign judges (say, from the Southern African Development Community, or Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, even from the African Union) to preside over the case so that local lawyers may, at last, maintain their semblance of objectivity and independence?

The short of it is that judicial workers agreed to the new terms, and it is strange that, all of a sudden, they have 'discovered' that they were dubbed!

It must be greed.
It must be selfishness.
It must be nothing.

Now, if you want new perks and the employer does not want to pay you, why not resign and go for greener pastures? What makes them stick around?

There must be something in the 'empty' tin: air.

Still, the question arises, how is this related to normalcy?

It boils down to the same issue of birds, and nature. Often, there is a member of one sex, and a member of the other. Husband and wife. Boy and girl-friend. There is, somehow, always an Adam and Eve.

And Adam (one) plus Eve (two) equals two. Two people.

Adam-bird plus Eve-bird equals two birds. There is always one sex, and the other: two sexes. Never three.

Why? Two is natural. With two, procreation is possible. With two, idea-sharing is possible. Without two, companionships are born.

With two, you will never be alone. Of course, some people are said to still feel 'lonely' in the midst of a noisy crowd. It's an exception. An exception to normalcy.

Life experience has proven that two is great.

Which brings us to our issue of the judicial strike in Malawi making things 'so' 'normal'. Even more than normal.

When so many things, in the world, are premised on twos, why have three branches of government? This must be so unnatural. This must be strange.

The on-going judicial strike has, therefore, normalised the situation in the life of the ordinary Malawian.

No one has, of yet, died of 'judicial strike' disease. Malawians continue to eat Nsima and drink water.

President Bingu wa Mutharika continues to rule, making sure the Malawian people get the basic necessities in life.

Members of Parliament continue to meet in Lilongwe (at the New Parliament Building constructed by our good friends, the great people of Mainland China).

Above all, the rains continue to fall.

In fact, Malawi has been experiencing more than enough rains since the day the junior judicial staff workers went on strike, and the rains have intensified since the judicial workers (the big people in the judiciary) joined the strike on Friday last week.

It must be normalcy. It must be normalcy.

(With the Judiciary and Executive branches still working), two must be good.

Malawi has gone back to two, the basic unit of life. Malawi is, more than ever before, the Warm Heart of Africa it has never been.

It makes two hearts to fall for each other. And two hearts to conspire.

Normalcy never comes in bits of three!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Misa: Information minister threatens journalist, confirms espionage within media fraternity

Malawi Alert-update
6 March 2012

Malawi’s Information and Civic Education minister, Patricia Kaliati, has verbally assaulted freelance journalist, Gregory Gondwe, following an article published by online news site, Biz Community and which Gondwe himself shared with Malawian journalists on a dedicated and exclusive e-mail discussion forum moderated by the Media Institute of Southern Africa’s Malawi Chapter (MISA-Malawi).

Kaliati is said to have accused the journalist of having a specific vendetta against her personally and the people from her region, the same region where Malawi president, Bingu wa Mutharika hails from. The minister then issued a ‘veiled’ warning to Gondwe, saying that this was to be the last time he wrote anything about her and suggesting that she would not be hesitant, in future, to do anything to the journalist since they did not hail from the same region in Malawi.

The article in question (available: told of the Malawi government’s dismissal of a cabinet assessment report published by The Sunday Times, a prominent newspaper published by Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL), the oldest publishing house in Malawi. On 2 March 2012, we issued an alert concerning the same minister and the Malawi government’s reaction to The Sunday Times’ initiative.

In his own words, Gondwe told the MISA Regional Secretariat Monday that: “Starting from yesterday [Sunday 4 March], a private call has been prodding on my mobile phone and I ignored the call since I don’t normally respond to callers with hidden identities. This morning [Monday 5 March] around 5AM the calling resumed. I ignored the calls for a while until I decided to answer.”

