Saturday, August 20, 2016

As Justice Maxon Mbendera Turns Ancestor

It has been a hard, tearful 12 years to the point when Malawi, an orphan of virtue, has lost Justice Maxon Mbendera.
The Surpreme Court of Appleal Justice becomes the third high-profile official to die suddenly while on duty.
And, coincidentally, the high-profile officials who have left Malawi in that sad-like manner belong to the three branches of the government: The Legislature, The Executive and The Judiciary.
This trend, this sad trend, started during for president, the late Bingu wa Mutharika' first term in office.
When Bingu unceremoniously, but unsurprisingly, dished the United Democratic Front, his sponsoring political party, on February 5 2005, the former ruling UDF ganged up with the Malawi Congress Party to make his life politically difficult and unbearable.
And, there, rose Rodwell Munyenyembe, a man more national than regional, to bring sanity in the politically-poisoned atmosphere.
Munyenyembe, who went to Parliament as an opposition member of Parliament, put national interests before everything else and, for years, was Malawi's only sober member of Parliament.
One day, he bathed, had breakfast and was driven to the House of Chaos, Parliament, not knowing that that would be the last time he would be having breakfast at home. The last time he would be Malawian.
He ceased to be Malawian because death is a global moment.
He collapsed in the act of trying to bring peace between jostling parties in Parliament and never attempted to bring peace again. The shame and sadness that engulfed Parliamentary chambers became the reference point to what chaos to do.
A Speaker of Parliament had died in the Parliamentary chamber.
Malawian have never recovered from that loss. For Munyenyembe was a rare breed of politician. The shame of being Malawian is that people forget fast.
That time, there was talk to equip our health facilities well. At least so that they can help us resuscitate those who suffer from heart attacks.
Nobody cares.
And Munyenyembe went. Sadly.
And was quickly forgotten. By those who quickened his death and those who did not.
The Judiciary had lost a dedicated officer. Malawi was one wise man down.
Up next would be Bingu wa Mutharika.
That fateful April 5 2012, Bingu the hard worker set out to work.
His day was well mapped out by those responsible for drawing up the president's daily routine. And death was not on that map. And death was not part of that routine that day.
But came it did, death. And took Bingu with it.
Bingu had been busy talking to one of his members of the Cabinet.
And, then, he collapsed. Or so we were told. And we are still told.
His heart had failed and it could not be resuscitated there and then because the equipment was far aware.
When they took Bingu to the hospital, he was no longer the president. Have was a corpse.
Talk bordering on the necessity of buying the necessary equipment resurfaced.
Malawi had lost the head of state and government.
Today, under similar circumstances, Malawi lost Justice Mbendera on Thursday.
In the course of duty, as he prepared to go home that evening, he just collapsed and his home is the grave.
It is sad. The Judiciary has lost its own.
Malawi has lost a silent giant.
It can be said that, between May 30 and June 1, 2014-- when Malawian went to the polls, and the results because a ball tossed left and right in court-- Justice Maxon Mbendera, as Electoral Commission chairperson, and Justice Kenya that Nyirenda were about the only men who were sober in Malawi.
The rest were intoxicated with feelings of either loss or victory.
It was either this type of extreme anger or happiness.
Today, it is sadness that dominates.
Justice Maxon Mbendera, the former SCOM chairperson at Chancellor College, calm and ensuring a man, waits for us on the other side of veil.
Reminding us that we need to take this talk about heart resuscitation machines seriously.
As he lies peacefully, but dead anyway.
A man who died before the nation could have enough of him. A man who measured his words against his values before speaking them out to be measured but other men, and women.
Justice Maxon Mbendera is our ancestor now.

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