Mzuni lecturer’s views on North Malawi secession debate

Malawians as a people are renowned for their love for peace, co-existence, oneness and above all else solidarity in the midst of diversity- ethnic, religious, political, socio-economic or otherwise – that is despite the myriad of challenges the nation faces across all divides. This mindset has absolved us of the chaos and strife that has rocked many sub-Saharan nations even close neighbors in the sub-region.

Above all else we as a people are best identified with our fear for God and friendliness hence our global brand as the ‘warm heart of Africa’. All this is bound to be lost however if what we are beginning to decipher from the north is anything to go by and not just political rhetoric, chit-chat, tete-a-tete or mere gimmicking.

Young Pastors Coalition of Malawi addressing a press conference against  secession

Young Pastors Coalition of Malawi addressing a press conference against secession

What l have heard and read might just be anecdotal in detail but talk in the Nation newspaper of 25th August from some quarters in the northern region especially from one political Reverend who l do not want to mention by name and is openly touting for the secession of the northern region on flimsy justification unequivocally grounded on his own personal nepotistic, conservative, anachronistic and divisive mindset is cause for concern.

Much as the north has not really been equitably considered in developmental terms albeit in the previous regimes especially the one party state in which it had more of a pariah stereotype – we all would agree if we are to be honest and frank with ourselves given factors and evidence on the ground that by and large development has in recent times been significantly and equitably trickling to the region.

I  for one despite not being  a northerner by origin has stayed there for the past seven years or so due to career commitments and I am subject to be corrected but if my memory serves me correctly the region has drastically been transformed in the few years I have been here.

For somebody who has not been to the region in the past 10 years or so you would be in for a surprise if you visited Mzuzu city for one in terms of the infrastructural development taking place in the city – you talk of the Reserve bank complex, Shoprite, Toyota Malawi, Mzuzu University just to mention a few without missing the residential house mushrooming in most townships of Mzuzu city.

The current government is talking of Mombera University in Mzimba and there are many other developmental strides that have drifted to the north Kayerekela inclusive. It therefore becomes worrisome and smacks of lack of appreciation when some quarters nursing personal political frustrations, grounded on their nepotistic mentalities as well as political greed begin instigating and corrupting the mentalities of innocent multitudes of northerners with dissension and divisive sentiments.

The bottomline rather remains that far as the north has lagged behind developmentally, much of the lack of progress in recent times might be ascribed to the same politicians championing secession who when blessed with political portfolio or leadership positions even in other government realms or even NGOs forget about their homeland and roots to develop the central and southern region.

Most of these political gurus have business structures, ventures and complexes in Blantyre and Lilongwe including mega hotels and shops not to mention mansions which if they had been constructed in the north would have made a difference developmentally. It therefore becomes paradoxical when such elements parrot secession in the face of open betrayal of their own people. What is even more worrisome is the ring-leadership of such sentiment with a so called Reverend being in the forefront masterminding dissension amidst his own personal agenda to the betrayal of his Christian statues such as tolerance, love and integrity.

The motive behind such a proposal is honestly not in goodfaith or in the guise of goodwill not only for the northerners themselves but for Malawi as a peaceful nation – and for the Reverend he needs to know that it smacks of treason. Historically civil strife in diverse parts of the world including the two world wars, ethnic and other sectarian violence have unfortunately been championed and instigated by the so called clerics/clergy and other religious figures who remorselessly masquerade as Godly people yet deep down their hearts they exude and are reething with evil intent and personal aggrandizement.

The  case in point comes as a major cause for concern as already alluded to bearing in mind that Malawians are renowned for solidarity and oneness even in the face of diverse ethnic groupings – a case that has been grounds for civil strife in many sub-Saharan countries – Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Nigeria and even Mozambique just to mention a few.

We Malawians despite our diversity, ethnically, religiously, regionally, politically or otherwise have never succumbed to the mundane differences to the extent of implicitly disgracing ourselves in the eyes of the global community. We intermarry, leave side by side as neighbors in our communities in various cities and small towns across the nation, we do business together and the young generation brush shoulders without limitations grounded on trivial inhumanness in schools and colleges across the nation. Politically we do interface as one in the diverse political parties despite our ethnic and regional differences.

The fact therefore remains that we are one people despite the political and regional divides that some zealots are trying to capitalize on. Let us stand above petty jealousies that have no inkling in molding and building a nation state and build our Malawi as one people considering where we have come from as a people of the same pedigree.

For religious people to be championing division like the ‘don’t cross the Dwangwa’ sentiment from some Livingstonia synod gurus in the light of the heat of debate the Quota system saga and the secession sentiments in the light of political issues currently is shameful and comes as a pity smacking of hypocrisy considering how religious people are held in high esteem across the nation and the globe at large.

Let’s build our destiny as Malawians together and let us desist from preaching hate, dissension and disunity. Malawi is so small a nation to divide on regional or ethnic grounds and my advice to the Reverend and some quarters who have the same crippled mindset is that let them be sober minded when contemplating and deliberating sensitive issues that might end up putting at stake lives of multitudes of innocent people.

Let them if they are honest to themselves and their faith seek the face and guidance of God in truth before championing their own personal motives that might put in jeopardy multitudes of innocent people who do not even benefit from their political or religious gambit.

‘We are ONE PEOPLE and one NATION’ Barack Obama [US President]

‘Let not our nepotistic, anachronistic and conservative mindsets divide us’

Marisen ‘Maestro’ Mwale [Lecturer and Researcher – Mzuzu UNIVERSITY]

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