Saturday, May 28, 2011

Malawians should not play God on gays- Legalize homosexuality

Two days ago i ran an article by Hasting Ndebvu, this is my reply to that...
‘Malawi is a God fearing nation; gays will corrupt our children; gays are crazy; being gay is illegal.’ These are some of the arguments Malawians give in justifying homophobia. Convincing as the reasons seem, I find them wanting and in this apology I set out to put across a case for gays (transsexuals, gays and lesbians and Bisexuals).

First, I should put out this disclaimer that: we never say a cat is a caterpillar just because it is sitting on a pillar. These arguments are simply opinion staged for argument’s sake - to join the national debate, if you relate to them, well, put the cap on, it fits you.

Gays are not unnatural

The likes of Robert Mugabe have charged that gays are unnatural, that homosexuality is fit for dogs. I will not cite Mutharika’s similar rants because they were just a vain attempt to be ranked alongside Mugabe. With that said, I ask: are the Mugabe’s and the lesser known homophobes like Mutharika scientifically endowed to declare that gays are unnatural?

Yes research has shown that they are unnatural but it has also shown that gays are but normal. The seemingly complex algorithm is simple; everybody does research with motives. Recently Satoshi Kanazawa concluded that black women are the least attractive, Hitler used fake science to justify superiority of his race. Research is just funded and organised opinion.

As I know, homosexuality has been detected in over 150 animal species and that scientists now agree that there is no mental or psychic issue about being gay.

The reason hating gays is called homophobia is because we cannot justify the hatred, in fact it means we fear them. We claim that gays commit more suicide; that gays do allot of crime; that gays live shorter dangerous lives. To me it’s all a vain attempt to keep on hating gays.

In America, more crime is committed by Blacks, in Malawi more crime is committed by the poor ghetto people. It’s simple, if people are deprived and picked on, they are likely to commit suicide, to rob or act violent. It’s not being gay that makes one’s life short; it’s the conditions society puts them in. Blacks die faster than whites as do Africans vis a vis Japanese, its economics not genetics or sex.

 The religious card

Then there are people, some of them visibly satanic, who would like to play the religious card and justify homophobia by quoting scriptures.
I will not quote the Quran because to me that book is just a poetic version of the Bible and with the call for violence on Sura 4: verses 21-2: “... and if two of you commit it, then hurt them both...,” it’s better to leave it there because seriously, God cannot call for harm on his own creatures.

It is fact that homosexuality is listed as sin in the Bible, but what sin is not listed? People behave as if Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed solely for homosexuality and yet Bible says the cities were destroyed for their pride and arrogance (Ezekiel 16:48-49).

Then there is Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 that clearly says men should not sleep with other men. These verses are the talk of the homophobes, most of whom have not studied hermeneutics.  Yes, the Bible says gay practices are sins but it doesn’t stop there.

Stealing, gossiping, killing, lying, adultery are all condemned, as a matter of fact, the Bible prohibits tattooing, round haircuts, mixing fabrics, touching dead carcasses of animals like dogs and rats. Onan was killed for using the withdrawal technique in family planning terms, which by analogy also alienates masturbation (Genesis 38:9-10

I should take time to condemn the Lilongwe pastor who called for death of gays. He surely needs Theology 101 basics. The strict rules were what we term, Holiness Codes, they were for the priests, those from the tribe of Levi who lived almost like monks. If we take what Numbers, Deuteronomy and Leviticus said then we would not even be alive because we somehow commit deathly offences daily.

Before I turn this into a Bible commentary, which I would happily do, I should just say that the Bible was not written by God. It was written by people, people with cultures, people with attitudes and values, in Epistemology such knowledge is under revealed knowledge and cannot be disputed or paraded as gospel truth, so the Bible should not bind us, but rather guide us, that’s after agreeing on its canonicity.

Then there is this lame and, to borrow Bingu’s words, ‘stupid’ argument that since gays cannot procreate then they are against the Biblical order to ‘populate the world like sand.’ I will not ask you to point for me the guy who spoke to God for fear being labelled a heretic, but I will ask if we are not lucky to have gays coming along in this time of population related problems?

Gays will not add to our population, they will adopt the kids we father like pigs and fail to accept them (am not speaking of Kamuzu here), if we want to multiply like sand, some people are already doing a god job about it, why bother a small group of gays?

 It should also be made clear that being gay is not about having sex, it’s like marriage, and its purpose is long term companionship where sex is a member of the bigger universal set called marriage. Having or not having children in gay marriages is the same as in straight couples, it’s a choice. Who took Kamuzu to task for not having any known sons?

The only sin that gays seem to do is by inserting their members into each other’s rectums or in the case of women licking each other’s pudenda. But if we were to employ Cheaters’ Joey Greco to spy on the homes of some of us, many would be outlawed. People are performing blow jobs, cunnilungus, three-somes, double penetrations and some enjoy an occasional anal sex dosage with their partners. Who comes and points fingers at you?

Some say ‘design determines purpose,’ yes the penis is a rod that seeks a cavity, some take that cavity as the rectum and if the grinding of clitorises during lesbian tribadising suits them who are we to protest?

It’s very funny how straight people spend time chasing gays instead of chasing guys and girls, some of the straight people are too old or ugly or out-of-the-equation to be ‘the type’ for gays and yet they are on their case like a flamingo to a Rhino.  Why can’t we live and let live? 

Why do we behave as if the legalisation of gay sex will see a penis in our rectums? I thought once married it’s up to the partners to do things to each other as they please? We should not be hypocrites and play holy saints. 

Gays are people too, with rights

Gays, just like Lhomwes, babies, girls, men and miners are people with full rights. Yes, our constitution didn’t recognise them but can’t we understand that the constitution was coined a long time ago? Even in Greece where Democracy sprung, women were taken as property; it took time to recognise them. Blacks in America were slaves; it took time [and realisation] to recognise niggers as people. 

