Wise One: Weeping by the rivers of Nyasaland

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

Lucius Banda: Son of a poor man

Lucius Banda: Son of a poor man

We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion.

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? Psalm 137:1-4

Lucius Banda MP has expressed disappointment with the Malawian penchant for listening and dancing until dawn, all the while singing along until their voices get hoarse, to his hard-hitting songs; only to fall short of moving even a finger to change their fortunes by demanding more and better from their millionaire leaders.

I truly feel for Lucius, the Son of a Poor Man. The psychological torture he is going through, is something I relate to. I too often get the same question from people asking why am not writing or blogging as prolifically as I used to.

Thom Chiumia, the inimitable Nyasa Times editor, is one person I cannot chat with without this question arising.

Lucius’s response: “What are the people doing with what I have sung before? Have we not inspired them enough to stand up and act?” more or less nails it.

“In the past, the youth would act without looking at one’s party affiliation. And that’s why we had multi-party. But today, people are loyal to their parties even if they know that their leaders are wrong. It’s difficult to speak for such people,” Lucius said.

To put it differently, Lucius Banda is responding to the request (for a song) with a question, asking: “How shall I sing a song of freedom, when we are not free?”

Lucius, as a politician, a musician and to be fair in any whatever capacity, fits the bill as a voice of reason. As stated in the Malawi Nation, he has earned and lived up to that reputation right from his debut album “Son of a Poor Man”.

It therefore makes sense that he is now a disillusioned Soldier because his songs have been in vain.

“I am a disappointed soldier. I am talking alone without the support from the people I defend,” he is quoted to have said.

Now before Lucius takes it too hard on himself, I have news for him. As someone who reads the Bible, he must be familiar with Luke 7:32 or Mark 11:16-18.

When our Lord was perplexed with the generation of His time, He lamented:

But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’…

With respect to firing up Malawians to start demanding better governance, Lucius has done it all. For his trouble, he has slept in gullies, been to prison and back, and he has sung and sung and sung his lungs out.

But other than dancing and singing along, or rather, soon after dancing and singing along, Malawians – especially the younger generation – have quickly reverted to their default mode, that of serving, par excellence, as political party call boys who can’t separate ‘fact’ from fiction, ‘entitlement’ from theft, and prudence from corruption; when the party they support is involved.

We saw this when the United Democratic Front (UDF) was in power, the same was the case in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Scene 1 Acts 1 and 2.

Things did not change much when Pres Joyce Banda took over in the two year-long “commercial break”, and the crap continues to date, unabated.

Malawians, make no mistake about it, know that freedom is not granted by the oppressor. They have had to fight for it twice.

Malawians therefore ought to know that good governance will never be delivered on a silver platter by their rulers whose primary priority is self-enrichment, by hook or crook, while promising the rest a better tomorrow – which never comes.

Look at this; the Cabinet has just sold Malawians a dummy by first, dillydallying on the empowering Access to Information (ATI) Bill before throwing it back to the technocrats.

This shameless and nauseating act of Executive sabotage effectively continues the information blackout which only benefits the corrupt leaders.

While the DPP might argue that we have become used to ESCOM-sponsored-electricity-blackouts, it has no right to extend the information blackout we have suffered for far too long. One blackout at a time is enough!

For those failing to connect this critical bill to development, let me spell it out as simply as I can.

Among the key differences between Malawi (plus her fellow poor countries) and most of the developed countries is the fact that in the developed countries, politicians do not steal as easily as they do in the poor countries for fear of exposure by the media and public sanctions.

The media, in the developed countries, has teeth because accessing the information they need to expose thieves is an enacted legal right.

In Malawi on the other hand, to get information on how our own money, which we contribute through taxes has been used, is next to impossible.

The minister of propaganda will “disclose” the “extravagance associated with the opposition while sitting on a mountain of stinking shit, which if the media accessed, could bring down the government.

The lack of a public outcry to the diluting and postponing of the draft ATI Bill is therefore an example of how little Malawians care about the things that really matter. This behaviour is like a blind man who cares less where his walking stick is.

Observing Malawi social media, one school of Malawians wrongly thinks the bill was for the benefit of media practitioners. The other school is saying, since it is my DiPhiPhi playing this game, this is fine.

