It is very difficult to be a Malawian when one travels outside for business, forget leisure, only politicians, stealing company executives who give themselves hefty bonuses and privileges while paying the lowest class of worker’s peanuts and cashgators that can afford a trip to relax outside Malawi.
The rest of us will bombard you with “travelling mercies” and food pictures and check in from airports to hotels that are mainly sponsored by someone. We really can’t afford anything and I know we do spend time in shops converting prices to Malawi kwacha, that a 200 rand t-shirt we scream mpaka 8000 kwacha and we don’t buy.
That’s a life of a Malawian. Now, not long time ago it was easy to introduce yourself as a Malawian without attracting more suspicion. But as I found out during my last weeks visit to Botswana and South Africa (never mind I was only in transit-but its still counts that I posted all angles on my Facebook of OR Tambo airport with check in- It is the experience that really sent me in deep shock.
From Chileka, I sat next to a whiteman, he was leaving the country after some six weeks of charity. He warmed up and shared me his experiences in the Lower Shire where he was volunteering with a Community Based Organisation. He thought the people were warm, friendly, but was let down that everytime there was an activity, only the women volunteered and the men came to sit in chairs and demand allowances for attending the community support activity.
He might not have said it- but he literally meant Malawians from village level expect handouts.
On arrival at OR Tambo, the South African immigration official greeted me with “muli bwanji” after getting my passport. For some reason I responded in English. Had I known, he told me point blank that I am not a Malawian but a West African who had got a forged passport. He screened it six times, questioned me my previous details and what I do for a living. He wasn’t satisfied that I was a Malawian, here I was being denied my own nationality because we have undisciplined immigration offices which issue passports to foreigners and believe that’s the easiest way to get rich. Well we are paying dearly for it.
Anyway I was allowed to go into South Africa after another Malawian passed by and the immigration officer asked him to greet me in Chichewa and ascertain some of my information. Quite an embarrassment created by my own immigration. No action has been taken to bring to book the officers who have issued passports to Zimbabweans, Nigerians and for Gods sake even Somalians and Burundians.
I thought I had enough for one trip. The Botswana flight was delayed by a good one hour. I met some four tourists who were travelling from Zambia and had wanted to go into Malawi. They were told they couldn’t get a visa at the port of entry and our embassy in Lusaka could not issue a visa in a day. We lost at least USD1000 which these four souls could have spent at least within the days they wanted to see Malawi. For some reason our immigration and visa system they have put in place is very rigid when we have too many Rwandans, Somalis, Nigerians, Burundis and Ethiopians roaming around the country without any problem.
Our airports are a shame. Our service standards are low. And it seems we no longer welcome anybody trying to do things a normal way. We are always looking at people that can afford to pay extra for the same services. Even widows at the Administrator General or DCs office have to cough something, Chiefs signing off land to unknown characters want to be paid something. I know of strong Catholic schools whose standards have sunk basically places have been sold off to highest bidder than qualified students.
I equally know of very little merit in recruitment at Police, that sons and daughters of Police officers, politicians and those who know someone are readily offered training places that really deserving Malawians- the result is simple poor police standards and thieves, criminals and corrupt officers masquadering as officers of the law in uniform. Keep crying my nation.
Look at Auction Floors, it is a norm about how your tobacco will sell fast. Look at Admarc the specialised corruption at selling maize is institutionalised. At Hopsital you have to “thank” a nurse or clinical officers for doing their job. Our systems have become lazy, corrupt and rigid to change.
Should we expect change when we all now know we can only get a passport by bribing someone and even if I write in blood, the Chief Immigration Officer will only be good at barring some honest tourists while failing to curb corrupt passport selling officers.
Should we expect change when our normal is you pay at Escom to get connected to blackouts, pay bribes to get a service at Road Traffic, Water Board, Malawi Housing, Education services, Police report and anything, virtually anything else you ought to bribe someone.
Really I don’t see a future when Chiefs have to be corrupted to allow people to mourn their departed, when Men and Women of God require sort of payment to officiate a wedding or funeral and both of them demand choicest rice and chicken to do their own anointed jobs.
We now are known as cashgators, albino hunters, corrupt systems, hungry nation and lazy bums (excuse my English).
Honestly looking at the type of leaders we have in every sector today, including companies, I only see greedy people who love themselves more than the next person including their own children.
You see fathers who sire children all over without thinking of their future. We see politicians, clergy and even grassroot leaders whose future is only limited to their pockets and well being than that of the nation.
Dzuka Malawi, any body born before 2000 will definitely live and die in a poor Malawi, where poverty, corruption and hunger identify us than our natural God-endowed beauty we all have no idea to utilise and develop our nation.
We are hungry because the subsidy money never reached the targets, we are poor because we still from the poor and abuse the money, we are definitely going to die poor-because none of us care about anything. If you do, start by making changes, instead of cutting trees or stealing from work or being lazy on social media whole day, do something different for change, anything other than greed or corruption.
Otherwise lets die in our poverty!
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