Let’s begin with a language lesson. ‘Ana’ in Chichewa language means children. ‘A dad’ is a ‘chichewalized’ term for ‘dad’s’. Basically, you can call your father ababa, atate, madala, abambo-anga or adadi. Obviously, all children have a father, alive or not, known or not, onamizilidwa kapena eni eni (unknowingly someone’s children or genuinely yours). So it is funny and strange for a group of people to call themselves ‘Ana a dad’. The one who came up with this term was probably high on something. Language lesson done.
Having finished the language lesson, let’s look at why people would choose to be called such a strange name as ‘Ana a dad’ (President Mutharika’s children). One of the main reasons is that the name comes with benefits. The benefits are many such that these Homo sapiens don’t see the awkwardness in the name. For instance, you can beat people up for no reason and not get arrested.
Few months ago, Malawians saw a video of a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cadet, Isaac Osman, also known as Ntopwa One, suffocating a young man just for wearing opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) regalia . Until now, the police have not arrested him despite the fact that the video is still circulating on social media. But those ‘acting suspiciously’ are quickly arrested.
Some of the things cadets do using this name are mind boggling. Just using the name Ana a dadi, you can go to a police station and demand release of your friend, harass police officers and get away with it. It happened few weeks ago at Kawale Police Station in Lilongwe. Everyone was shocked to see the video on social media.
Last year at the official opening of the National Budget Meeting, Ana a dadi caused havoc. They harassed Members of Parliament and blocked them from accessing Parliament building. DPP cadets wearing black and white suits reportedly stood at Parliament entrance where they attempted to bar Members of Parliament for Blantyre City East, Noel Masangwi and for Mulanje West, Patricia Kaliati from entering Parliament gates. The members had to struggle to get through.
The cadets also slapped Times Group’s cameraman, Douglas Banda, who was strategically positioned to take visuals of the fracas. It reportedly had to take the intervention of Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) journalist Daniel Mababa to stop the cadets from continuing manhandling him. That happened in full view of DPP Secretary General Grezelder Jeffrey and Malawi Police Service (MPS). How did DPP respond to this? They promoted the ring leader, Dyton Mussa to Youth Director!
Ana a dad harass journalists on duty and no one can arrest them. In July last year, DPP youth cadets threatened to beat up journalists covering former minister George Chaponda’s bail hearing at Blantyre Magistrate’s Court. The journalists were covering proceedings in the bail hearing of the former Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, who was arrested in the maize scandal.
As rewards for these notorious acts, DPP gives these young men jobs in different public departments and companies. One of them is Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). Illiterate blue painted cadets work at MRA Inland Port in Kanengo as manual laborers. These cadets are so powerful that even MRA officers can’t touch them. When Ana a dad speak, the officers say, “amenewatu ndi boma” (these people are the government).
There is one more benefit for being Ana a dad. Just putting the number plate ‘Ana a dad’ you can drive a car without Certificate of Fitness (COF) or any legal paper in town. No traffic regulations enforcement officer can impound a car with such a number plate. The result is increased risk to road users because of unroadworthy cars moving around town.
Ana a dad can also get rich with unexplained money and the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) can’t investigate them. Ana a dad can buy a 45 million Kwacha government car at 120,000 Kwacha, put Ana a dad number plate and nobody will touch them. While some government officers are fired for mixing public jobs with politics, you can work in government and do politics as long as your forehead has the words Ana a dad.
Some Ana a dad are forcing Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) and Lands officers to allocate land to them which they later sell to foreigners. One Mwana wa dad whose mother is in charge of the land ministry has promoted himself to deputy minister. He is untouchable. He flamboyantly walks in offices and orders officers to allocate land to him which he is selling to foreigners. Yet ordinary Malawians struggle for years to be allocated land. This is how we will one day wake up without land.
These are just examples. There are many cases of DPP cadets getting away with terror in the name of ‘Ana a dad’. The police fear them. The police are also victims but they simply can’t send these thugs to jail. Strangely, police are quick to take orders from DPP to arrest opposition members. When the police arrest opposition members, we are told it’s because they didn’t respect the law of the land. But when Ana a dad terrorize innocent citizens, the police just look away and calls for respecting laws are never heard. It is the same with corrupt DPP cadets who are untouchable. Malawians need to fight for a system where ruling parties should not abuse our laws.
*Views in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Malawi24