It is so hard to be in Malawi and not get used to the darkness. Perpetual darkness that is!
But it is difficult to be a soldier, patriotic soldier, for your country and be subjected to perpetual blackouts. Power outages. Blackouts. Does it make any difference?
Darkness is darkness.
Now, realising that these are peaceful years and it does not make sense for a camouflaged soldier to be subjected to the camouflage-of-darkness during times when peace is the national anthem, Malawi Defence Force soldiers (15 of them to be precise) visited Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) offices in Zomba on Thursday last week and repeated the act Saturday ( meaning, today) at around 9 am.
Make no mistake about it, they were in their camouflaged attire, ready to defend themselves from blackouts perhaps. But they were not armed to the teeth, in terms of weaponry. Their greatest weapon today was anger. The anger they held in the tanks of the emotions.
And their other weapon was their dressing. It was like they brought 'war' into ESCOM offices in Zomba.
Their demand, as if it were a simple thing to ask: Stop switching off electricity at Cobbe Barracks!
It seems there are no blackouts at Changalume Barracks, also in Zomba. Why, if that is not the case, did Malawi Defence Force solders from Changalume not join their colleagues?
Well, the soldiers further complained that the blackouts are negatively affecting their work at the barracks.
Too much darkness creates a war-like atmosphere somehow. And nobody likes it because peace tastes like roast meat! Sorry vegetarians but what vegetable smells like meat?
Well, the soldiers' displeasure is a reflection of the anger that is sweeping through the nation.
It has become a way of life for people to have hydro-electric power three hours a day.
This does not inspire confidence in anyone, let alone industry players.
Energy Minister, Bright Msaka, seems tactless, too. The best he has done is to accuse ESCOM of failing Malawian. Really?
For the time being, even the soldiers are not happy! Anger a soldier and you douse the flame of patriotism in them.
And that is not akin to playing with fire. It is actually playing with fire using the weapon of darkness. The sort of darkness only ESCOM can conjure up.
Let light come, starting with the barracks.