He continued: “My reluctance was confirmed when I discovered that the caller was none other than the Information and Civic Education Minister, Honourable Patricia Kaliati. She told me that there are journalists on the MISA-Malawi forum who are spying on some of us and alert her of any discussions that take place concerning her. According to the minister, I am trying to fight people from Mulanje (the minister’s home village) and I hold a vendetta against her because I wrote about her when she was not the only minister who scored 2 out of 10 in The Sunday Times report. She then sent a veiled warning that this should be the last time that I am stepping on her toes, apparently because we are not from the same place. This, after she had used foul language on me.”

MISA is gravely concerned about the condescending behaviour of Honourable Kaliati towards journalists, coming as it does against the backdrop of a rapidly declining democratic culture in Malawi. If such behaviour from a whole minister is symptomatic of the Malawi government’s growing intolerance of media freedom and freedom of expression then we shudder to think what plight will befall journalists and media professionals alike at the hands of junior public servants and quite possibly, people with links to the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

We encourage and plead with minister Kaliati to make active use of MISA-Malawi and the Media Council of Malawi to air out any concerns she might have regarding what is published or broadcast by the media in Malawi. In our view, calling journalists at nicodemean hours to verbally assault them and issue serious threats is hardly what a minister of Information and Civic Education should do in a functioning democracy.

We are also deeply disturbed by the acts of yet-unknown journalists who are working in cahoots with politicians, clandestinely distributing to them information that is intended only for paid-up members of MISA-Malawi and designed to enhance the media profession in Malawi by providing fodder for vibrant and robust debate amongst journalists, media professionals and media scholars alike.

Such journalists, while free to associate with whoever they like, are in clear breach of not only the code of conduct of the MISA-Malawi e-mail discussion forum but also the global ethical practice of journalism by knowingly putting their fellow journalists in danger through their aiding and abetting politicians to secretly gather information on targeted journalists.

While MISA acknowledges the existence and – indeed – necessity of diverse opinions and approaches within the profession, we wish to reiterate that polarization that has clear political influence as its common denominator is extremely harmful, leads to loss of both credibility and confidence and, in the worst case scenario, leads to unfortunate loss of life, all of which can be prevented. Therefore, we urge all journalists in Malawi to exercise restraint, seek to protect each other and guard the sanctity of the practice of journalism in spite of whatever differences may exist in how their work is executed.

Finally, we encourage journalists on the MISA-Malawi e-mail forum to continue freely engaging on all matters journalism and media. We reiterate that MISA supports innovation and enhancement of media products for improved quality and service to designated audiences and we view this critical introspection by Malawian journalists as a very special way of seeking to improve how the media in Malawi can better serve the citizens who rely on them, daily, for information, education and entertainment.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation says 'No'

Pakistan and the Islamic bloc of nations at the UN have declared their opposition to the UN Human Rights Council discussing discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

A panel discussion is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 March 2012, at the UN in Geneva, during the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Their opposition is set out in a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, signed by the Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, Zamir Akram. He writes on behalf of the government of Pakistan and all 57 countries that belong to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Ambassador's letter makes the claim that LGBT rights are not human rights; asserting that they have "nothing to do with fundamental human rights." It denounces same-sex relationships as "abnormal sexual behaviour;" adding that "the issue of sexual orientation is unacceptable to the OIC." Ambassador Akram's letter concludes by vowing that the OIC member countries "record their opposition to the holding of this panel and will not accept its considerations and recommendations."

Which Courage?

Confession: I don't know why I am writing this.
Just that, in life, this applies.
I think it's philosophy.
I think it's life.
Don't know.
- Richard Chirombo

