Big people have spoken against federalism or secession of the peoples north of Nkhamenya, people like Chief Kyungu, Chikulamayembe, and big heads like Vuwa Kaunda. At this point it seems secession is bad, but with all due respect to my elders, I beg to differ, secession (federalism) is good and needs to be pursued, here is why.
Why Secessionists Secede
People secede to fix historical injustices, to protect their interests to better manage their affairs or just to show that they are free humans, this is rooted in the choice theory. The PKK in Turkey, the Southern States in USA, Tibetans and Turkic Muslims in China, Some tribes in Thailand, Some Caucasians in South Africa, Some folks in Spain, Scotland, Eastern Ukrainians and even the ISIS guys…so many people want to secede and as such, feeling like seceding is no shame at all.
In the case of the people north of Kasungu, secession would be good in the following ways:
Millions of jobs would be created. A new state requires infrastructure: builders, transporters, administrators. Ministries would be created, ambassadors sent out, prisons, parliament and stadia built…many idle youths engaged.
Secession is a mark of liberty. Anyone is free to manage their affairs and if anyone secedes, they would feel good, certainly as they attain their sought after need, some sort of self actualization or catharsis, if you catch my drift.
Resources would better be managed. Bingu wa Mutharika said the people north of Kasungu dominate universities and civil service yet contribute little to the GDP, this would be a good opportunity for the rest of Malawi to better share the resources without worrying of parasites from north of Jenda.
On the other hand, the people north of Kasungu would use their little GDP to carter for themselves without feeling like Lilongwe is stealing. They would generate their own income from Chikangawa Forest, Lake Malawi, Nyika National Park or whatever they can sell to get by.
Secession would free the people north of Kasungu of wanton debt. A new state would not inherit any debt from the World Bank or IMF unless that money went into their territory which in this case is likely to be little, they would then start afresh, paying only for what they eat.
Secession would also be a good way to escape the bad government in Lilongwe. The archaic laws that punish gays, criminalize abortion, give too much power to the president would all be dumped. Imagine how a constitution drafted by minds born after the World War II would look like? It would reflect life as this century demands.
Secession would revitalize people, with many politically alienated and feeling powerless in the current political process, they would for the first time participate in a process they truly own and one in which their say can matter.
Secession would be in tandem age old black consciousness ideals. You see, the state of Malawi was not voluntarily created or endorsed by the native populace; it was forced on everyone by the Europeans during the scramble for Africa.
The Europeans knew but never cared about the different tribes that seem never to cleave when they made African nations. Secession would be the first step in creating an Africa by Africans; it is a good way to truly be independent and saying f**k you to the racist colonialists past and present.
T/A Kyungu said Malawi is united; he is one of the most naïve chiefs if that is his real outlook on Malawi. Malawi is not warlike but it is still one of the most divided nations. In courts people are identified by their tribes, in university people’s villages count – the kind of stuff that was happening in Rwanda before the genocide switch flipped. In Malawi tribe is silent, but material and where tribe is material, unity is utopia.
The people north of Kasungu are easy to mark, they have certain names, and they speak certain languages. In schools their kids cannot study in their native language, they have to learn another tribe’s language.
In workplaces if they are two of similar surnames it is fishy…this is true even for a soccer team. It is easy to feel threatened when you are being watched and marked and treated like vermin – is anyone surprised that these people want out?
From Kamuzu Banda to Peter Mutharika, it has always been the same. Select a few people from there as tokens and keep the north nothing but a green patch of dirt.
The people currently calling for secession in Malawi are greedy parrots and of shaky moral fibre, agreed, but to call their arguments shaky as well is dangerous.
You see, Karl Marx argued that an oppressor works hard to keep the oppressed, most of the people against secession are those that benefit from the status quo…here I will not mention the honourable chiefs like Kyungu and elders like Vuwa Kaunda out of respect.
And the thing about secession is that those outside the region have no say, the fate of someone in Karonga cannot be determined by someone in Nsanje, and so if anyone wants out, they are.
Nobody is going to lose their lives, Malawi houses some of the least militant people, we don’t have the guns or balls to start a war…the only time anyone is going to die is when a political idea like secession is taken personal by those with violent intents.
Opponents of secession should be coming to the fray with plausible and practical solutions like how the nation will ensure that is inclusive now that some sections say they are alienated – not just saying secession is bad and appealing to vague and abstract terms – unity and harmony.
Why should people stay together if they cannot reason together? The Sunni man can never truly live with a Shia, it is keeping them together as in the case of Iraq that creates trouble, some elements will never cleave and in Africa that element is tribe…from Rwanda, to Nigeria to Botswana.
I only spoke up because people want to hide, sidestep, sugar-coat and ignore the divisions amongst Malawians. This is Africa the land of tribes, if we are to run a nation, we must first acknowledge diversity and its issues and then do something about these issues otherwise…well, secession?
Secession is good, everyone needs to secede. Kamuzu Banda successfully championed the secession Nyasaland from the ‘stupid federation’ of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. You also need to secede from the oppressive landlord and build your own house, secede from your intrusive pastor and lead life your way, secede from your demanding wife and live a peaceful life, secede from fake friends and start over, secede from Facebook and live real life.
*The author is a journalist and graduate of University of Malawi and a blogger. He penned this article for Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :