All posts by Wonderful Mkhutche

Leading the progressive agenda in Malawi

The Bible and Witchcraft

It is written in Exodus 22:18; “You must not allow a witch to live.” The Bible charges all those who believe in existence of witchcraft to kill all witches. Recently, there have been killings of suspected witches in Mwanza, Neno and Ntchisi. These were brutal scenes. Innocent people being hacked and burnt to death by a mob.

When pictures and videos are circulating in Social Media, even those who believe in the Bible are shocked. But they need not to as this is a Biblical order. State laws do not prosecute suspected witchcraft cases for their lack of evidence, and mob justice seems to be the way out. But killing of another individual is against the law, and that is where the arrest of the killers comes in.

But it will still be hypocrisy for those who believe in the Bible to claim victory over the issue with the arrests. If they really cared, it could have started protecting the accused before they turned into victims. But since the accusation on them does exist to them, and there is a probability that they could be witches, the believers are equally guilty as the killers.

It seems most people do not have the courage to question what found its way into the Bible. This is common history: The so-called Holy Book was written by Hebrews as a reflection of relationship with their Yahweh [God] and culture as well. In the primitive Hebrew world, witchcraft belief was present, and the killing was a mere traditional prescription. In the present Israel, do they treat witches as said in the Bible, or do they even believe in it at all? Those who wrote that verse have moved on, but we are failing to do the same.

The canonization of the Bible is another historical fact most people avoid to deliberate on. There were hundreds of manuscripts that were considered to be included to form the Bible. The fact that a book which recognized the existence of witchcraft, and even killing of the witches, was taken to be part of the Bible is a mere occurrence. But this will sound bizarre or strange to most people.

Through this verse, the Bible has trapped most when it comes to belief in the existence of witchcraft. There is no problem in re-thinking some of the Biblical passages. But some even think that God may end up angry at them if they pursue this course. But what kind of a God can be happy seeing you not concerned with two innocent people getting burnt or hacked to death, as long as you dearly hold one verse simply because it is in the Bible?

That is the contradiction which is common in most believers. To be clear, those who believe in the existence of witches are equally guilty as those burning or hacking them to death. There are those who condemn the violence of the suspects, but are quick to say witches do exist. The answers they give when you ask them, “So what should be done to the suspected witches?” condemns them.

Written by Wonderful Mkhutche. (The article was originally published in the Sunday Times of  December 1, 2019)

Mr. President, Thank You For Destroying Our Future

It is depressing, for those who care. Since we voted on May 21, Malawi is yet to see peace and unity. It was clear from the start that the elections will bring forth a divided nation knowing that the voting will be on tribal lines. But that was inevitable. We are a democracy. We have to vote every five years. But never was it anticipated that it will be to this extent, a nation more divided than it ever was.

We all have to take the blame, especially on the tribalism amidst us. As much as we condemn it at the national level, as individual Malawians, we have tribal perceptions and tendencies within us as well. These sometimes dictate how we look at others, and even vote. It runs in our veins, even for the young generation which is normally expected to be the difference.

Just as this is keeping us from progressing, politicians and political parties have chosen to make the most of it. They gain from it, and it is evident from the behavior of some main political parties during the last elections. Some even openly said that they are protecting their ‘home’ and went on to victimize those who did not respect the ‘boundaries’.

Who won the last elections? Only heaven knows. The case is now in the court of law and no one knows what the outcome will be. But in the meantime, Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is considered the President. And whenever this nation is facing post-election challenges, as the man at the helm, focus must be on him. As the head of State, he is supposed to be the symbol of national unity. But this is just on paper.

DPP is well-known for promoting politics that is built on tribal identities. The party was started by late President Bingu wa Mutharika in February 2005 who hailed from Thyolo, southern Malawi, where the Lhomwe tribe calls its home. Eventually, the party gained much of its support from people of the tribe, which is the second largest in Malawi after the Chewa where the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) traces its roots.

But having supporters from the tribe was normal, an expectation that never surprised anyone. But President Bingu wa Mutharika looked at the political investment in his tribe. Thus he birthed the idea of a tribal grouping called Mlakho wa Alhomwe, where the Lhomwes organized themselves as a single tribe, and also solidified their political base. For the first time, the Lhomwe’s who previously organized themselves in clans had a Paramount Chief, who eventually fell into the trappings of power by openly backing DPP, both as a party and government. There is also public perception that Lhomwes have dominated top positions in public service. This and other reasons, have created animosity between Lhomwes and the rest of other tribes in Malawi.

It is an unfortunate situation. The trend continued like that, even until the May 21 elections. And then after all about the voting day was done and dusted, as the nation was about to move forward, Tippex happened, and Malawi was never to be the same again. The so-called correction fluid is said to have been used to alter electoral figures in favor of President Peter Mutharika and DPP. The chair of the electoral body, Jane Ansah, proved incompetent to handle the arising issues. She went on to declare Peter Mutharika and DPP as winners of the elections. And chaos started.

Already using an electoral system that has someone being voted President even though the majority has rejected him / her, the credibility of the election was under serious question and Peter Mutharika and DPP were never to know peace. The Human Right Defenders Coalition (HRDC), a Civil Society Organization (CSO), organized the public to call for the resignation of Jane Ansah. Demonstration after demonstrations, chaos after chaos, death after death and despair after despair, Jane Ansah has made it clear that she is going nowhere.

That the country is going down into the drain because of her is an open secret. But as someone who was only appointed to the position, perhaps the main focus should be the authority above her, President Mutharika. The President holds the power of firing her, just as he hired her. But he is still keeping her, and Jane Ansah is failing to take a personal decision to submit that Malawi is bigger and better than her.

Instead of uniting the country, President Mutharika and DPP have chosen to divide it even further. His body language has admitted that he is not welcome in central region where MCP enjoys massive support. It has taken him five months to do a public function in Lilongwe, central region. All along he was comfortable in Blantyre, southern region, where DPP calls home. Whenever he is coming to Lilongwe, there is heavy military escort. It is clear from him that he recognizes and fears the regional or tribal divisions in Malawi.

But instead of playing against them, the President has chosen to act within them. He has allowed his party supporters to victimize those in opposition and even CSOs in Blantyre. He himself has chosen to threaten those who are demonstrating against his government, instead trying to find a way to unite the nation. The few times DPP has spoken about peace it did not come from the President, but those around him. But as the one who is the leader of Malawi, he is expected to be the figure-head of why Malawi must look at the present tribal divisions as insignificant.

Under his watch, the country is further going into chaos because he does not want to act as the President. If it continues, or perhaps we are past it, the crisis will get to a point where it will no longer be manageable. In all this, the President has chosen to act like an Ostrich; burying his head in the sand as bush fire is coming.

Simply put, the President has failed to handle a divided nation, and takes the blame for dividing it even further. He is still in denial as he keeps on blaming the opposition and CSOs for the violence. At the time when neighboring countries are moving forward with infrastructural development, among others, we are investing our time in tribal politics just because we want to be in power, destroying the future of this nation.

The President may seek sympathy that other countries are talking about Malawi destroying itself. But that is not enough. This is no time to seek sympathy. Mr. President, you may get it abroad, but in Malawi there is no one who will play along such lines. The only way forward is to strike a common ground between you, the opposition and the CSOs. Another solution is for you to make a deal with the concerned parties on the conditions for firing Jane Ansah, because whether you like it or not, this country will know no peace if such demands are never met. Acting towards them is not a mark of weakness, but leadership.

But I know that this advice will fall on deaf ears. Still it has to be said for posterity’s sake. But think of it Mr. President: This is the only nation we call home. As youths, we look at the future with depression and hopelessness. Your legacy is now in tatters, and the wrong-doing continues to go further, beyond redemption. You are safe at the State House enjoying security, good food, a warm bed and everything you need and want. And then here we are, those being affected by your lack of reaching out. You keep blaming the opposition and CSOs that they are destroying their own country. Indeed, the demonstrations are making people lose their investments and disturbing the flow of business in this country. But you are the only man who can act on their behalf by reaching out to those who are against your stand points, especially on Jane Ansah.

