Kamuzu never said ‘Musova’: An outsider insider view

I have heard that there are some young people going around saying Kamuzu said ‘Musova or Musovenge.’ To the best of my knowledge Kamuzu never said that. Those who knew him can testify he was not a man who could use such words. In fact this word could have been foreign to him. He always encouraged the speaking of the vernacular language correctly by among other things directing MBC, the sole broadcasting house then to have a radio program titled, ‘Tiphunzitsane Chichewa.’ Three or four panellists would look at a Chichewa word in this program and try to deduce its true meaning or and usage, Musova or Musovenge could not have been a word they could have given their time to declare its meaning/ usage. Though language is dynamic, this word for sure is not a Chewa word.

The word itself ‘Musova’ in English meaning ‘you will solve yourself,’ who introduced it in our language? Sometimes you take words and match then to personalities, this is not a word you can associate Kamuzu with. Kamuzu was not one to run away from problems, he challenged them head on. When most people feared the colonial rulers, without a gun he landed at Chileka Airport in 1959  to come and break their ‘stupid’ federation. The man was brave and could not have run away from responsibilities. Even in his dressing, Kamuzu was one to beat, he had class, he never left anything to chance. In NO way could his dressing have depicted this word ‘Musova.’ Seeing him you actually knew the man had high standards.

Kamuzu Banda
Kamuzu Banda

With 50 years of independence we need to rediscover what would make us a people, Malawians of the calibre Kamuzu would have liked. It is sad that after all these years our water and electricity supplies may be the worst in Africa. I have always wondered with the companies that provide these necessities being near University of Malawi, why is it they don’t use this high education institution to do researches on how they can solve some of the problems be it mechanical, financial, customer service, operational or marketing? I am sure the university has brilliant learners with good ideas.

Most of these university students will jump at an opportunity of doing scholarly research to solve our perennial problems of water and electricity supply in the cities. Well if not why not ask government to bring back the Youth Week program, at least local people can mobilise to sort out what has continuously been a problem for both at the source of our water supplies. By the way, Youth Week program used to promote unity, patriotism and instil in the youth plus community at large the spirit of self reliance as well as appreciation of existing public amenities. Bring the week (program) back, not everything Kamuzu introduced was bad.

Kamuzu never said Musova instead he said, “for my people to be happy they should have three things; a house without leaks, food and clothing.” He said for food sustainability go to the fields to farm, for comfort/ happiness build a house that does not leak and for confidence wear clothes that are decent not making you to feel embarrassed. Kamuzu never abandoned his people by saying, ‘Musova,’ he said, “I love my people and I will die in my mother country.”

Ngwazi Kamuzu was a perfectionist, he would never have used such mediocre language as ‘Musova.’ The man had class – he dreamt in colours.

Kamuzu would not have run away from the fact that after 50 years of independence, we still have a lot of our villages with no safe drinking water. He wouldn’t have said, ‘#Musova#.’ He would have acknowledged that a lot of people are living happily below the poverty world instituted line – Kamuzu would have said we work hard to rectify this anomaly. By the way after 50 years of self rule it’s time we should have our own definition of absolute and relative poverty. Talking about use of language, I am told the man was very careful although just once he was forced to say ‘Mashura’ referring to his mbumba (women). Yes and this other time when his food was not prepared to his liking he shouted, “Madala apa sizinapse bwino” (man this is not cooked well) addressing his chief chef at Sanjika Palace. Such were the high standards Kamuzu set.

Would Kamuzu have said ‘Musova?’ Looking at this word again reminds me of Lucius Banda’s song where he talks about a man’s sister married to a Mozambican refuge during that country’s civil war. When the war came to an end, the husband disappeared after telling the wife he was going back to bring some food (beans) but never returned leaving the woman devastated. This man may have thought of the same word when disappearing, “Musova.”

One thing is certain, Kamuzu would have approved of the current Malawi President, Professor Peter Mutharika appointing my aunt Mrs. Patricia Kaliati as Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare. This strokes my memory reminding me of the Manchester United footballer, young Wayne Rooney in his twee years. He was a very aggressive lad yet most productive and talented in the football pitch. He stopped being aggressive upon several mishaps and on advice with the result that the best talent we knew in him faded away. This does by association not mean Mai Kaliati is aggressive. The woman, my aunt is just pure straight forward, honest, direct and sincere in all matters. My advice to her, don’t stop your style because of the competitiveness of the lean 20 members cabinet. We love you, people love you for your modesty. Talking about gender under which she is a minister, nowadays gender violence is one of the topical issues. However, not all beatings in relationships (marriages) between man and woman are gender violence, of course except where physical harm is done there is no question. Some of these beatings I am told are ‘starters’ for greater things to come as in starter meal. They are routine, so the authorities should investigate properly before rushing to apprehend one of the partners in such cases. Someone said he knows of a family who every time they want to enter into marriage (Musova apa – make your own interpretation), the husband would first beat the wife. The crying according to them makes their union more juicy.

Still on gender, in MCP late Mrs Kate Kainja had the good mark from Kamuzu. And currently this girl, my friend Juliana Lunguzi could be like her if she continues to be objective in her work. She has started well. Kamuzu never played with girls except maybe dance with them as ‘born frees.’ He would have however nodded on at Miss. Lunguzi in appreciation. For those in MCP wanting to follow the example of late Kainja, my advice is don’t be pretenders, be honest, be yourself and don’t jump on every issue. Some Malawi politicians are very sincere, these I admire. They are themselves, they act natural and they don’t pretend what they are not. The likes of Bakili Muluzi, Goodal Gondwe, Justin Malewezi, Dr Chaponda, Akweni, Vuwa Kaunda, Luuis Chimango and Moses Dosi. Whether Kamuzu liked people to be themselves or pretenders is very debatable. Allegedly people used to claw on their knees in some cases bellies before him. Were these people being honest, were they acting themselves? Musova.

Finally Kamuzu would have been appalled by the diminishing calibre of intelligence on simple logic and mathematics that his people in higher authority are exposing in the current dispensation.  No wonder our children no longer love numbers or mathematics they are running away leaving it to some of us saying  ‘Musova.’ In my primary school days we were told you cannot add unlike terms for example X+Y unless of course values are attached to them. The argument therefore that some people are putting on new Malawi President Muthalika for appointing advisors does not hold if comparing cabinet ministers against these presidential advisors. A clean, objective and logical argument would be by looking at numbers of advisors that have been there before in previous governments, seeing if the figures have gone up.

For instance if Joyce Banda had ten and Peter has appointed fifteen, it makes sense to put him to task to explain why. Although again we are not told if the president has a limit on how many advisors he can appoint or how much is in the kitten annually for them. In the absence of any limit I would not be the first to query him. After all Professor Peter Muthalika never promised a lean number of advisors in his election campaign. Tasovani bwino pamenepa – revisit the argument Kamuzu might have said.

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