The story of life in Malawi, and how its citizens have managed to weave their way through life's maze, is not inseparable from the story of courage.
Not courage in the carnal sense; courage in the broad sense.
What is courage in the carnal sense? The willingness, almost selfish desire, to sacrifice one's life on the alter of history; to, then, be remembered forever.
In which case, people only remember the good, green leaves, and leave out the dry leaves- the bad chapters in the life no longer full, as to be traceable.
The bad thing about this sort of courage is that it is, as the name implies, dark courage- selfish (one-centred), and devoid of objectivity, empty on gratitude and praise, and, therefore, stingy on truth.
What truth there is, if we may come to think of it, in throwing the thick skin of truth outside the window, all for the sake of that feel-good, good for nothing experience that feeds so well into hero-worshiping and pat-my-back expediency.
It (this carnality-wise existence) is so positive-minded it sacrifices truth for the sake of history, and pleases to a fault.
So, the carnally-courageous man and woman is a self-pretending, 'deep-skinned', 'holy' individual, so resistant to human flails and like-shortfalls.
The carnally-courageous man and woman, in the eyes of themselves and their self-proclaimed worshipers,never beats his wife or husband, girl or boyfriend, never chastens their children, but (instead) they pay their rentals in time, honour their debts two days before receiving their own wages, eat their neighbours' mangoes only when on the brink of starving, and express gratitude for every strand of their hair dyed at a fee, and always say sorry for doing the right thing.
No wonder, then, that it is carnal-courage that world leaders upload. But the leaders simply happen to stand in front of a small, visible picture on top of the small hill that is public life because others, too, partake of this selfish desire, and, in its waters, their eyelashes plummet.
For once, there are sports stars, religious leaders (the money-minded type), media tycoons, and others who soak their beards and dyed-hair in the blue waters of lie-coated fame.
Who, after all, abhors fame- even if they did not deserve it?
What about courage in the broad sense?
Having expounded on, and trod on the hot sands of, carnal courage, it is only sensible to dive deeper into the intricacies of broad-sensed courage.
This, for a start, stems from the willingness and drive to (not die manfully, as mostly applied in the carnal sense, but)live decently.
This is where decency and corrupt-mindedness part ways.
The broad-sensed courageous man and woman will strive to live a meaningful, satisfactory life. It does not matter who gets satisfied (leaders, the common, over-taxed citizens), and when- whether in this mortal life, or when all these things are past and gone, and all is but dust for the sun's rays.
This sort of individual strives to live decently. That is, to have responsibility towards the other (not only close friends, relatives, loved ones, and the people on life's road we have bumped into), and live for the self and others, reaching out to all people dutifully, and tendering to, and nursing, their troubles as if they were part of the self.
In which case, problems become a leg, a foot, an eye, a straying hair, a nail, eye lashes, brain tissue. That is, other people's problems and their own problems matter.
Such people reach out to others, and rejoice in so doing. Their courage is directed at events, circumstances, and not individuals. They are men and women of issues and circumstances, and never individuals of the stomach (self-aggrandisement).
In their minds, all the time (at least for the time in their lives that they are free from refreshment and recreation, for this is important in life), they want to explore ways of living productively, and worthily. Their obligations are, therefore, two-fold: To a supreme being, or deity, and fellow human beings (of course, they don't look at others as 'human beings'; they look at others as 'the human being', with individual needs, accomplishments, desires, hopes, and fears). But never, entirely, to themselves.
In which case, living decently has come to mean the pursuit of enjoyment where pain can be avoided, and the realisation of common goals where selfish motives are all too possible.
All these things are done in the hope that, when everything will be past and gone, including themselves, there should on earth one thing remain: legacy.
What people will make of it, and out of it, will be subject to the interpretations of their own time, their own mentality, their own attitude, and their own discretion. Their own interpretation, too.
The man and woman who lived courage in its broad sense will have nothing to do with it, and will never try to stretch an invisible hand through (by way of) their presence on the national currency, national monument, national stadium, dual carriage road, or multi-purpose shopping mall (as some people do- by attempting to 'commit', or achieve, mortality by naming things after their own names, as apposed to the names of their own children, children who will live after they are long gone).
This is different, so different from the carnally-courageous man, in that the carnally-responsive individual is always afraid of a future they will never be there to live.
