Tchuzi kaye, amphawi tili pati mabwana: Letter from Sapitwa

One thing about the just ended comedy series of Malawi Presidential Debates is the fantasy that was created by hordes of promises made by our desperate opposition that it was unbelievable when you heard someone who dumped Gods calling for worldly earthly power, invoking God to protect them from some unknown hand of rigging.

As the comedy reached its hilarious peak, that even NASAF President James Nyondo was even shocked by the sheer hypocrisy of his colleagues, bluntly why they were taking the “change golo” mantle from Uladi Mussa, as they changed goal posts within 7 days proclaiming that they now need donors, after promising to do away with them. We need a good producer of this comedy on stage.

But you see, we had to start today with “Tchuzi kaye, amphawi tilipati?” question to our pretending Presidential candidates who in their rush to become holy, spoke for a total of nine hours and nobody mentioned the poor in their plans. Nobody, even those that profess to love us, the plebeians on Mount Mulanje what they will do to end dire poverty among Malawians, how many jobs they expect to create in 5 years and more importantly when will they declare their assets and sources of income that we can trust them with our coffers.

We, relaxing at Dziwe la Nkhalamba after a Trek to Likhubula (we were returning from the funeral of the innocent man shot by guards at Mulli Brothers-the only armed company in Malawi), were almost rushed to meet our makers with by a heart attack after hearing some self-aggrandisement statements from the Presidential candidates.

Imagine Mark Katsonga who has shares (the white people are in town to run the company) in Axa Company confessing that if we all got mad and elect him, he will give his businesses tax holiday. My foot and someone thought the night was not comic.

One after another, they mentioned the low earning plebeians like us with disdain, saying they will reprieve us  of taxes and tax those who earn 100,000 above. If you were outside Malawi hearing this people mention tax holidays, you would think we have one million companies that will benefit. Fosteki! To borrow President Muluzi Snr word, Malawi has fewer than 100 real companies, the rest are briefcase organisations.

It would be a grave mistake to elect the bunch that changes goal posts with every debate, but it will be sheer madness to consider them when they will be happily giving their companies tax holidays.
Perhaps, we should ask them to stop for a moment or in our English when we were young “Tchuzi Kaye”, the problem in Malawi is not tax.

That has never been a problem, not for the poor. We thought you were ready to rule Malawi, no, not one of the comedians-cum-presidential candidates absolutely has idea how to fix Malawi’s challenge.

For a starter, almost 60 percent leave below the poverty line, forget the Qatar growth lies the late Daniel Phiri plunged us with, another 20 live anywhere on survival band with (this is our own category of working classes in Malawi who are not middle class, but poor working Malawians) and only 10 percent have real money, most of them connected to our former Presidents. A few earn money honestly like the Thom Mpinganjira of FDH, Jimmy Korea Mpatsa, Mr. Khondowe and others.
The problem, which they all missed is that in Malawi, wages (not salaries) are comparatively low. Labourers, including most of our house girls or mwana boyi’s earn less than 10,000 a month or in
dollars $25 a month. Government lowest worker earns K22,000 or US$52 or thereabout.

Unfortunately they are the majority. Salary for a qualified worker in Government at grade K is around K40, 000 or $101 per month take home, graduates fall somewhere around K70,000 a month or $180, while the PO grade above starts at K91,000 take home.

Its hypocritical of Reverend Chakwera who was influential decision at Assemblies of God not to acknowledge that paying low salaries for abusa, at K50,000 a month or Katsonga at Axa paying his staff K25,000 or Helen Singh at SS Rent Car paying drivers K25,000, Peter Mutharika at Galaxy paying K30,000 to Journalists or Atupele Muluzi, Board Chairman of Joy Radio who pays K20,000. Jumbe’s Superior Hotel collapsed and its now a Madras.

You see, all these pretenders who spoke about removing tax for low income earners, want only to run away from paying tax, because they exploit Malawians in their family owned institutions. They pay us peanuts and expect us to get rich.

The problem in Malawi is the inequality between the rich and the poor, starting with these Presidential contenders who drive in posh vehicles that guzzle K100,000 worth of fuel in a day, but pay their drivers K20,0000, force them to eat chiwaya while the munch at hotels or simply they don’t see their ill-treatment of fellow Malawian as an issue.

When they open they their mouths, they have guts to suggest tax holiday for their wealthy businesses which has been churning profits and is squandered on all wrong things. They are simply running as their greed and appetites has grown so huge, that they want to believe the state coffers will change their dwindling family and ill gotten empires.

No, seriously, We expected someone to make sense, but as usual, even as James Nyondo noted, they were saying whatever they were saying simply to buy a ticket to Sanjika palace. In their mind, Sanjika equals tax holiday for their businesses, again fotseki with such type of gluttony which ends up vomiting on our bare feet.

To tell you that Reverend Lazalo Chakwera is a joke, he asked why President Joyce Banda said there was no money when people pay taxes. It sounds like a Facebook question than someone seriously pleading God to intervene in invisible rigging. You see Reverend, your utterances makes us agree, reluctantly with President Muluzi “running Government is a serious business, osati mapilikano ali mbuuu uli kwacha kwacha six oclock mazulo, ali ndikukatenga boma, kanundu chani.”