My assessment of both schools of thought? Irredeemable bunches of idiots.

The truth is: this overdue bill is what Malawi has been missing since we adopted plural politics. Because plural politics means nothing if citizens are only fed propaganda by the respective ministry, via state funded institutions and compliant cheque-book journalists, instead of the whole truth.

We need the independent media to be able to dig deep into State fiscal affairs, if we are to avoid a recurrence of cash gate.

And in this regard, it is of no consequence how many hard-hitting songs Lucius composes. It is of no consequence how frequently these hard-hitting songs composed by Lucius enjoy air time. Because what is needed is for Malawians, the truly patriotic ones that is, to grab the bull by the horn and demand better, or leave heartbroken Lucius Banda in peace.

But whatever the case, please stop requesting Lucius to sing about your lamentations and tribulations!

I rest.

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40 thoughts on “Wise One: Weeping by the rivers of Nyasaland”

  1. mtumbuka1 says:

    Malawi and it’s people especially those that comes from the south are a biggest problem and they can’t think out of the box. 50 years after independence the country still remains the poorest in the world thanks to the southern region voters who if today they vote udf tomorrow they will vote dpp and these two parties takes turns to ruin that country no wonder their alliance which raises eye brows. Something is wrong with Malawians and we don’t realise that, come 2019 I promise you millions will be flocking to vote for mutharika and dpp just for the fun of it and we except miracles from his last term even if it is evident enough that his first term was a disaster and he performed like a clown. I don’t feel sorry for Malawi and it’s people because nobody puts a gun to their heads to vote for the mutharika/muluzi families or risk dying, you people flock to polling stations to vote for these 2 families and they steal from you in broad daylight and have brought the country to it’s knees and you love it and it’s a pity today mutharika lies to you that he will fly to 3 countries using an air Malawi plane( but he lied through his teeth) and some sick Malawians are celebrating that they have a listening president and are ready to vote for him again! I mean seriously??? So luscious, the wise one and all well meaning patriotic sons of Malawi don’t waste your time preaching about change to Malawians just leave them like that with their president. That country have been hijacked and is held for ransom by dpp&udf and it does not surprise me when I read that the government admitted that the country is broke but the question is, who made it broke and what are they doing about.

  2. Conel says:

    Whatever soldier you said its your I dea but for what I know is you compose song as income genarate for you and your family,If am not wrong when Dpp was inpower led by Late Bingu you are the one who refuse to suport the budget while you knew it was for poor people,And again we malawians we’re problem makers because we doesn’t know how to suport the government, we want everything to be for free roads, education,hospitals and many more, lets try to support our government atleast eg Toll gates
    can genarat money that we can use for better roads.even in America nothing is for free,I bet even lucias can take over the government we can face the same challengei

  3. We dont give a real support to our freedom fighters ndife anthu onvetsa chisoni

  4. ..... says:

    2019
    SOLDIER
    BOMAAAAAAAAAAA

    Ife tikuti inu Soldier wa achinyamata muzayimilire upulezidenti ku UDF ko ndipo mavoti athu nga nga nga pambuyo panu.
    Nkhalambayi tatopa nayo.

  5. Yemwe Uja says:

    Well said. It is only in Malawi that people celebrate mediocrity irrespective how educated they are. I don’t understand why we accept broken system as normal.

  6. clueless says:

    .@ Clueless “We are being ruled by a bad
    and poor leader simple”. Not only is the leadership as quoted but incompetent and uselesss

  7. levelheaded says:

    You miss it all baba. The biggest problem in Malawi is the common collective goal that should identify us as Malawians. We have a tendency of always fighting our own elected government which results in our leaders growing shield of always wanting to defend.

    If travelling is your passion you will agree with me that you find uniform characteristics in people in every country except Malawi.

    When they want to argue on government shortfalls, they do it together as well as when they want to give credit where government has done well.

    In Malawi we throw patriotism to the dogs.Accusing government is taken as what should put food on the table.For example; you wrote this article not actually out of patriotism but fulfilling your duty to your masters so that you get rewarded at the end. No wonder nowadays that Malawian journalists are dominating international awards not actually that we have the best in the field but they are simply telling you that you are the best at exposing your country to the world.

