The Bon Kalindo Factor

“Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life.” – Bob Nesta Marley

One of my mentors once told me that the first law of conflict is never to under estimate your opponent no matter how small they may seem to be, as long as one is signed up for a fight, you must always respect them. 

If you see a five year old challenging you relentlessly, know there is  something behind giving them the drive.

And he added that the principal law of combat is never to trust your adversary at all times.

When I first saw Mr Bon Kalindo giving an interview on Times Exclusive some while ago, I wrote on this column, warning the establishment that there was a silent revolution that was boiling. 

It was an instant barometer that divulged the  people’s lack of trust for this government. 

And I thought that the interview should have served as an eye opener to those that were still complacent then.

Unfortunately my voice just like the voices of many others fell on the deaf ears of the ruling elites.

Obviously it is the continued preposterous and ludicrous behaviour by those on the driving seat that has  flared up renewed calls for a fresh revolution.

And this is the genesis of the Kalindo factor.

Quite contrary to the perception of the ruling class, Bon Kalindo is not just a person, he is a REACTION!!

His boldness and courage to speak truth to power is what is making him the most relevant voice for those who feel left out by this government, the poor and marginalized.

And to be honest this is where the political calculus of the ruling class is not working. They might have been successful in neutralizing the HDRC and other institutions.

And while it’s true that the Chilima’s and Mtambos of this world may have been also sucked into the government, the truth is that the discontent that created them is still outside government.

These voices of change can not be underestimated.

‘Opposition’s Unique Silence’
Every Malawian outside the ruling class knows what it is wrong. They can easily relate to the pain and fully identify with the hardships they are facing every day. 

While citizens are struggling just to barely make it, sadly they continue to see the flamboyance and unsurpassed executive irresponsibility. 

The galavanting and reckless travels by the state house to solicit allowances at the expense of the already extremely poor people.

Our government institutions are decaying with massive failures at every level of its apparatuses.

Our national standards have gone down in such an obtuse way.

We  have trusted people who are devoid of the sharpness and the needed knack and intellect  to reform and manage our public sector.

Consequently there are no jobs for our young people and the cost of living is obnoxiously high.

The costs of most basic needs and necessities like cooking oil and fuel have almost doubled.

This has been a brutal awakening and realization that the true battle for Malawi is not between the establishment and the opposition, the real battle is between the ruling class and the common man.

If you read our politics carefully, you will notice that the opposition is uniquely silent.

The eastern and northern political institutions have all been corrupted and have all collapsed.

And DPP can not rise as a credible alternative anymore. 
There is nothing really that could justify them, they probably know that they could have been doing the same or even worse if they were the ones still running the show.

So the assumption that our opposition is mute simply because they are afraid of their own cases of corruption is quite erroneous.

The real cause of our political dysfunction and the gridlock we are seeing is the lack of  alternative vision and direction for the country on the part of our leaders

For example, people from the eastern and northern regions are fully aware that there has been no credible developments and yet their political leaders have opted to ignore this because they too are clueless.
‘Trappings of Power’

Our political dominant institutions have no desire to change and they have nothing credible to offer.

The diagnosis of our woes indicates clearly that the biggest enemy of our collective destiny is the ruling class.

They are united by their lack of ideology. They ignore the need to grow and they see nothing wrong with mediocrity and corruption.

They lack a distinguishing policy and personality. In other words they are the same people but just recycled with different faces.

They are obsessed with an idea that Government only needs management and change of faces.

They seem to have developed a false confidence which is dictated by trappings of power.

 Erroneously they assume that Malawians are stupid and not perceptive enough.

They believe that Malawians will continue to vote only on tribal lines and rhetoric alone. 

No one is immune to the trappings of power. 

It swallowed JB, neutralized the energy of Chilima and finally it has isolated the president. 

And the isolated president will only work to benefit the isolated few, and that’s what had been happening.

Let us remember that the history of all popular uprisings in Malawi seem to have always found root and it’s origins in disgruntled and dissatisfied people who were taken for granted.

This is what most politicians easily forget.

‘Just Grotesque act?’
The phenomenon of Chilima and Mtambo tapped from the similar dissatisfaction that eventually became the unifying element and the fuel that propelled their revolutionary movements.

Once people have made up their minds you can’t easily change them.

This is why now Malawians are strongly gravitating to any anyone who is willing to speak up with a different tone. 

Just like how we saw Malawians finding comfort in  Stanley Onjezani Kenani and his private citizens initiative for the Covid response,  the clear signs are there that the nation is once again at a crossroad and that people don’t trust their government anymore. 

And, Kalindo is directly speaking to those forces that are holding the nation captive.

You may want to believe he is supported by other forces, and yes he may as well be.

However that alone cannot dismiss this as a political evolution. It’s  process of natural selection has already started.

Malawians are the barometer dictating these deficits and are looking for a new leadership and against this backdrop that’s where Kalindo is coming from, just like his predecessors before; Timothy Mtambo and Saulos Chilima.

Others have even assumed that he is self serving, but I ask what’s self serving in asking where the one million jobs are?

Where is the selfishness in asking government to facilitate the reduction of prices and tariffs?

Is he lying that the size of government has to be reduced and that all corrupt people and those that have benefited from criminal syndicates must be arrested?

We don’t know how many Winikos are still out there. But we know a new generation of leaders is actually rising up to offer a new recourse.

And even if government were to be successful with the piece meal strategy to neutralize Mr Kalindo and all organizers , another one will still rise in their place.

These are not politicians as you may know them. These are ordinary private citizens who are stepping up.

The Kalindo factor is not just grotesque act done for fun and amusement. 

As a parting shot let me remind you the wise words that Ursula K. Le Guin once said: “You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”

Kalindo has done it and so you too can do it!!


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Bobby B.
Bobby B.
1 year ago

High commodity and fuel prices was caused by high exchange rate. Solve the problem of exchange rate, and automatically prices of fuel and goods will come down. So that means Malawi needs more net exports to earn forex.

1 year ago

Excellent article and has been very objective and to the reality in Malawi. I also like the quoting of Robert Nesta Marley, its still relevant today. Mahara, thumps up!!

Innocent Chiyagwaza Mhango
Innocent Chiyagwaza Mhango
1 year ago

“Money is numbers that never ends and if it takes money to find happiness then your on endless search for happiness “ Bob. Surely it’s revolution time when all secrets are revealed and perpetrators brought to justice. We will not accept our country to be oppressed by corrupt syndicate with no interest of developing Malawians at large. We got no time to stand and see Selfish politicians robbing poor Malawians of their hard earned income,items and products. Malawians got potential to lift ourself up into global economy if it wasn’t for these scrupulous politicians who gang up with business tycoons… Read more »

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