In 1984 I was in Jos Nigeria. We were driving to church that morning, ahead of us was a VW Wagon. As we came close to it we read the words” PASSION WAGON”, Then we came closer and read” DON’T LAUGH”, We came closer and read”YOUR DAUGHTER MIGHT BE INSIDE” Sigh!
Was Ras Chikomeni Chirwa a joker?
No, he was a REVOLUTIONARY. Listen to his words after his nomination was turned down:” Ndinayesesa. Koma chandivuta ndi umphawi. This should be a lesson to Malawians. No matter how hard you try. No matter how much love you. But if you are poor, the system will always make sure you remain poor and the rich get richer.. This is my story.
Tomorrow it might be you. Not in the political field but maybe in the educational field, where you are intelligent but can’t pay fees. Maybe in the health field where you can’t get treatment. Don’t laugh at me, let this be a lesson. We might all be Malawians in the eyes but we are divided. Some are poor like me and some are able to buy their way into everything. I still love those that supported me despite my financial state.”
These are the words of a revolutionary not a joker?
1. He wore a shirt inscribed ETHIOPIA. This is not Ethiopia as we currently know it. It is ETHIOPIA the ancient, the true name of the continent known as Africa.. Why did he put on that shirt? He was pronouncing his political philosophy. He was saying; ” I am a Pan-Africanist, I believe in the total emancipation of the African people and I am committed to the decolonisation of the African mindset as it currently stands.
2. He choose, note choose, because he later read in English with an above average fluency, to speak in Chichewa, a widely spoken and known language. He rejected to use the language of the oppressor. He used the language of the people. He was fully identifying with them.He used the language of inclusion.
3.Ras Chikomeni Chirwa represents a community of people that feels marginalised and excluded from taking part in the mainstreams of Malawian life. It is a growing group. It meets in exclusive places mostly along rivers of squatter communities of our cities and in mountain areas of our rural areas. You might ask, Why did he seems to be a sole sojourner? It is because he is a visionary who sees far ahead of his community. His action will open the eyes of his compatriots. In 10 to 15 years time, this will be a community to contend with. It is time the rest of us Malawians begun to listen to their voice.
4. From his statement above he also belongs to the community of those that are called poor, and they make the majority of the population in Malawi. One day these will be mobilized, God forbid, not into a Revolutionary Movement that will be ready to die for a cause. The message from Ras Chikomeni Chirwa is simple” Pay attention to the plight of the poor, we will not be patient for ever, none of you are our representatives.
5. The question is ” Didn’t he know he will be rejected for lack of payment of the fee?” The answer is, he knew very well. Why did he then come anyway? To demonstrate on a national platform that ” this is an exclusive society, we the poor remain the downtrodden and scum of the earth. This is not a simple message. Those who have studied Liberation Theology should understand this. This man is thinking at a higher plane that most of us see and conceptualize.HE IS NO FOOL.
In conclusion, was Ras Chikomeni Chirwa a laughing matter? Fellow Malawians “Do not laugh, this might be a brewing revolution whose fire we might fail to extinguish. I am not laughing. Ras Chikomeni Chirwa has communicated a serious message. It calls for meditation.
- The author is a diplomat and former Insoectir General of Police