Discriminating gays means that is also alright for white people to still have reservations about our claim that we are not apes.

Just like God did to humans, we have been given free choice as echoed by Ecclesiastes who says we should enjoy our youth as we wish. Let everybody live their life as they choose. Let us not be little gods and start judging, a thing even God has reserved for end times. We are, in fact, being blasphemous by labelling gays as sinners- that’s God’s duty.

Gays, like University students have full rights; right to choice, right to association, right to opinion right to be protected, right to life and right to hold a belief.

Homophobia is costly

We all remember Shabba Ranking, the Jamaican DJ who took the world by storm with his sweet slack chants, his career crashed because of homophobia, along came Buju Banton whose ‘Boom Bye Bye’ tune still haunts him today, he is in a Florida prison and is likely to get 20 years IHL due to his homophobia, though its unrelated to his drug offences.

Now Shabba was tough and as tough as Shabba was, he publicly apologised. Also recall how Sizzla is boycotted in Britain and US. What the Jamaican artistes did is exactly what Malawi is doing, we know our market and support is in the West and yet we try to fight with it.

Respected Rastafarians like Apple Gabriel have accepted gays; in his 2010 album, ‘Teach Them Right,’ He sings of showing love to the gays, what an example for the untraveled Malawians.

In addition to my many Justification of legalisation of homosexuality is the issue of HIV/Aids prevention. gays are at the heart of the fight, imagine what problems we are creating if we dont iclude them in our HIV plans?

Malawi has no Culture

If you are still old fashioned and decide to watch MBC TV, you would likely catch Philip Business, Bessie Chirambo, Vuwa Kaunda or Hetherwick Ntaba tearing apart gays and their argument is that homosexuality is against Malawian culture. I foam at such generalisations and still wonder what we mean when we say Malawian culture?

Is Malawian culture the thieving Nyau culture, the vulgar Lower Shire mouths the pudenda peddling women at Malipenga dances in Nkhatabay or the game poaching Kasungu and Rumphi? Is Malawi culture tribalism, where a child born in Rumphi is Tumbuka first and Malawian next or the Mhlako who refuse to hide their favouritism in dealing with national cakes?

This myth called Malawi culture does not exist, and the jingoism that we are a God fearing nation is just another word for blasphemy. There is nothing Malawian about our culture apart from the stupid practices, the tribalism and the stinking politics. The religion is a rubberstamp; the real people are drunkards and staunch capitalists. Porn is easy to watch on government computers in Malawi than in the US.

In the world over, just like Malawi, priests dabble in paedophilia and some sex scandals go all the way up to the Pope’s nose. In the church they are pedagogically saint-like but we meet them in the weekend papers and in vibrating cars at airports.

With that angrily said, I think we are done with the Malawi culture crap, just like we dropped traditional religion for Christianity, lets accept the culture that is on us and not live in denial. Western culture is enslaving, yes but what are we to do? Our elders loved salt and cloth and sold our bright young men as slaves. Let’s integrate into Western culture and those who still feel tribal can practice their tribalism in their homes as the Israelites did under Babylonian rule.

Despite the likes of Tiwonge Chimbalanga being essentially unschooled, we still claim that homosexuality is a Western phenomenon. Malawians cannot just let other people do what they want, it stems from Kamuzu, who enjoyed women: watching them dance and impregnating some and yet thought the rest of the population should be restricted hence the banning of miniskirts and beauty pageants. Why do we think we are masters of other’s destiny when we cannot even steer our own country?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legalizing homosexuality is suicidal, why Malawi should say no to gays

'This article is very homophobic but not for real, it was written by Hastings Ndebvu, a classmate, an advocate of freedom but for arguments sake, he took on the role of the homophobe author- i will counter it very soon.'   

I will not talk about religion. I will not talk about Sodom and Gomorrah. I will not cite or quote any scriptures in justifying why homosexuality and same sex marriages are suicidal pills which our nation should not touch, even with a ten-foot pole. After all, I can only competently quote the Bible, if at all I can, if I am to use religion in denouncing homosexuality.  

I would be very naïve to assume that everyone in this country is a believer, our constitution guarantees freedom of religion but clearly states that we are a secular state. Thus, to make my arguments against the legalization of same sex marriages appeal to all and sundry, including the George Thindwa’s of this world, I will desist from making this article a Bible commentary.

It is pleasing to learn that Malawians already seem not to sit down too well with the odd practice of homosexuality. Unlike in the west, where there are known movements and activists specializing in gay rights advocacy, Malawi has no known movement specifically pushing for the legalization of the same. We have never seen people taking to the streets with banners held high demanding the legalization of homosexuality. No Member of Parliament has ever stood up in our august house to move a motion that his constituents have asked the parliamentarian to amend our laws so that they accommodate homosexuality. So I wouldn’t be risking it if I said the West is imposing this practice on us.

But that does not mean that am overlooking the exploits of  Tiwonge Chimbalanga alias Aunt Tiwo, and Steve Monjeza, and other local human rights (not gay rights) activists (many of which are  married heterosexuals). But Aunt Tiwo and company would not amass enough signatures on their petitions to make us believe criminalizing homosexuality is indeed infringing on a tangible section of our population.

But even if they could, in a democratic country like the one we are living in, the majority rules. So if these activists want us to believe that legalizing homosexuality is that important, I dare them to call for a referendum on this issue to let the people of Malawi decide. It would be interesting to hear and see the look on the faces of these activists in the aftermath of a heavy defeat of the idea in the referendum. Am sure they will still say we are infringing on gays. I wouldn’t be surprised. Those are the stunts that butter their breads anyway.

Let us now start checking-in in the outrageous action stations beseted with the journey to the legalization of homosexuality whose destination is condemnation.  

Firstly, it has been proven that homosexuality poses many complications which inevitably shorten the life span of the engaging personalities. This is well documented in  Is Homosexulaity Normal?, by Edward Fields. 