    Patriotism is about hearing the ills of America from Aljazeera and not from voice of America. Patriotism is about understanding the hardships we are sailing through and when government say we are cutting hospital ration because we can’t support it,its citizens quickly understands and cope with the situation.

    By the way do you know that in Mozambique there is nothing like admarc? People are responsible to feed themselves throughout the year? Do you know that there is no free medication at the hospital? Do you know that even mortuaries are run by business people?In my life I have been to most African countries but haven’t seen any of the people in those countries being more depended to government than we are. Amalawi tanyanya. So imagine if the government was to abolish all these free everythings mmalawi añgaimve? Government is now even struggling on how to convince people on public reforms which are a must take for our succession, now have you seen the way others are blocking this noble exercise?

    How hypocritical we are Malawians? You talk of Lucius who has been singing songs about orphans,the poor and oppressed but after selling those songs how many orphans has he fed?How many poor people has he clothed? Were he not singing these songs just to get riches after selling the message? Were he a real soldier per say?

    We will only develop this country when we dwell on government postives and not negatives,in the process we are going to encourage our leaders.

  8. wonyinyilika says:

    zomwe zalembedwa apapa ndi zoona its like anthufe miti yathu siyiganiza.

  9. myao says:

    With due respect to Lucius and the author of this article, I sense glorification if not amarketing act for the former who mainly sings abiut whats already in the public dormain. Once again let me agree with the arguements, please write again Zebs.

  10. ayi says:

    Malawian youthvareva shame,i am forced to think authorities conived with politicians to deliberatly draft tue tertiary education curricula in such a way that our graduates remain dumb to politics,because there is no way in a normal country young people can still be crapping hands for a party like dpp,no way!

  11. nthandalanda says:

    Malawians, let us wake up. This country is heading to the grave. It is every malawians responsibility to act. Every government department is in shambles. What the hell is this?

  12. zinenani says:

    Corrupt government, corrupt media, corrupt people always fond of bribery.

  13. Mwana Mulanje says:

    I am annoyed, very annoyed with bad governance on behalf of the citizenry. One day and very soon I will fight a lonely battle at my own expense!

  14. patricia kaliyati says:

    Lucius is indeed one such a front runner when it comes to trying to put things right but as the author of this article says: the young man is fighting a lone battle.
    The problem we have in our country if failure to look at issues from a wider perspective. Hungry people are happy to go and clap hands for that bad leader without accessing whether what he is saying makes sense to them. Wait a minute guys!!!! When Chakwera was busy castigating DPP about extravagance mcp supporters were busy jubilating alas Dpp comes and accuses Chakwera of buying expensive cars dpp supporters were over the moon but for what? Here are two stupid, greedy, extravagant leaders who are rich and happy at the expense of the poor, yet we love them so much simply because we are ourselves MCP, DPP, UDF or PP. These people will leave office stinking rich such that their entire generation will never get poor. Look at Muluzi and his family, Muntharika and his family, Joyce Banda who can now afford to spend years in America. Inu ndi ine we are still DPP,MCP,UDF,PP with nothing to show for it.

  15. Mabuka says:

    I entirely agree with this. We have had all it would take to awake us from our deep slumber and rise up to demand better governance, but alas!.

  16. Joe mchemwa wa Kalunji says:

    You make me laugh when you talk of an independent media in Malawi, I dont see any. They are all aligned to one political club or the other. The check book journalists you cite really cut across the whole divide of the media fraternity in this country. All the media ethics you learned in a journalism school and which you so loudly claim to uphold are mere empty words and have no meaning anymore, worth only the paper they are written on. No wonder government keeps dribbling around the ATI Bill because it knows that our media is not an honest broker. You want Malawians to believe the bill is for their benefit when in actual fact you want to continue lording over us- pure hegemony. You are no better than the state machinery you vociferously criticise.

  17. WAMISALA says:

    MWANA WALEMBA ZOMVEKA APA
    CHINA NCHINA !!

  18. tan'gatan'ga says:

    Bravo. You have said it all.