We will help the Reverend, who pays his maid K12,000 a month to understand that “where do taxes go question?” is for people who have no idea the way Government operates. You see taxes are collected after the month has ended, so yes when it comes, most of times not all of it, has to pay salaries of the 170,0000 Civil Servants, some 193 greedy people we elect to be in Parliament and even some pension to Dr. Muluzi, Cassim Chilumpha and now Khumbo Kachali will join the
pensioners group.

When donors cut off aid and someone was accumulating  K61 billion in personal fortune or looting K92 billion, surely you do not expect anybody to find money. That’s why teachers or nurses were not being paid, that’s why we could not buy fuel, that’s why we could even suggest that Reverend Chakweras church should start paying taxes, which of course he led the protests.

You see, Reverend, salaries are called statutory allocations, meaning you have to pay them, So if you look at Malawi wage bill alone versus what is collected, no donor inflows after Daniel Phiri called them “stupid”, yes indeed this Mzimai Joyce Banda, found empty coffers. If you want to know ask Professor Peter Mutharika, he has some idea where some of the wealth is.

Then the old Professor was at it again. Charging that his loving brother Daniel Phiri did not want him running. The pathetic 74 year old is still living in a world where parents were greedy told us that
we should eat the fish’s head to be brainy while they feasted on chambo fillet. Shame.

To jolt his memory, his loving brother made sure Goodall Gondwe, President Joyce Banda, Henry Phoya and Khumbo Kachali were all fired from cabinet to pave way for you. We are not sure if the Professor came to the comedy show (we refuse to call it debate at all costs as it would murder our understanding of the Queens language) after helping himself to hard stuff his brother left for him.

Surely, firing those that had not endorsed your candidature and humiliating them at Sanjika like he did with JB and Khumbo does not look like being against your candidature. For record we were there at Sanjika, four of us, you remember pretty well when Nicholas Dausi said “Likanakhala kale tikanangowamenya makofi amenewa!” Your brother the late Daniel Phiri replied, “What is stopping you.” Professor, ooh old professor a whole President agreeing to slapping of a Vice President and a former Cabinet Member does not sound at all like he did not want you to be a candidate.

Further in your tape and own voice, while gossiping about Henry Chimunthu Banda, Ken Kandodo and Bintony Kutsaira with Charles Mchacha, you eloquently said “I will tell the President to say blab la bla….we are watching them,” What does that mean, you were watching the three, please do not lead us into temptation. These are facts Professor in public and do not mock our memory please.debae

Then there was the Road to 2014 programme on MBC hosted by your lovely boy Bright Malopa, where you were featured regularly with strange endorsements and you mean that was your late Brothers type of protest. We might not have liked the late Webster Ryson Thom Bingu wa Mutharika Daniel Phiri, but surely we do think his spirit will strike us and kutinyenyanyenya if we accept such gogo-ish lies of mwana amagula kuchipatala!

Then came an important question of the night, Foreign policy, heey, everyone jumped on embassies. For the respect we have for poorly resources diplomatic missions, constantly looking over their shoulder diplomats fearing creditors will pounce on them, we will not say much but we have to answer two things.

The question, for an intelligent candidate, which was in short supply that night, was about your Foreign Policy. Malawi has suffered or lagged behind because of lack of a coherent foreign policy that will translate opportunities created or available outside through its missions into benefits for the country. We wished someone even stated that we will negotiate with Mozambique to have an oil pipe line from Beira or Nacala, or a highway from Nacala that we can collect our “better than walking or tins on the wheels, brand new second hand but we are first users type of cars” we  have littered in Malawi.

Everyone was a joke on Foreign Policy, all they dream was embassies, no ideas on how to access development from outside. What a sad night of comedy. For the Professor to claim that he introduced professional diplomats, it is another joke of the year. You see we can name hundreds of his nephews and nieces, officials from party cronies who are in our missions across the World. We have no beef against them, they are Malawians, we have beef with the Professor lying. He even moved competent Patrick Kabambe for Justin Saidi just to push for appointments into embassies. Please next time you see this old man, tell him to stop lying every time he opens his mouth. Next time we will be forced to mention all his relations and friends that are dominant features in our missions.

So akuluakulu, Tchuzi kaye, tikusauka chifukwa cha inu ndi dyera lanu. Put laws that forces banks to spend money on its people or companies. Carlsberg, Press, Airtel, TNM, National Bank, NBS Bank, Nico, FMB and others all report billions of kwachas but still pay poor salaries to Malawians. Decent salaries will spur consumer spending and spur development and growth not tax holidays for you rich people……perhaps one cow a family is not bad after all, otherwise voting for nkhanira zinazi tanva kale muzazipatsa nokha ndalama, tiziyamba ndife ayini ake alipileni bwino antchito ku Axa, ku SS Rent A Car, Joy Radio, Galaxy Radio, Superior Madress, ICT of Mnesa ngakhale ku mpingo wa Chakwera, tikatelo Malawi ayamba kutukuka, amphawi ndi olemela asasiyane kwambiri, equity brings development not inequality….Tchuzi kaye…….

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