I do not expect you to act along the proposed lines as this seems not to be one of your options. For now, in our darkest hours, in our deepest despair, in our trials, in our tribulations, in our doubts, in our persecutions, in our violence, in our turbulence, in our anguish, in our pain and in our sorrow, we say, Mr. President, thank for destroying our future. We just hope there will be bricks and stones left for us, to be its masons, after you are gone.

Writer: Wonderful Mkhutche

Learning from Mustafa Ataturk

“Those who seek to pacify their own people through religion are not fit to be leaders. One should be revered by their own people based on their merits and skills,” said Mustafa Atuturk, first President of Turkey, who is widely known as the father of modern Turkey. Turkey is a nation at crossroads, the meeting point of Europe and Asia. It was a center of Christianity for years until the coming of Moslem invaders in 11th century.

Since then Turkey has been a Moslem nation. Presently, 98 percent of the population is Moslem, but in spite of this, Turkey’s public life has taken the secular path unlike other Muslim dominated countries. Everything boils down to Atuturk, whose religious reformation and progressiveness rejected the use of religion in State and government affairs.

Among others, Atuturk pushed for women’s suffrage, banned Ottoman’s fez in favor of European hats, outlawed the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic and enshrined secularism into the constitution. He championed a complete overhaul of Turkey, and eight decades later, his presence can still be felt. He envisioned a future Turkey which is not based on religion, and in great many ways, created possibilities for the nation.

The use of religion for governance is present in many parts of the world. There are nations who have State religions, leaders who invoke religious authority to be feared and remain in power and the informal use of religion to influence opinion on public matters. Malawi has not been spared from this. Over 80 percent of Malawi’s population are Christians, with 99 percent identifying themselves as religious.

 Christianity and Islam are core parts of this nation’s definition of religion. The existence of such has not spared politics. There have been times when leaders have used their association with religion to bargain for political power. For example former President Kamuzu Banda used his Presbyterian membership to fight against multiparty democracy in early 1990s. Years after that, when Malawi was in the homosexual rights debate, former President late Bingu wa Mutharika used religion to fight against it.

Even more, there is use of God as the one who is responsible for rains and harvests such that when there is lack of food, God is used as an excuse by leaders. This is done due to the fact that with most Malawians being religious, it will be a plausible excuse despite it being merely hiding their failure to deliver. In many ways, using religion is an easy way to seek undeserved power and authority.

But as noted by Atuturk, those who use religion to advance their personal or government matters are not fit to be leaders. It is merely taking advantage of the populace and putting them in a trap. Former US President Bill Clinton was right when he said “Shakespeare wrote, Einstein thought, Atuturk built.” Atuturk saw religion as a hindrance to progress. Our own country, Malawi, is an example. Religion is tasked with finding answers to our poverty, hunger and diseases and it has never worked. For once, we need to learn from men like Mustafa Ataturk.

Writer: Wonderful Mkhutche (Article first appeared in the Sunday Times of September 8, 2019)

Song Review: ‘Hosanna’ by Miracle Chinga

When Miracle Chinga was featured in her late mother’s Anandigula song in 2010, she was just 12. Under the mother’s guidance, Miracle came out singing with confidence. Her vigorous dancing in the song added more to the narrative that she was not just a good singer, but a performer. After the death of her mother in 2016, it seemed like Miracle Chinga had lost it all until she released Hosanna in 2018.

Before that she had experimented on fast and youth-oriented beats which were being produced by her elder brother, Steve Spesho. But that was not the direction we all expected from her. Possessing the potential to deliver on more mature beats and lyrics, Miracle Chinga was surely going down to waste.

Produced by South African based Dj Lobodo, Hosanna is a different path to her previous songs. The message in the song is Psalms inspired praise to God for all good He has done to her. She goes: “Limbanani nawo akulimbana nane. Kutsanani nawo wonditsutsa. Ndipo ndidzakhalabe mdzanja lanu nthawi zonse kufikira mafuko wonse avomereze kuti Yesu wanga ndi Ambuye.”

 The lyrics are normal of every gospel song. But the uniqueness of the song is in the beat and its delivery. Its medium tempo allowed Miracle to deviate from her previous fast tempo beats, and it worked. The bridge of the song added more magic to it. DJ Lobodo dominated it with a well-struck rhythm guitar. Then Miracle picks it up with backed voices singing: “Muli chikondi, muli mtendere, moyo wosatha, mwa Yesu” until the song ends.

It is a career highlight for the singer who has struggled to find her footing. In a recent media interview she said this song summarizes her music direction. If we take it by her words, finally, we can look forward to a Miracle who will live to her potential. Hosanna is surely a sign of great things to come.

Reviewer: Wonderful Mkhutche

‘Esther’ By Grace Chinga; A Message To The Present Malawi

It is just sad that the death of Grace Chinga in March 2016 overshadowed her posthumous album, ‘Esther’. But taking the work as it was delivered, it was another chapter in Grace Chinga’s career. She was improving in each of her project. ‘Udzayimba Nyimbo’ (2010) remains in class of its own, but ‘Esther’ was a work that finally, put Grace Chinga as the best of her times.

There is depth in the entire album, specifically in the title song, ‘Esther’, which is based on the Biblical story of Esther. A young Jewish woman becomes Queen when the Jews were slaves in Persia. This was unlikely for a King to put a slave in such a position, but the Bible says Esther was beautiful. It left King Xerxes I with no choice.

Then soon after that, one of King’s men, Hamman, planned a massacre of all Jews in Persia due to the hatred he had for them. He went through the King for it. Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, noting the danger, reaches up to his niece for salvation. She becomes the point of life or death for her people.

The uncle reminded her that it could be the reason she was made the Queen, for this particular time, and Grace Chinga sung on that: “Ukudziwa bwanji Mulungu wakupatsanu ufumuwu? Nyengo yi ndi cholinga, kapulumutse fuko lako.” Mordecai goes further to warn her niece that in case she would think she was safe because she is Queen, as captured by Grace Chinga: “Udzapulumuka mnyumba ya mfumu uli myuda? Usayiwale sadzasiya myuda ndi mmodzi yemwe.” She was the Queen, but that did not mean she had ceased being a Jew.

Soon after that Esther was inspired into action and starts fighting for her people. Grace Chinga takes up that role as well and asks the privileged in her society why they commit injustices against poor people. When the poor rise up, they are called criminals. “Walakwa chani mtundu wanga kuti muutche wa upandu? Tinaukira ndani kuti mutitchule woukira? Zitheka bwanji thukuta lathu kolona mulandira ndithu? Kwatsala mphindi yochepa mukutha pysiti?” She sings.

She does not stop at the question, but goes further to challenge them: “Kwakwana, zakwana, zakolera, ndawawidwa nazo. Sindingakhale chete chifukwa mtundu wanga ukutha. Mukundiwopyseza ndikiye bwanji pakamwa ndingoyang’ana?” As she is rising up, she calls on the people to join her as she sings: “Tikalimba mtima tidzawagonjetsa.” She takes the lead in the fight and knows the consequences and leads her to sing: “Or nditapanda kudyelera zotsatira, koma bola fuko langa lidye ntchito zanga.”

Powerful! This is not an average gospel song we are used to. This is a pure social revolution message from a gospel music singer. Being the genius lyricist she was, the message started from the Bible, then to her before it got to the people. Reaching this far, we must thank life for keeping Grace Chinga a little longer to make sure she went after leaving us this song.

So much is parked in it. First, just like Esther, we are in a certain position for some purpose and we have to fulfill it. Second, we need to use our positions to fight against injustices and for the people. Third, we need not abuse our privileges, and more importantly, assume that we will be saved by them when human catastrophe comes upon us all. Fourth, by implication, the fight for social justice is an endless effort. It is something we much always do as long as we live.

Malawi is a country wallowing in poverty, hunger, anger, disease and envy. These must not be how others define us for the rest of our history. There is also injustice as well. The rich using their privileges to steal from the poor. Elections being poorly managed, and further dividing the nation. These are the ‘Hamman’s’ of our society today. They need an Esther to fight against them. And just like how Grace Chinga took it upon herself as the Esther of her people, the same is asked of us. We must not assume we are safe. We must ask for the helpless. And we must act for all the abused.

Will The Written Manifestos Matter In The May 2019 Elections?

Almost all parties that matter in Malawi’s next elections in May have now launched their manifestos. To delve into which one is appealing among the rest will be a genesis of another long debate which will end up into partisan bickering. But from their assessment of where Malawi is, the parties have given their political, social and developmental wishes. However, it remains to be seen if the written documents will have any impact on the outcome.

To begin with, to assume that voters will make their decisions after reading the documents will be assuming too much for an average Malawian voter. The first to come up with its manifesto was the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In fact, MCP has been leading the way in almost everything as far as these elections are concerned. The party was the first to hold its convention and also name its running mate.

But even before the party had decided on such, it already had its own people behind it, those who were decided to vote for it. The United Transformation Movement (UTM) party followed suit with the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) doing the same. In reality, one of these will emerge as the party to have been given the mandate to lead Malawi in the next five years.

The talk of manifestos has been on top of some people’s minds for months now. Every election is changing with subject to the times. This is not the first time for parties to produce manifestos, but the fact that in 2014 not as many people as it is now had access to smart phones meant that the circulation of the manifestos is not as it is now.

In 2019 the electronic copy versions of the manifestos have made rounds in WhatsApp groups and other electronic sharing platforms than it was in 2014. This would make one assume that the coming elections will be different as choices will be made from an informed point. But the reality is different. The asking for the documents is for other uses like just possessing it and for academic reasons. We should not expect one who was intending to vote for a particular party to be convinced by the manifestos and vote for another party.

That is why we need to have a re-look at the impact of the written manifestos in an election. It is widely known that Malawians are not good at reading. Again, the fact that the electronic versions of the manifestos have gone to only those with smart phones, the large part of the rural masses have therefore been left out. They will be voting without having sight of any of the manifestos. But this is the largest single block of voters in Malawi. Rural voters are the ones who decides who wins or loses an election as they comprise 80 percent of the entire Malawi’s population. Even more, the documents are in English language, meaning that the intended targets are the few who can ably grasp and interpret the contents.

The talk of party supporters about their manifesto being better than that of others does not therefore go to the extent of determining the outcome of the elections. It is a mere wastage of words and breath, an attempt to score some political self-esteem which will not translate into viable votes by the end of the day. Not that those who have produced the manifestos have given an effort in futility. The provision of such documents is an election ritual which will start making sense as time goes by.

As the documents are in circulation to the few, the parties should take it upon themselves to spread around the messages in the manifestos in their rallies. They should not expect those in recipient of their manifestos in both electronic and hard paper to read and be convinced. It is the duty of every party to translate the messages into what Malawians want to hear concerning their future. But expect no winning or losing of voters resulting from the manifestos.

Wonderful Mkhutche | 2019

Malawi Does Not Need God

In Malawi, a citizen imagining his nation without God is condemned in all senses, tantamount to a curse. But sometimes, it is important to spend time observing our ways and how they have affected our progress. If there is a need to make a change, we have to. It is unwise to protective an idea that does not have any benefit for our country.

Just two hundred years ago, before the European missionaries came to Central Africa, Malawi was neither Christian nor Moslem, the current dominant religious traditions. Most people belonged to traditional religions. The coming of the missionaries, and subsequently, administrators, brought Christianity. This also includes the Swahili Arabs who dealt in Slave Trade and played a big role in bringing Islam to Malawi, especially in the Lake Shore areas.