  19. Amalitili says:

    Lucius Banda,M’modzi mwa anthu omwe ndimawalemekeza kwambiri,
    Ndipo amandilimbikitsa,
    Anthu omwe amatha kusambila mosemphana ndi madziochuluka.
    Anthu okonda dziko lawo
    Oyima pa chilungamo ngati Yoswa ndi Kalebu.
    Osatengeka ndi mphepo
    Anthu oti amalolela kuika moyo wawo pachiswe inde ngakhale miyoyo ya okondedwa awo pachiswe.
    Ena ndipo ambiri sangakwanitse zimenezi m’dzina lakusapota boma lalelo amangoimba m’manja ngakhale bomalo likukanika.

  20. Freedom fighter says:

    Soja is saying the truth

  21. Masoambeta says:

    Personally, I think Lucius Banda is a fool. He’s after fame for himself.
    Which poor man does he talk about? Hmm ironically, he has left his immediate family in absolute poverty. Even his brother Paul is wallowing in hard times while Lucius is changing women and swimming in MSB loans.
    Abale ake akungochakachika pa Balaka apa. Ena kumalimitsa kumunda opanda olo nyumba ya Malata. I don’t know how this guy feels.
    Evil man.

  22. Wa Nzeru Wa Kummawa says:

    Wofe you never cease to amaze me with your stylistic sound writing.

    I can only hope that majority of Malawians become rational and see things in a non partisan perspective.

    I have already seen some comments how pathetically are insinuating at the CSOs who have given ultimutam to government on the ATI bill. It is as if it does not affect them.

    I am now beginning to conclude sadly that maybe just as the Israelites are a chosen generation, Malawians are NOT a chosen generation. We were born to suffer and suffer and suffer in silence!

  23. utitiri says:

    We have become a bunch of zombies who do not care for our aspirations. We only go for demonstrations if we are assured that we will be paid at the end. The two previous demonstrations sum it all, Mayaya walked alone while the government sponsored demo had hundreds of demonstrators. Our folks in the rural areas r always abused by politicians, they send trucks to ferry the unsuspecting folks to anywhere they want. Mind u for the rural folks this is an outing they would gladly take to memontarily escape their grinding poverty by jumping into a truck and receive a drink, chibanzi and K100 in the end. Yes the message is loud and clear “let us not let the Soldier cry for us as if we have no mouths to cry for ourselves”.

  24. Peter says:

    What an educative piece by one of truly patriotic citizen of Malawi! ! I am also angry with the way cabinet has fooled us through rejection of ATI. To some of us what is remaining now is an opportunity to hit back and deal with these thugs once for all. My voice cannot be heard aband my actions neglected because they think we are useless but my God hears me and will help us as we ponder on what to do to get these thugs off our taxes.

  25. mukharapwio says:

    this shd also extend to MPs,human rights activists,womens rights activists,ngo’s,donors,musicians,poets,dramatists,journalists,others concerned.plz if u can, stop speaking for these lazy,docile zombies called ordinary Malawians.Dont risk ur lives,these are people that are used to poverty thats why u find a rich Malawian farmer scrambling with fellow farmers who are poor to register for relief food and he wears rags when attending village meetings.try to give them 50kg bag of maize they will sell 35kg and remain with 15kg to feed a 9 member family.give them 2pails,2basins,5pots,10plates,17spoons,2knives they will sell 1pail,2basins,4pots,7plates,all spoons,all knives.umbuli wakulitsa ku Malawi

  26. devilsadvocate says:

    When the wicked carried us away into captivity requiring a song from us; Houw can we sing the Lord song in a strange land. Truly crying my beloved country MALAWI. BIG UP SOLDIER lovely songs you sung like; ‘Aululeni adziwe okha zili kumudzi’ was soldier not not advocating the freedom of speech in contained in the ATI? Uncle Bob Robert Nesta Mwale also sung; Real Situation.’ Check out the real situation…. give them an inch they take a yard,….’ Now they have taken a mile and are cruising who can stop them? Suggestion: When God so love the world that he sent his only son. Bwanji 2019 son of a poor man AYIMIRE. Kuimba taimba kulankhula talankhula yatsala ndi action. You’ve got my vote.

  27. advisory committee says:

    To Lucious soja sakwiya satopa sadandaula taimbani kanyimbo kozuzula boma lawonjeza zinthu sizikuenda

  28. chizamsoka munthali says:

    Well written bravo Mr writer

  29. soja of thyolo says:

    Well written and just to chip in let me add to say dat had it been dat we Malawians love our country in the same way we love our parties surely we would’ve known de true meaning of patriotism hence our leaders wouldn’t have taken us for a ride.Nepotism,regionalism and similar vices r de reason why our country has stagnated in HIPC countries!

  30. clueless says:

    On peter’s cluelessness and failure to manage the economy and general state affairs stevie nhlane beautifully analysed it in yesterday’s weekend nation. We are being ruled by a bad and poor leader simple

  31. nyasa gulu says:

    Ntingwi you have said it all. Panja penipeni. In other words zaana kapena zamasanje. Worst leadership ever by all standars and measure. Poor us

  32. ntingwi says:

    Well spoken. This country will never get anywhere with thr kind of leadership we have. Its simply pathetic. How can a whole president say he doesnt know why the economy is not healing and developing. Instead of giving us answers he is asking us questions. With this kind of mediocrity by this man expect nothing but misery and dehumanizing poverty to be with us for many many years to come.

  33. Chizeleza Ngwira says:

    We Malawians are STUPID WE KNOW, THEY KNOW, THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS!

  34. Mhesha says:

    Typical of DPP haters! You were mute when resources were being plundered during JB just because you were beneficiaries! The youth of today will nit just rise up and go against a government without proper reason.

  35. The Analyst says:

    . . . It robs one of hope when even the president joins the bandwagon of shameless deceitful cheats. How on earth could the whole president lie to his people that the Bill would be tabled in parliament; yet he knew it wouldn’t be?
    . . . And he continues to lie that the age of donor aid is over yet he sends his finance minister by night to the donors with a begging bowl? Do you now believe what the modern-day John Chilembwe said? That . . .

    “The age of donor aid is not over. What is over is the age of donor aid being given to people who cannot be trusted.” – Lazarus Chakwera

    . . . Why then did you only hear the first part (donor-aid age ain’t over) and fail to hear the second part (need to rebuild trust)? Hence Goodle continues to lie that the new conditions given for resumption of aid are so tough that even angels cant attain them? Seriously?
    . . . Is being asked to be transparent in your expenditures a tough condition? Only a shameless deceitful thief would say that!

    . . . Now instead of being transparent by, inter alia, passing the information bill, you dither so as to adulterate it first? Instead of regaining trust by, inter alia, working with trustworthy people, you surround yourself with suspicious faces of Dausi, Vuwa, Malopa, Chaponda, Mwanamveka, Chiyembekeza etc and expect to be trusted? My foot! . . . should be spared.

  36. Mzee says:

    If ATI is for exposing cashgate then fuck off. With or without ATI politicians will always steal. In Malawi a way shall be found to conceal the truth. ATI works in trully democratic countries but even in UK govt successfully blocks access to information. Give us development on the scale of Singapore inu mudziba we wont bother you. In any case everybody knows that Editors at Daily Times and The Nation get bribed to seat on stories.

  37. Man of God says:

    100% correct and true. Of late we have seen medical personnel do at least something. But does it require all of us to be medics to show dissatisfaction to prevailing state of affairs? Fortunately, no. Every sect of the society has a responsibility to fight for a positive living. This in its own can be the start. Mwana osaliralira amafera kumsana kwa mai wake, maiyo osadziwa. (a resilient baby dies on the back of its mother, while the mother does business as usual). Let’s stand up and fight for our entitlements. Nothing for us without us.

  38. ROMSEY THE GREAT says:

    Nothing could be far better than this. we malawians r idiots and we r responsible for our own miseries by not rising and holding our fat cats to account, the egyptian way.

  39. SALIMA BOYS says:

    THATS TRUE TRUE,TILI NDI VUTO NDI IFEYO ACHINYAMATAFE ZINTHU ZIKULAKWIKA TUNGOKHALA PHWII….KUVETSA CHISONI NDI MANYAZI OMWE,HON BANDA RESPECT YOU PLAYED YOUR SIDE ON BEHAVE OF ZITSILUFE…NANGA PAMENEPA TIPANGE BWANJI???

  40. Alex says:

    Auzeni ndinu amalaw kusanva ali mumphika .just wait 2019 i will stand in bk south.

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