14 August 2016 Last updated at: 8:39 AM
No holds barred: Love letter to my country Malawi
I am sick and tired of everything that is going on. I am sick and tired of politicians who shake our hands during the general elections and our confidence after.
I’m sick and tired of politicians who spend ten million kwacha in their campaigns to steal ten billion when in power. I am sick and tired of all the theft.
We burn petty thieves for stealing goats while appointing great ones to public office. I am sick and tired of burning petty thieves. I am sick and tired of appointing great thieves to public office.
I am sick and tired of people who masquerade as leaders but in their hearts they do not love this country. They only love themselves, so they steal, steal, steal and build palaces in the bush. They don’t care two pence about this country.
I am sick and tired of having to bribe my way through everything. To change my licence at Road Traffic, I have to know someone or to bribe them. When the traffic police stop me, I have to bribe them. To have a passport I must bribe someone.
Even in commercial banks, sometimes we are standing on a queue, and someone who has just walked in will be called up front, just because he knows the teller or because they are too important. I am sick and tired of that too.
I am sick and tired of the fact that even in the hospital, I must first know the doctor for me to be given the attention I require, and I must know the nurse for me to receive the kind of care a patient deserves. I am sick and tired of that.
Dear Country, I am sick and tired of the fact that I must first know someone to get a job. And for ladies, they must first be sexually abused to get jobs – I am sick and tired of that.
I am sick and tired of sexually transmitted grades in our universities, where lecturers without morals sleep with innocent souls to give them undeserving grades.
I am sick and tired of public primary schools that are being neglected because decision-makers are all rich and send their children to expensive private schools.
I am sick and tired of hospitals that have become waiting rooms for death, neglected because decision-makers fly to South Africa for treatment. I am sick and tired of the fact that decision-makers do not even know that we have no medicine in hospitals.
I am sick and tired of fatcats running down our banks, living large on loans they cannot afford to pay back. I am sick and tired of political parties that bulldoze banks to give loans to fatcats, and the same parties sell the banks with total disregard of public opinion. I am sick and tired of that.
I am sick and tired of cashgate convicts who stole billions being sentenced to three years imprisonment, while the Balaka guy who broke into a house and stole a bar of soap was sentenced to twenty-three years. I am sick and tired of all such injustice.
Dear Country, I am sick and tired of praising leaders for merely doing their job. I am sick and tired of personalising development. I am sick and tired to see that it’s only leaders that change, but the phrase “wise and dynamic leadership” remains the same.
I am sick and tired of seeing our shops full of stuff all imported from South Africa and China. I am sick and tired of seeing only hotels and shopping malls being constructed as a sign of development. What about factories? I am sick and tired of leadership that does not make as a top priority the turning of Malawi into a net-exporting nation. I am sick and tired of that.
I am sick and tired of mediocrity.
I am sick and tired of all those self-important people who get honorary doctorates and forbid anyone from calling them Mr or Mrs. I am sick and tired of the Big Man Wamkulu Kwambiri syndrome. I am sick and tired of praising mediocrity, of thinking that just because someone lived outside this country they are better qualified to rule us. I am sick and tired of that.
I am sick and tired of all the tribalism and the nepotism. I am sick and tired of people who will not employ you because you come from a certain region or because you do not belong to a certain tribe.
I am sick and tired of paying too much attention to false prophets. I am sick and tired of seeing false prophets being glorified, mediocrity being glorified, and anybody who speaks against that glorification is considered “satanic.” I am sick and tired of this “satanic” nonsense that exists only in our imagination. When we see someone get rich and we are failing, we explain our laziness by calling the successful person “satanic.” It is not for nothing that in our national anthem, we ask God to help us defeat three biggest enemies of our country: Hunger, Disease and Envy. We have an overdose of envy, and I am sick and tired of that.
Dear Country, I am sick and tired of the snakes that our leadership tames. I see such snakes not only in the ruling party, but also in the leading party in opposition. I am sick and tired of such snakes. Tell them we do not tame snakes. I am sick and tired of development rallies where nothing about development is talked about. I am sick and tired of listening to empty speeches. I am sick and tired of opposition parties that do not offer constructive criticism.
I am sick and tired of our intelligence organisations doing nothing but planning to kill people who oppose the government. I am sick and tired of that. I am sick and tired of murders that are not investigated thoroughly, because the state’s invisible hand could be behind the killings. Robert Chasowa, Issa Njauju, I’m sick of such murders.
I am sick and tired of everything that is going on.
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Sometimes I wish I could grow wings and fly away, like those birds that cross oceans. But you are my country. I have no other corner of this earth I can call home.
I was born here, I grew up here, and I will be buried beneath this soil. I love you, my country. I don’t want you to be paralysed by greed.
But what can we do?
I am one of the people, and we, the people, do not know our true power. So I must lurch from day to day, sick and tired as I am. And no, I will not fly away; because I love you.