I do not hate politicians at all. Let me just say I have no interest in engaging cartoons like my six year old son does. He plays with his favourite cartoons Timon & Pumba, those from the Lion King. I am from Tintin, Captain Huddock and Thomson & Thompson generation. Of course our favourite song was “Kora” by Lazarus Tembo. So Timon & Pumba mix them with Penguins of Madagascar, you have a ka-boom of what our politicians behave like.
Of course the Ministry of Information, I am told requires the biggest cartoon of the time. You won’t agree, but we are getting close. Picture Jappie Mhango, busy cartooning himself, he sounds like King Julien. If you don’t know King Julien, ask your children.
Then you have Malawi Congress Party brass, itself not elected but appointed, busy attacking its own Regional Chairmen, for attacking them in the media, through a press conference. Only Timon & Pumba, of course Honourable Menyani sounded like Pumba, can do just that, blame someone for speaking to the media, through the media-if you can understand the logic, voila you should join politics.
But you see, just like many hard working farmers go squander their tobacco, maize and soya money on beer, sex and sisters-of-the-night singing Nilibe Pulobulemu, I am sure most of our political cartoons sing the same song after vomiting verbal garrulous.
Anyway enough of the cartoon characters and our politicians. We all are Malawians after all. We have to find space to fit in. Yes, whether you are a cartoon politician, happily married gays, sisters-of-the night, MG2, iPad capturing Prophets, Hastings Salanje, Family killers, Albino killers and of course Dr. Soulosi Chilima, we are all Malawians.
I remembered Dr. Chilima this week because of his reforms programme. It sounds like long time ago, after they ended the same day they were launched. The fireworks marked the end of the reforms, according to PSs at Civo club joking this was 81st reform attempt and they still had up to 90th attempt to retire.
One would think they were joking, no! Instead of retiring and firing some of the excesses at PS level, it pleased the powers that be, to reform their titles from PS2 to Chief Directors. With that even sober minded cadets knew we need to wait for the next attempt.
But, my remembrance of the Doctor in Knowledge Management had little to do with political cartoons or lip service reforms. It was to do with his disaster portfolio. For some reason, someone played a joke by having a politically sensitive and disaster office of vice president, to handle disaster affairs. Something like send disaster to look after disaster.
Ask Dr. Justin Malewezi, he called it office of endangered species, Dr. Cassim Chilumpha who used to sleep on Fanta alone and had to use ‘black maria’ for treason, then came Abiti Joyce, she screamed of attempted murder, Khumbo ‘Uncle Mabedi’ Kachali he discovered that Sosten Gwengwe is not a kid politician. Of course Impi Soulosi Chilima PhD as he assured us recently “njoka saweta” and we should desist from gossip, we say amen to that, despite the old wise saying “utsi sufuka popanda moto.”
Back to disaster. I have a thing (not a thing like in sex matters) for Lower Shire. Its beautiful from the Kamuzu view as you descend through to Marka. Having grown up at Ndakwera, just be assured that pegions not njiwa are abundant at Thabwa and the cheapest room for short time is at Chapananga with all sisters-of-the-night declaring themselves from Mozambique.
You see Lower Shire has the largest irrigation hectares in Malawi. It produces millions of tons of sugar, rice and millet. But it is the hungriest side of Malawi.
Actually after cutting all trees for charcoal, which passes through all Police and Forests checkpoints to Blantyre, the rivers are affected by silt and hence sand levels are up, water now floats and floods. But for those of us who learnt from proper teachers, flooding is not a bad thing, ancient civilisation using shadufs, used to flood their land and grow crops.
Now, for the department of disaster to have run out of ideas, literally for the lower shire is a joke of the century. Actually, we have enough resources to turn around Lower Shire to become the food basket of Malawi.
Now for reformist Dr. Chilima, first of all invite all Ministry of Agriculture Officials and ask them if they have heard of Kasinthula Irrigation Scheme and Illovo Sugar Company, if they have not heard of it fire them, if they have heard and seen it, fire and jail them for theft by public servants. They steal Government time and money as salaries while not doing their work. They get our taxes each month for years to bring solutions to our misery. It is called public service.
The nilibe pulobulemu philosophy in our politicians is endemic in most public services. ESCOM board finds it okey to buy SUVs while they have no idea of solving electricity challenges. The same with Waterboards, National Library, gondolosi growing National Botanical Gardens, City Councils, you name them, nobody remembers why they went to work in the first place. The worst culprits are top bosses.
The Ministry of Agriculture should recalculate what it spends on subsidy in Chikwawa and Nsanje. Take the allocation out of the MWK80 billion programme. The Department of Disaster should spare the MWK10 billion it spends in the Lower Shire and make proper investment of the money. Stop subsidising consumption.
Before you scream, listen and hold your peace. Dredge the rivers, all rivers in Lower Shire spend 10 billion kwacha digging them up again for water routes. Build a canal one heading to East Bank other all the way to Chapananga-Mkumaniza up to Mwabvi. The canal should have dams every 30km for irrigation. Tell people to plant trees as part of the canal digging process.
MWK30 billion, half of cashgate money can irrigate the whole Lower Shire, produce more than 5 million tons of maize (we only consume 2 million) and legumes we can export to China and Middle east where they don’t have enough food. If it sounds too ambitious or complicated, resign and we will employ azungu at Illovo to set up new irrigation plantations for maize, beans, cotton and millet for export. After all Illovo irrigates from the same Shire and its tributaries. Kasinthula is the same.
We should be ashamed with our nilibe pulobulemu philosophy when 52 years after independence Government established companies like ADMARC don’t have massive irrigation schemes and every year look at tax payers to run their operations. Fire and reform people at ADMARC, NFRA etc. Perhaps King Julien Jappie can be told to remind these agencies that its their responsibility to grow food for Malawi not disease ravaged patients and guardians and doctors and nurses.
Be ambitious in 2016 like the minibus conductor who after learning the word “dropping in English meant otsika” kept asking passengers from Bangula to Blantyre “any droppings here!” Of course his favourIte beat was as you guessed right “nilibe pulobulemu”
- My Malawian of the week is Rose Chisowa, a Journalism Graduate now irrigating rice and having one of the most upcoming farms in Lilongwe. Check her on facebook to order your meat!