‘I beg to differ’

Hero or Zero?

“…Now we are engaged in a great war, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can endure.…But, in a large sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract… Abraham Lincoln, American President, 19 November, 1863.

 Paul, the Apostle was one of the most prominent early Christian Missionaries , His influence on Christian thinking is hugely influential due to his role as a high-flying apostle of Christianity during the spreading of the gospel  through Christian communities across the Roman Empire.

According to the Bible, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion, and was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples of the son of man, Jesus Christ, in ancient Jerusalem.

Is it always therefore fashionable to like Paul in the bible. I beg to differ.

Murdered Chasowa

He was off-puttingly fervent, prescriptive and downright dogmatic, and his single-minded zealousness doesn’t sit well in our live-and-let age.

Paul started well with a reminder of his credentials – but could it be that he rather enjoyed showing them off, only to rubbish them in the next breath? We will never know.

But the most unfortunate thing about Paul’s story is that people remember him more for his bad deeds as Saul and not the good things he did as Saint Paul.

Perhaps, the problem here is that I’m trying to describe something indescribable, which is like trying to persuade someone sitting on the edge of the pool, gingerly dipping a toe, how lovely it is to be immersed. I can’t really explain the invigorating bliss of diving in – because everyone has to take the plunge for themselves.

I don’t want to become convoluted here for fear of falling into a trap of over explaining things. But one significant thing that stands out in life is that ‘evil always overrides the good.”  I squarely believe that you can do a million good things but it takes only a single stupid thing to damage your reputation.

Unlike Saul who history most remember as one the biblical scoundrels  for persecuting and murdering Christians, the world today is mourning and paying tributes to one of the world’s visionary geniuses, Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder who has died at the age of 56 from pancreatic cancer.

US President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev have said Steve Jobs had changed the world describing him as the ‘source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives” and had made the world “immeasurably better”.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates said it had been “an insanely great honour” to work with him.

Social network whiz kid, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg said: “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.” His comments were “liked” by more than 200,000 people within hours.

The Twitter microblog site struggled to cope with the traffic of tributes. The death of Mr Jobs could create a record for Twitter traffic.

Thousands of celebrities and ordinary people went on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to record their tributes and memories of the man behind products such as the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. Web users in China reportedly posted almost 35 million online tributes.

Death occurs every day, great and ordinary men and women die but are they remembered the same way? I beg to differ.

How one lives a life determines how people remember him or her after death. How do you want to be remembered? Hero or a  zero? The choice is yours.

As Malawians what is our choice?

In 1993 the people of Malawi, through a national referendum made a choice to change the political landscape, they decided that political activities shall be organized on multiparty basis as opposed to single party basis. People chose freedom over oppression, democracy over autocracy.

Are we living to that phenomenon today, 18 years later? I beg to differ.

When Joyce Banda expressed her intention to ascend to presidency she was expelled from DPP. Chris Daza was fired for allegedly declaring his ambitions to take over the MCP mantle. Is this what we wanted in 1993? I beg to differ.

A 33 year-old son of first multi-party president, Bakili Muluzi, and Machinga Parliamentarian, Atupele Muluzi, a British-trained solicitor has since been suspended from the UDF for declaring his interest to front as 2014 UDF presidential Candidate. Are you not the same people who tell us that the youth need to take up the challenge? Are Malawian parties democratic? Is there democracy in Malawi? I beg to differ.

Is it a crime to express intentions to rule Malawi? I beg to differ.

My take is that the people of Malawi must be given their constitutional powers to decide who they want in party conventions and not hand-picking leaders for them – Should individuals or party politburos’ call the shot to impose who should stand for presidency? I beg to differ.

When Malawians were fighting for change they wanted to be safe and protected. Did they want citizens to die in the manner the three cabinet ministers, Aaron Gadama, Twaibu Sangala and Dick Matenje and a Parliamentarian, David Chiwanga got mysteriously murdered? I beg to differ.

When fighting change did Malawians want the manner in which musician Evison Matafale and economist Kalonga stambuli died? I beg to differ.

Plainly, did Malawi fight for change to see Polytechnic’s fourth year student, Robert Chasowa die and police be so mean with the truth? I beg to differ.

Did Robert Chasowa deserve to die for believing in what believed? I beg to differ.

It is no longer a speculation that Robert Chasowa was murdered following histopathologist Charles Dzamalala’s autopsy report which bluntly confirms that Chasowa did not kill himself – who did?

Are the killers not known? I beg differ. If not why the cover-up? Is it another Mwanza style massacre?

The Malawi Constitution is structured in a rather unique manner as far as it deals with human rights. Chapters II to IV deal respectively with “Application and Interpretation”, “Fundamental Principles” and “Human Rights”. Chapter III (Fundamental Principles) contains a combination of the classical liberal, democratic emphasis on popular sovereignty and human dignity.

The Constitution recognizes the classical individual rights in Chapter IV and lists several “Principles of National Policy” in Article 13. The latter are very important principles and not without the potential to be scrutinized by the Courts.

Our supreme law enfolds in it essential conditions in the state affecting human beings. It is, therefore, based on fundamental values such as human dignity and protection against abuse of power.

Malawi recognizes the classical individual rights in Chapter IV and lists several “Principles of National Policy” in Article 13. The latter are very important principles and not without the potential to be scrutinized by the Courts.

I believe that Chasowa’s death must be investigated and those responsible be brought to justice.

I believe that the Chasowa’s and indeed all Malawians will rest and feel secured only if justice and truth prevails as the holy Quran says in Sura 5: 32: “…Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.”

How do you want to be remembered, as Saul or Paul long after you’re gone?

Saul? I beg to differ.

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[email protected]

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