The demonstrations that are wrecking havoc in the country are not only about Jane Ansah. She has just become the symbol of a struggle that has been bubbling on like volcanic larva without release. It’s a struggle for a livelihood, for jobs, for food, for better governance, for justice, for equality, for a sense of identity. It is also a struggle for deleting a system that serves the few at the expense of the many. This is a struggle for Malawi’s very soul.
More than half of those people demonstrating have lived on the edge of society for years and have since tipped into the abyss since multiparty. These are ones that spend their days loitering the streets, sell a packet of matches on the street for a living, those who spend their days wandering around the banks just to watch those who are inside upper society cash their cheques. These are the ones that pick up left overs from the bins outside restaurants. They have no tomorrow to talk of. What they break is useless to them.
You can not tell these people to stop breaking things that mean nothing to them. Those things you think are precious and should not be broken may as well be the dirt you walk on. Irrelevant and unattainable to them.
These are the people, who won’t get treatment in hospital, who will be locked up for years without trial, and whose kids will be given trees for class rooms . The ferocity of these demos should surprise no one. When government after government takes care of less than 1% of the people and trusts them like royalty, they ends up brewing an angry 99%.
We have to drastically change how we govern ourselves. The poor have had enough. The recent developments are very disturbing.