Fields revealed that the life expectancy of homosexuals in the West has dropped to a disappointing 42 years. This is of course a far cry to the median age of death of a married heterosexual man which is 75. He also reveals that the median age for the death of a lesbian is 45, contrary to the median age of death for the heterosexual woman which is a distant 79.

The drop in expectancy for same sex partners has been attributed to the reckless lives that homosexuals and lesbians live in their sexual behavior other behaviors. If these statistics are to be believed, then it means that homosexuality reduces a man’s expectancy by almost 44 percent while a woman who has decided to take up lesbianism automatically reduces her expectancy by 45 percent.

Now, we need not mention that our life expectancy is way below that of our counterparts in the west. According to the latest United Nations country profiles, the life expectancy in Malawi is 56 years for men and 57 for women. We are talking of “normal” married heterosexuals here.

 If Field’s statistics are anything to go by, it means the life expectancy for the Malawian homosexual and lesbian is likely to go down even further. The percentages may not totally tally with those from the west; suffice to say they may be worse. But if expectancies of the Malawian homosexual and lesbian are to reduce by 44 and 55 percent respectively as their counterparts in the west, then it means that life expectancies for  Malawian homosexuals and lesbians will hover somewhere around 31  and 26 years respectively.

Now for a country like ours, still developing and in need of a vibrant workforce to be losing its nationals at such a tender age due to homosexuality is retrogressive. At such ages, most of our men and women in the country are busy pursuing their studies with high hopes of contributing to national development. And the country can ill afford to lose them at that age to same sex orientations.

Some naïve people would argue that death is universal and it shall spare no one. True. But to confront death before one’s destined time is inhuman. And at those projected ages of death government would have spent a lot of resources in trying to make these homos and lesbians responsible and productive citizens. From paying and subsidizing for their education in schools, buying them drugs in our hospitals and subsidizing their agricultural investments.

Surely, the government expects a good return in any citizen when providing for these things and for one to cut short one’s own life deliberately due to homosexuality is tantamount to stealing resources which government would have invested in other meaningful development projects. Such people indeed deserve to be punished.

Legalizing homosexuality is also likely make the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic even difficult for our country. This is due to the approved recklessness of homosexuals and lesbians in their sexual behavior.

One needs not be a rocket scientist to agree that homosexuals are less caring about their commitment and faithfulness to their partners than people in opposite sex sexual relationships or marriages. That is not to say that all opposite sex marriage partners are committed and faithful, no. The point is the promiscuity levels in homosexuals are tenfold higher of people in same sex sexual relationships.

This allegation was also affirmed by medical experts Corey and Holmes, who wrote in Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis A in Homosexual Men that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 that the average homosexual has between 20 and 106 partners in a lifetime as compared to the average heterosexual who has a maximum of at least 8 partners in a lifetime.

Homosexuals  risk it. They engage in group sex, most of their sexual encounters occur when they are drunk, or high on drugs. In Is Homosexuality Normal?, Fields says that 41 percent of homosexuals in the United States admitted to having  sex with fellow homosexual strangers in public restrooms, 60 percent said they have had sex with strangers in bathhouses and 64 percent of  these encounters have involved the use of illegal drugs. To cap it , a research conducted by the Catholic Apologetics International in 2005 revealed that  homosexuality accounted for over 50 percent of  all AIDS cases in the United States of America despite the fact that  homosexuals account for only 1 to 2 percent of the country’s whole population.

Now, at that rate of promiscuity and prevalence rate, one wonders what legalizing homosexuality will mean in the fight against the pandemic in Malawi. With these statistics in mind, imagine how the prevalence rate will soar, how many vibrant brothers we will commit six feet deep and how much money our already broke government will be spending in providing free Anti- Retroviral Therapy Drugs. Surely as a country we can ill afford to give away all we have fought for in mitigating the pandemic and go back to square one because of legalizing homosexuality.

We also need to seriously think of the safety of our boys in the event of   homosexuality legalization. Imagine the relationship of a homosexual primary or secondary school teacher and his learners. Surely the learners would be easy prey.

Research worldwide has confirmed that children are the worst victims of homosexuality. In 2005, the Los Angeles Police, through its officer Captain William Riddle said over 30, 000 sexually abused children in the city were victims of homosexuals. This is in consistence with what gay activists Karla Jay, an English professor and Journalists Allan Young also said in their book The Gay Report, published in 1970 that 73 percent of all homosexuals have had sex with boys under the age of 19 and that Homosexuals commit more than 33 percent of all molestations in the United States.

These statistics attest to the magnitude of the threat that legalizing homosexuality, would pose to our children. We are a country already struggling to contain other form of child rights abuses such as trafficking and child labor and the last thing we would add on our shop list is the legalization of a practice more likely to escalate the abuses the rights of our innocent children.

And if our children are to embrace this behavior, what kind of a nation shall we become? One infested with homosexuals? I can bet my house on such a nation, still developing like ours not achieving meaningful development.

It is not the children only who would be left holding the wrong end of the homosexuality.  Studies and experiences in homosexuality legalized countries confirm that our villages, societies and cities are likely to experience increased cases of violence because of homosexuals.

The then Chief Magistrate of the New York City Criminal Court Judge John Martaugh said in 2004 that homosexuality account for half the murders in America’s large cities. It is also not by coincidence that over 50 percent of women on death row, according to the Lesbian News, are violent inspired convicted lesbians.

 These statistics point to the obvious. That something is unnatural with homosexuality and homosexuals. Why do homosexuals have a shorter life span than heterosexuals? Why do most  of them rely on alcoholism and drugs to have sex? Why are they often associated with violence?

Perhaps these are the questions that force many medical experts and psychiatrics to regard homosexuality and lesbianism as a form of a mental illness. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) only removed the practice as a mental disorder in the early 70’s after marching homosexuals stormed the Association’s annual conference offices for a number of successive years to force the association to scrap the condition as on mental disorder symptoms list.

Despite the removal, a majority of psychiatrics still feel homosexuality is unnatural and that people engaging in the practice have some forms of personal problems. American sexuality expert Lief says in his 2009 survey, Current Thinking on Homosexuality, that 73 percent of psychiatrics believe that homosexuals are less happy than the homosexual is a lesser jolly person. Probably this explains the findings of author Jerry Kaifetz who stated in his paper, Homosexual Rights Are Concern for Some, which he published in the Post –Tribune in 1992, that 50 percent of all suicides cases in the United States are attributed to homosexuality.

In light of these statistics and evidences we can hardly ask for more proof that homosexuality is evil and should not be condoned with or without the presence of donor aid. It is evil, unnatural and unwanted in Malawi. It is better to grow grey hairs in a poverty stricken house than die in infancy in a rich but evil abode. 

This article, the first of two is just for arguments sake. My Friend Hastings NDebvu will argue why Gays should stay illegal in Malawi and i will counter in the following article. Hastings is not homophobic, he actually wanted to write on the legalization but then we could have not argued...

Monday, May 23, 2011

One of my All-time favourite Musician-Everton Blender


Lash me hard
Punch me below the belt
Bob, Pete and Bunny
Sooth me when am sad
Help me to be glad
Let your magic be felt
All over my body

Try me in your dancehall courts
Drag me through Kingston’s ghettos
Fling your rhythms at me
Indoctrinate me with Ethiopian dogma
Smoke me with your bongos
Come Sly and Robbie; whip me with your dub

I don’t care if it’s Dekker’s Ska
Dawn’s ‘Steady or Yellow’s Rants
Just serve them with positivity
No daggering, knives and cartels
Serve me that dish without diss
Give me reggae on the roots!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kamuzu Must Die From Malawi’s History- Celebrating Him Is Satanic