On the other hand, the broad-sensed courageous individual is always concerned of, or about, the future they will never be there to see (of course, mortality being equal), but which future should be good. That is the remarkable, distinguishing mark- the future, to these people, must be differently sweet, so differently sweet.
The people who will be there are, therefore, made judges. Which is not possible with the canal fellas, who are always striving to sugar-coat their presence, in the hope of manipulating the future.
That is why, more than the one life they have, they will try to influence things more than once. They will try to do this by shaping people's opinion in favour of themselves (and never in favour of others. These are people who hate succession plans; sometimes, they even hate mortality, procreation. They may not marry, or date, or court. They want the world for themselves, by themselves, to themselves. They want the world to be themselves).
So, they go about naming public places after their own name. At family level, they will call their son 'Junior' as one way of making themselves visible in a world they may not be too visible. They will construct school blocks in their maize gardens.
Not only that, the carnally-courageous individual, because of that touch-less fear of death, will try to soil the names of others, name-call, where possible, and become their own best judges, their own spokespersons. Their own advocates. Their own hand-clappers. Their own freedom fighters.
Freedom fighters? No, it's never freedom (common freedom) they fight for. They fight for their comfort, betterment, aggrandisement, and happiness.
That is not freedom; it is addiction to freedom and, in a way, prisonership to such freedom- a kind of self-servitude. Now, prisonership is not stewardship. And freedom does not bind; it sets free.
While freedom may oblige individuals, or nation states, to do something, it does not restrict as to make it, in any way, 'impossible'. No, that is not the freedom we know; or, if such freedom we have not come to know, believe in.
Lastly, in between the carnally-courageous individual and the broad-sensed-courage individual is the courage pretender. Yes, courage pretender.
The courage pretender, another breed of human beings, has no clear side, no clear point, no clear hopes, no clear fears, and, therefore, no well-marked direction.
The courage pretender goes with the wind. The courage pretender follows the sun when it sets. The courage pretender hates the moon when it comes, and hates it when it goes. They hate the dark shapes on the moon.
They abhor the morning sun, for one, and bemoan the setting sun, for another. The pretender hates the past they never saw, and praises the future they have never seen.
Such individuals will hate the Biblical Adam for going against the ways of his Creator, and black-speak Eve for bowing to the enticings of the homeless snake.
They will talk of Adolf Hitler, and express how hard their blow would have felt, as it landed on Hitler's hairless head! They are always imagining things.
They will watch 'Nat Geo Wild'television, see the lions and tigers pounce on a monkey with a one-week old baby, and wish they were there to arrow the lions, and the tigers, and the leopards, to death for their 'thoughtless' deed. They will forget that, to the lion and the leopard and the tiger, the mother-monkey is but ndiwo (relish, enough for the day).
Narrow judgement kills them. Really.
What broadness there is, when one only thinks in 'if I were', 'hard it been', 'he would have', 'she would have', 'No, but' terms? It must be vanity. Really.
The courage-pretender thinks that things would have been better if they were there.
It is all wishful thinking. Really.
Because- common sense dictates- they were not there (in the first place).
Would not have been there (at all).
And may not be there- in the future after their future is but the past.
That is not all there is to the courage-pretender, though; the courage pretender does not stand for the broad-courage individual. The pretender will, also, not be against the broad-courage individual.
The courage pretender does not support the canal-courage individual either. But they don't oppose them, too.
Instead, the courage-pretender will think that they know what they want. In many ways than one, they don't- though they make themselves believe they do, and live like they do (in their private places).
And the courage-pretender may, at the same time, think they do not have a side, because they do not believe in their side, let alone know any such side.
But they will not oppose, too.
They are like warm.

But hopeful, anyway. That something must, in the jungle of truths, half-truths, and untruth, be true.
Just that it is not in them that the truth may be found.
It is not them that are the mine, in which deposits of truth lie hidden. To come out one day, and shine for all the world.
And be the sun for all the world.

However, one thing is clear- looking at the different ways, the many ways, people stick to (or will try to stick to) courage one way, or the other.
Courage must be sweet.
Courage must be good.
Courage is sweet.
Courage is good.
Courage is admirable.

Sweet courage.

Of the three courageous individuals here explored, only one will say 'Sweet courage'. Why? Because the mention of these two words demands certainty, sure-footnotes, steadfastness, and some degree of morality. Not academic morality, but life morality.

There is only one, though all desire sweet courage.