By Bright Mhango
Hastings Kamuzu Banda, to some Malawians and Africans, was a statesman worthy emulating and that he has to be celebrated and given a special place in Malawi’s History. To others, like me, celebrating Kamuzu is like re-installing Adolf Hitler as Germany’s Chancellor. In this rant, I will raise reasons why Kamuzu should only be celebrated by witches.
I will start by dispelling the myth that Kamuzu was the one who fought for independence for Malawi, and that he was a good man.
When the four Young Turks; Masauko Chipembere, Dunduzu and Yatuta Chisiza, Kanyama Chiume plus Orton Chirwa launched their opposition against the 1953 Federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia, Kamuzu was in England. He refused to come to Malawi fearing that his extended family would prey on his money even though Nyasaland had paid part of his fees for him to become a doctor in Malawi.
It was only after he was sued for impregnating his secretary, Mrs. French in England and given marching orders in Ghana for operating an abortion clinic that he came to Malawi. There was nothing patriotic about his refuguish move.
The likes of Masauko Chipembere were doing just fine, the reason they invited Kamuzu was because he was old and thus instrumental in convincing the chiefs that didn’t take the Turks seriously when they preached independence.  Chipembere and Chisiza had already made their names as daredevils and the Hansard was selling like porn because of their revolutionary statements in the white dominated Legislative Council.
It was the young Turks who paraded Kamuzu around Malawi and gave him the post of MCP president on a silver platter. The Turks are the guys that wrote his swaying speeches and did some of the translation; yes translation, because the Malawian who wrote about his tribe in America did not speak his own language.
With the Vocal Turks, Operation Sunrise soon landed Kamuzu and his three mates at Gweru Prison in Zimbabwe where they laid out plans together. When Kamuzu was released and toured the world in the name of leader, his friends languished at Kanjedza. Kamuzu delayed securing their release to make political headway, finally releasing them on the day of the MCP convention in Nkhota Kota where he was made Life president of MCP.
They chanted down the British Babylon together and soon they won independence but Kamuzu wanted all the power; keeping a firm grip on six key ministries and not respecting the Turks and friends in public. The Turks felt like the rest of the Animals in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. They fought together and the pigs wanted it all?
It was only natural that the Turks, just like they did with the ‘Bush Meeting’ that sparked Operation Sunrise, meet again - producing the Kuchawe Manifesto that ultimately sparked the Cabinet Crisis of 1964. It was not even a crisis, the ministers wanted to check Kamuzu’s unjustifiably huge powers. Naturally Kamuzu refused and a vote of no confidence was proposed against him.
 Of course Kamuzu tricked the parliament and stayed on in power, he fired the ministers and the anarchy started.
Orton Chirwa and wife Vera were rewarded with a death sentence becoming Africa’s longest serving prisoners of concise. Dunduzu Chisiza was found dead on the Zomba-Blantyre road, Yatuta was betrayed by his Greek buddy and gunned down, and Chipembere went into exile.
Of course, the court did not find any evidence to nail Kamuzu for the Mwanza murders but what did you expect? What do dictators do with evidence?
As if that is not enough, Kamuzu took a queer attitude towards people from the districts north of Nkhamenya, who for lack of a better term, I will term Northerners. The only crime these people seem to have committed was to embrace Scottish education especially as pioneered by Dr. Robert Laws at Khondowe.
What followed was the banning of ChiTumbuka from MBC and The Daily Times at the onset of the 70’s. I once spoke to Manjawira Msowoya who explained how he and his fellow Northerners were booed at MBC by workmates after the ban was announced, you should have seen the look on his face.
Studies by the likes of Noam Chomsky and Ajit Mohanty suggest that tribal children learn better in their mother tongue at basic level, this was what was going on in Malawi with ChiTumbuka being taken up to JCE level in Tumbuka areas.  Kamuzu pulled out Northern languages from the Syllabus and had all the books burnt.
Tongas and Senas had to study ‘Maliro Ndi Miyambi ya Achewa’ as if they had no funerals and customs. I know a teacher who was slapped for teaching in ChiTumbuka soon after the ban and the church elders at St. Peters Parish in Mzuzu were nearly arrested for preaching in ChiTumbuka.
Unfortunate for the North, 80% of the police stations were filled with Chewa speaking officers to partly enforce the ban and to check rebels. Even today, villagers are forced to speak in Chichewa when being interrogated or giving evidence.
To come from the North was suddenly a problem to Kamuzu; led by John Tembo late in his rule he brought on the Quota system to check the numbers of Northerners in secondary schools and colleges. Brothers and sisters had to shed ‘Northern’ names to adopt those from the Chewa speaking tribes to stand a chance.
Call it what you may but the 1980s deportation of teachers of Northern origin to the North was the most traumatising. It was not just teachers, hundreds fled across the borders and their crime was the same, being Northerners.
If not for a Mr. Jungubawa felling a tree onto the road leading to Livingstonia’s water source, a government 110 defender full of poison would have accomplished its mission. Livingstonia by then was fully behind Chakufwa Chihana’s revolutionary messages.  Of course none of you cares about that genocide attempt, but I do, I was there in Livingstonia. And thanks to the likes of November and Paul Jungubawa, that 110 Defender was evenly smashed and popularity for Chakufwa Chihana trebled.
As if that is not enough, Kamuzu made speeches calling an end to regional discrimination to ironically call for it. While he splashed millions on his pet capital city, he swore not to develop the North and called people from their ‘Rebels.’
My grandfather at Mlowe, the home of Kamplepo Kaluwa and myself, told me that the lakeshore road had to be diverted at Chiweta to pass via Phwezi and Mzuzu to avoid developing the Mlowe and Nkhatabay areas because they were the homes of some of the so called rebels, in fact the so called Northern Corridor was only sanctioned after war in Mozambique made Nacala a bad route. Why such passion at hating and for what? Being a Chirwa or a Chiume?
 I have come to be Northerner because of Kamuzu. My friends are from Lilongwe, Dowa and I from the North. I cannot speak my language elsewhere in Malawi or people will call me names. I am certainly not going to get employed in some companies because I am from the North.
Kamuzu crushed dissent like lice. Good journalism was a crime. Pollock Mhango was detained (1981) for seven years and beaten mad for writing; Mkwapatira Mhango was bombed (1989) in his house killing him, his two wives and five children. This was just after Kamuzu said that facts of his lavish official hostess were being leaked to international media by Mkwapatira and family. Maybe, you cannot feel the gravity because you are not a Mhango.
We cannot pin down what my distant grandfather, Matchipisa Munthali did to deserve 27 years behind bars, or why Atati Mpakati lost, first his fingers, to a parcel Bombing and later his life in a KGB style assassination.
People lived in fear under Kamuzu, I remember being with my grandmother, NyaChikoko when Kamuzu death was announced, she sighed and told stories of how her house was forcibly used as a guest house by MCP officials and how drunkards were clubbed to death by the Malawi Young Pioneers for behaving in a rebel manner.
Miniskirts and long hair were banned while our friends in Jamaica and USA enjoyed hair and bare thigh. Though I was young, I recall how jittery people were at the passing of a plane believed to be carrying the Ngwazi or at the chime of the national anthem. Only the rare breeds partied and gardened during public holidays. Was that not a gaol of some sort?  Smells like Taliban controlled Afghanistan to me.
Yes, you remembered the Youth Week! Good as its intentions were, the implementation was via Chinese channels and that part hurts a lot.
The saga continues
Kamuzu Banda was the only Black Person that thought Apartheid was good. When everybody was breaking ties with South Africa, he was busy strengthening trade links. Here is a guy who criticised the Federation and called for independence of Malawi.
If you are reading this from Lilongwe you should know that you are in the blood city, it was built with funding from the oppressive South Africa. In addition, Kamuzu said at the OAU that Egyptian planes that were scheduled to start bombing South Africa should not pass through Malawi.
Banda’s hypocrisy also played out in Mozambique where he supported both the oppressive Portuguese government and the rebels? How sick is that? Supporting both Renamo and Frelimo resulted into Malawians killing Malawians sometimes as they were in both fighting sides.
The Britons asked to build Bangula dam, which would have been bigger that Sudan’s Gezira Damn but using lame excuses such us the fear of Bilharzias, Kamuzu rejected the move effectively assuming responsibility of today’s blackouts.
Personal enrichment is also another noxious thing about Kamuzu, coming to Malawi as a broke sex scandalist with a medicine career begging to be banned, he died with wealth estimated at half a billion US dollars.  Why the past and current governments haven’t properly looked into his wealth is a question for all of us to ponder on.
This is the guy who clashed with Orton Chirwa on the pace of Africanisation in the 60’s, what does he produce as a solution? Kamuzu Academy. Taking 80% of the budget allocation to education to set up a school that taught Latin and Greek. Did Malawi not need a hundred MCDEs -as they were called?
The guy was a schizophrenic, its why he dubbed himself the mouthful title ‘His Excellency The Life President (Paramount Chief) Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda,’ thirteen years before his death as quoted in The Independent of UK on 27 November 1997, said “Government here means Kamuzu. Kamuzu is Malawi. So be frank when speaking about government. You know you are speaking about Kamuzu, that’s all whether you like it or not.” Is Malawi Kamuzu now?  So this is where Muluzi copied his “afune asafune” phraseology?
All I have been trying to say it that when you celebrate Kamuzu, when you let people that pioneered his policies like John Tembo and when you give respect to queer questionable women like Cecilia Kadzamira, you make some of us shiver. I was shocked to hear that Tembo is now a church elder but I know that’s typical of the church, even Pope Benedict backed gay molesting priests?
When you build grand mausoleums for dictators, adopt their names, policies and name landmarks after them, you make us remember what we are trying hard to forget. I wonder if they have a street named after Hitler in Germany.
Yes we know to many of you he is a hero, of course he is the guy that made you rich, that made your culture and language official, that gave you the ‘elite’ status among your fellow Malawians but if I am to belong to Malawi, it should be that without big brother posters looking down on me and reminding me of the Nazism that I, my kind and others have been through.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Malawi SHould Celebrate Kamuzu Banda

By Hastings Ndebvu

“Systems of government are dynamic and they are bound to change in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people… During my term of office, I selflessly dedicated myself to the good cause of Mother Malawi in the fight against poverty, ignorance, disease among other issues: but if within the process, those who worked in my government or through false pretence in my name or indeed unknowingly by me, pain and suffering was caused to anybody in this country in the name of nationhood, I offer my sincere apologies. I also appeal for a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness amongst us all.”
This is an excerpt of a statement of apology by the country’s first president the late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda on January 4, 1996 shortly after being acquitted in the infamous Mwanza Trial.

Kamuzu knew he had left behind a two face legacy. One, of a celebrated icon and the other, the bigger one unfortunately, of an iron fisted ruler people would not dilly dally to incorporate in the brackets of the ruthless of dictators to have graced the African continent.

True to the his fears, Kamuzu’s name still splits the political pundits, the intellectuals, the academicians and indeed the men on the street with some hailing the “Lion” as Kamuzu was fondly known, as the greatest leader the country has ever had and others loving to hate the Ngwazi to an extent of calling for a complete edit of the country’s history scrolls just to rid the nation of the what they say is a nauseating and stinking episode of Kamuzu’s rule in the history of the nation.

Granted, Kamuzu, had his flaws, just like his predecessors and successors. Infringements of people’s rights, the ruthless Malawi Young Pioneers, the detentions without trial, the overzealous censorship of works of art and the staged “accidents” that claimed the lives of some innocents sons of this nations indeed left a stain on the fabric of our nation’s history.

But that be as may to suggest that Kamuzu be erased from the annals of our history is toeing a step too far, it is to say the least, throwing a bouncing baby together with the bathwater.
 As former president Bakili Muluzi used to say during his reign, “History safuta ayi, olo ingaipe bwanji! (You do not erase a country’s history, whether it’s good or bad). As a nation, keeping the history of Kamuzu can not only be due to what Atcheya rightly used to say. Rather it is the silver lining to Kamuzu’s cloud that as a nation, we must revel in and take aspirations . The flaws? Should they not  serve as a board the nation should draw its lessons from?
 The Life of Kamuzu Banda, the son to Mphonongo Banda and Akupingamnyama, should
Give Malawians the atleast something to draw pride from. Both as an individual and a leader of our state.

Humble beginning

As an individual, Kamuzu portrayed a never give up and never say die attitude in his quest for a better life.  At a tender age of  13 he  set off, on foot, with his uncle Hannock Msokera Phiri for Hartley, presesent day Zimbabwe, where he, a year later proceeded to Johannesburg to work in the mines in his chase for a better life. Perhaps it is this hardworking attitude  that forced Bishop W.T. Vernon of the African Methodist Church to offer to pay Kamuzu’s tuition fee at A Methodist School in the United States of America on the condition that Kamuzu funds his own passage to Uncle Sam.

His hard work saw him further his education which climaxed in the attainment of a second medical degree from the University of Edinburgh. This however was just a preamble to a greater service of liberation which Banda would pay to his native and indeed our country Malawi.

Breaking the “stupid” federation.
 Kamuzu’s enviable sense of patriotism while in Diaspora deserves special mention. He already had his sights on breaking the “stupid” federation even when he was in the cold lands. While overseas Kamuzu never for once forgot his native country. While at Bloomington, he wrote several essays about his native Chewa culture in particular and Malawi in general. In all this, Kamuzu was keenly following the events in this country and was bold enough to end his 42 stay abroad to come home and lead his kinsmen to freedom. Quite a bold leader.

When fighting the federation, Kamuzu risked his won life and indeed that of the majority of Malawians fighting for the same cause as his. But being the Brave leader Kamuzu was, he caused a stir enough to make the British protectorate rise up and take notice of the struggle of Malawians in their attempt to break free from the federation. Despite Being arrested on March 3 1959 for his role in the “Operation Sunrise,” Kamuzu was never deterred and continuing leading his country to independence when he got out of  Gwelo (now Gweru) in April 1960.

He traveled to Britain to partake in independence talks which resulted in the Britain, through its Secretary of State for African Affairs R.A Butler to bow down to the mounting pressure and agree to end the Federation in December 1962. 4 years later and six years after his return Kamuzu successfully attained independence for the country and choose the name “Malawi” to replace Nyasaland.
 Such an achievement may now, 49 years down time, seem a not so important feat for some of the people in this country to give Kamuzu the credit he desearves for achieving it. But malice aside, it can not be an exaggeration to say that this country will forever be indebted to Kamuzu for firstly breaking the stupid federation as he termed it and secondly for leading the nation to its independence.

These were no easy feats. They had been tried before by the Likes of John Chilembwe but, without taking anything from them, not achieved. People like John Chilembwe lost their lives and Kamuzu was well aware of such a threat when he came home. But he came all the same to fight neither for himself nor for his family but for the people of the entire nation. Kamuzu, for this feat has every reason to be hailed as a hero of this nation.

This well accounted history of our independence should be taught within ourselves with pride. Our kids in our schools must know this piece of history like a pastor should his words. They too must be able to take pride In the fact that a person from their own country was able to rise up against the white man in as early as the 1960’s to ensure that they enjoy the freedom they are enjoying. That their parents bury to the grave the notorious Thangata. That were able to jump into any bus and lounge themselves in any seat in that bus, next to anyone without feeling ashamed of their skin color.

Even more to tell them that a country like South Africa Had to wait until the early 1990’s to enjoy such freedoms owing to a delayed attainment of freedom. Why then should we as a country fail to honor Kamuzu?

Visionary leadership and national development
 After taking over the reins of power from the British, Kamuzu showed right away that he had come to develop the nation through massive infrastructural development. Shortly after attaining independence, Banda promised that he would enact the University of Malawi. He proved to be as good as his words as his words when the University of Malawi opened its doors in 1965 in line with Kamuzu’s vision of bringing development to his people by empowering them with sound education.

To appreciate the magnitude of Kamuzu’s achievement in assembling the University of Malawi, which ended with the formation of the College of Medicine in 1991, one just has to appreciate that since then, the country has had just a single University in the name of Mzuzu merely turned into one from an already established secondary school. It therefore is not an exaggeration to say that the majority of the country has is and will continue to s benefit from university education because of Kamuzu. Why then should we as a nation fail to celebrate the life of Kamuzu?

Banda’s vision of transforming the country also manifested itself through the various infrastructural Development Policies (DEVPOLs) documents that Kamuzu adopted for the development of the country since 1964. These are the policies that saw Kamuzu singlehandedly, relocate the capital city from Zomba to Lilongwe against the wish of the British government who opted for the capital city to shift to Blantyre.

Kamuzu instituted the Capital City Development Corporation which catapulted the building of the capital city. A new road connecting Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe was built under this initiative, the government seat at Capital Hill and other buildings that we are still proud of as a nation today such as the Malawi Hotels Limited, currently trading as SunBird Hotels were built. It was under Kamuzu that the country experienced its first economic boom during the mid to the late 1970s owing to Kamuzu’s sound management of the country’s major companies.

 It would also be absurd to delete from the history of this country the dynamic leadership with which Kamuzu Banda made Malawi almost a Hunger Free nation during his entire reign save for some few and far between notable years of famine such as 1949.
  Kamuzu encouraged Malawians to invest heavily in their agricultural fields to ensure a hunger free nation. A wise encouragement this was considering that the majority of the populace was illiterate. The farm clubs which were playing a crucial role in providing advisory and farm inputs assistance to the local farmers proved to be of massive importance in making the national granaries full year in year out. As a country we only need to cast our memories back to the past few years in which the country’s granaries run out of its stocks to appreciate the magnitude of Kamuzu’s wise leadership that enabled him to make Malawi a food secure nation for three decades.

It may also sound absurd but it is true that Kamuzu need to be hailed in his efforts in his role in promoting the rights of women in this country. Kamuzu’s reign was very supportive of women rights as compared to other African government of his era. This was evident by the formation of the Chitukuko Cha Amayi m’Malawi, (CCAM), a grouping which aimed to address and fight the challenges that our mothers faced during Kamuzu’s reign.
 In terms of international relations, there are also some lessons that we can draw from Kamuzu. Controversial as his association with the Apartheid government of South Africa might have been which Kamuzu got a lot of stick for anyway, Kamuzu chose a plausible approach by urging fellow African leaders to concentrate on convincing the South African government that apartheid was an evil than need not show its face on earth. Quite an a plausible approach than a hostile approach which many African countries wanted to take.

When all about why Kamuzu must be celebrated by the nation is said and done, it is worth exposing and highlighting the atrocities that the Africa’s “odd man out” committed to some of the countries personalities, societies, tribes, regions and at times to the country in general. We as a nation need to be vigilant in arresting any possible re-emergence of such calamities.

That said, let the country be not blinded by the consequences of such calamities so much as so forget the service that Kamuzu rendered to this nation. If he admitted and apologies to those he or his cronies hurt in his name during his reign, why then should we as a nation not demonstrate the “God fearing nation” we as a nation fame ourselves for and celebrate the positives of the great man who founded and fathered a great nation that is our country.

Today, on his day, let us celebrate the life of a brave man who dared death to liberate his people. Let us take pride in a leader who instilled discipline, unity and obedience in his nation to the admiration of many a leader, including our incumbent president. The leader who deserves to be  hailed as the cornerstone of this nation.

i will counter this tommorow.....

Friday, May 6, 2011

University of Malawi - Anti-Government Demonstration

Since street demonstrtaions are banned in Malawi, Students at the country's top university, The Polytechnic decided to stage an in-campus demo wher they burnt the ruling party cloth, chanted anti-government slogans and yes they rocked to the sound system...the following day government ordered the university to be shut down.

Check it out on Youtube here

Live from Airstrip One – Hope you know Newspeak

I will not lie, I am very unqualified to do this but the since Bible says ‘just like iron sharpens iron, man should learn from another’ and that ‘no one is without sin’ hence the motif: to err is human, I will risk it. In this article I will use George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen-Eighty-Four to tear apart President Mutharika, who to me, stands for the axis of evil in Malawi.
Man is a political animal by nature, said Aristotle and even if we try to defy this assertion, decisions of politicians will soon impact on our lives.  Take DRC: politicians disagree and war ensues, the politicians hide and the civilians bear the blunt. I hope you now see why indifference is costly, it’s better to be part of the decision that to hear of it.
Nineteen-Eighty-Four” is a dystopian novel revolving around one Winston Smith an editor of a state controlled paper in the Ministry of Truth. The country is under the rule of Big Brother and mind control, police rule and a hardship are the rule of the day. I will not summarise the book here, I just need a few analogies.
To me Mutharika is Big Brother, slowly turning the nation into a police state. This, as manifested by the interrogation of Chancellor Colleges’ Political Science lecturer, Blessings Chinsinga, the shoot to kill order, the bill giving police more powers and yes the brutality of the police and their swiftness at handling opponents of Mutharika like in the case of Reverend Levi Nyondo and Lonjezo Sithole.  How I wish they were this swift when our homes are being robbed.
Malawi is now divided into three castes: the inner party of DPP big wigs and their Big Brother; the outer party made of the presidential tribesmen, the Lhomwes and then the Proles that is the rest of Malawians- we agreed that we would be equal but it seems they changed the pact to “some people are more equal than others.”
I will not say of the contracts, appointments and favours that seem to increasingly fall only on the president’s tribesmen because it is not my focus here, nor will I mention how party officials get all the favours and rip the country of resources and still walk scot-free, that is for later.
Before I continue with my rant, I should bring up Animal Farm, a novella by Orwell in which animals revolt against man and then develop their own oppressive caste system that calumniates into another revolution.
Big Brother is like Napoleon in Animal Farm: they both have scapegoats; spin-doctor’s and successfully psychologically conditions the population to accept their propaganda.
Mutharika uses Vuwa Kaunda and Hetherwick Ntaba to defend Mutharika’s every move, they don’t surprise me, Animal Farm’s Squealer and 984’s Winston Smith did that too. Recall when Boxer was being sent away to be slaughtered after he got injured, Squealer came and said he was going to the hospital and that the words “horse slaughterer” on the van were there because the ambulance had been bought from a slaughterer.
Then Boxer’s death was reported to have occurred ‘at the hands of the best medical care’ by squealer. Watching Malawi Broadcasting Corporation TV, one only smiles at the steady flow of words from the too familiar Ntaba, “the president never said’s the work of enemies of democracy... they have personal issues...,” everything is in history and literature, really, Josef Goebbels pioneered that in Hitler’s time.
Mutharika is the founder and the mentor of every idea, every project and every highway even when it is a donation from the Japanese government. Mutharika is responsible even for the good rains-his visionary and able leadership.
As a diversion, I also see a lot of Khmer Rouge in Mutharika. The Khmer Rouge are the guys that ruled Cambodia in the last half of the 1970’s. When they assumed power they changed the country’s name, they hated intellectuals -in fact they killed over a million of the country’s educated folk, they said the country was too endowed to depend on imports. They said everyone should go to the country and start farming...I will stop there.
Mutharika came to power and started changing names of hospitals, districts (Chikwawa) and stadia, then the flag was changed, passports, vehicle license plates and the fact that Malawi can stand on its own was raised. Still don’t see a link?
Well, intellectuals were suddenly his enemies and donors from Norway, Denmark and Britain were promoting bad things in the country and as an icing the British high Commissioner was deported- though Squealer Ntaba insists , he wasn’t deported.
The changes above are not copied from Khmer Rouge; they are prescribed by an ancient Italian guy called Nicollo Machiavelli.  He advised that everyone seeking to maintain power should erase history that reminds people of the past regimes.
Machiavelli did not only say that, unfortunately. He said that a leader should be feared, that opponents should be eliminated, that pawns should be used. That is where the police come in; they have instilled fear into the populace such that clergymen have been arrested for criticising the president or forming dissenting groups. The idea is to make people fear Mutharika, told you, it’s not new.
Of course Mutharika has failed to successfully use Machiavelli and it seems he has been reading notes from his contemporary, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe believes that everybody opposing him is a British puppet and that donors are there to exploit Zimbabwe, this is good philosophy, even Dambisa Moyo of the Dongo Republic theory would advise so, but is the timing and pacing right?
All I see is an Okonkwo in Mutharika worse still an Okonkwo without Obierika to offer advice, everybody that was supposed to play Obierika is singing praises. Take David Mphande, the guy was my professor in my Mzuzu University days, he was critical of politicians and he knows enough philosophy by heart to run a country on but look at him? Are there any signs that he is a reverend, Doctor, and Professor apart from being a minister?
Or take Ken Lipenga, I spent my childhood worshiping his story he did about a suicidal tailor or Professor Mwanza, the guy used to run a University and he cannot tell Mutharika that he is now officially a Malawian Idi Amin? The set up reminds me of Ayi Kwei Armah's Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born, where corruption could even be seen in railings of a building’s stairs and yet the only person seeing it was “The Man.” Can we not find a “The Man” in Mutharika’s Inner Party?
Instead you will hear people crowning Mutharika as the neo-Ngwazi, the conqueror of hunger and you will hear people inviting Mutharika over to shower him with accolades and nobody to whisper into his ear saying, “I hear you are one hell of an autocrat where you are from?”
Staying with Armah, Mutharika came like Kwame Nkrumah, he was a messiah and as dubbed by musician Nkasa, he was “another Moses,” and just like Nkrumah he has closed his ears to advice and let corruption run the country.
Mutharika is not alone in this rotten Malawi, he is with Malawians. Despite the work of MBC, Ntaba and Vuwa, there is no reason to still be a passive nation which behaves like the sheep or the cat in Animal Farm. There are some Malawians who happen to see the corruption and decline of Malawi as a democracy but just like Benjamin in Animal Farm, they remain silent.
  Surely we are not becoming like residents of Airstrip One where even orgasm will be robbed from us and absolute loyalty to Big Brother demanded, already we have spies and police roaming among us and yes a bill is being drafted to introduce a Malawian version of the Gestapo. Is there nobody among us that can behave like Animal Farm’s hens and destroy the eggs instead of giving them to the pigs?
Is there no Obierika that can act as the proverbial mouse that put a bell around the cat’s neck? Do we accept the mind control that so-called journalists purvey at MBC? Are we going to be like Boxer who works hard and believes that Napoleon is always right even when he is selling him off to the glue maker?
What we should know is that Mutharika is 77 years old and by the time we want to hold him responsible, people will be shouting 2mercy on the old man, please!” by then we will be the ones without ARV’s, with closed colleges, with no aid partners, with only a Chinese Embassy open where we cannot go to complain unless we have to offer land or something commercially viable.
Livingstonia Synod said it, Catholics echoed, militants like Harry Mkandawire and Kamplepo Kalua said it, civil society seconded it, University lecturers said it, university students shouted it, opposition parties say it daily, donors and foreigners said it: Mutharika is dictating - they cannot all be wrong. He must be wrong, contrary to the Josef’s, Squealers and Smiths we see on TV!
It’s up to us; are we going to be the generation that was bullied or are we going to be Malawians that jealously guarded their democracy- it’s up to us, as for the Animals of Animal Farm, well they got their equality and freedom back.