Emphasis on Christianity gave way to the abandonment in the traditional religions. It became the ‘official’ religion of Malawi with Islam retaining a considerable influence in most people as well. The change in religion was more of a battle of gods. Who was powerful between the White and the Black god? And more, who best reflected the kind of society the missionaries wanted for Malawi.

Although it had a dedicated veneration of gods, the Monotheistic belief brought by the Missionaries tapped from the people’s belief in super natural forces, but reduced it to one. The traditional religions accommodated other century’s long behaviors like polygamy, beer drinking and smoking, acts that were preached against by Christianity.

 By time, Malawi was engulfed with Christianity and Islam, and later on, when the White government was ousted, religious beliefs will still a considerable amount of influence. To this day, although running on a secular constitution, religion still has much influence, informally. This may seem to some that we cannot do without religion and its beliefs (God) no matter how hard we have tried to keep him out of the picture.

The history of religion continue telling us that it is man who invented God. Within himself, man felt wanting and saw something more than his being. Religion and god are man’s evolution products. The aim was to have a larger-than-life reference point where meaning and purpose can be sought.

And so is our situation as Malawi, religion and god have been that to our existence as a nation. It may have worked with others. But an honest assessment of our fate has shown that for the two centuries we have chosen this path, nothing has changed. We may continue believing in god. But with evidence that continues telling us that god cannot work for our economy, for example, it is time new missionaries re-make our god.

A National Parliament that prays for road accidents when we have vehicles that are not road worthy on our roads, a clergy that prays for rains when people are destroying the rain cycle and political leaders that pray for progress when themselves are deeply involved in corruption tell us that we do not need god to make it right. We need ourselves.

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a professional speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer


Chief Lundu Is Drunk In Political Money

If ever there is a God, we sincerely pray, please, do away with our chiefs. We can do without them. They are proudly called the custodians of culture. That is the description that has resonated well with traditionalists, those people who are often afraid of modernity and goes back to culture as reference point of maintaining the status quo.

Which culture do they keep after all? Malawi has inevitably been part of significant global changes. No matter how much guard we have had throughout the years, as they say, change still happens. And then, aside that, we have the political side of our chiefs.

Building their influence from a traditional establishment that dates back to pre-colonial era, chiefs have always been victims of powers that be. At one time, the Swahili Arab slave traders used them to get slaves from the interior of Central Africa to the East African market. Christian missionaries went through chiefs and subsequently the colonial administrators. During Kamuzu Banda era, chiefs still retained power, to the extent of judging on treason cases. The same continued with the following democratic governments

2007. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is now in power. Just like other previous governments, the party has chosen to use chiefs for its political aims. With the belief that people listen to their chiefs, politicians have targeted chiefs as a way of reaching to people, especially with a message that is against their political opponents, as noted from recent trends.

On Saturday in Nchalo, Chikwawa, Paramount Chief Lundu of the Mang’anja people in the Lower Shire was on a political outing. In one of his traditional communiques, the chief lashed out against the flamboyant South African based Malawian Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG). He told the people that the man of God is involved in Satanism and harbors political ambitions.

From a philosophical point of view, there is no being called Satan, and Satanism is nothing but a system of belief that mushrooms from the human mind’s controversy of good and evil. And about political ambitions; since when has it become a crime for a citizen to have political ambitions?

Before going into the nitty-gritties, Bushiri;s public relations team was in on time to clear the mist with a press release. In one of the statements Bushiri’s Public Relations Officer, Ephraim Nyondo, writes, “Malawi remains a Republic, not a Kingdom. Our churches will, legally, continue to operate anywhere in Malawi.”

If one looks at Chief Lundu’s recent political rants, it is easy to note the fact that he is one of the ruling party’s operatives. To share the larger picture, for a time, the Prophet has been having a cat and rat relationship with government. His Maize donations sparked subordination reactions from government with other alleging that he is using his vast wealth to vie for a political position in 2019.

Understanding this background, Chief Lundu’s sentiments came from nowhere else. What he talked about Prophet Bushiri lacks substance and not a grain of truth to convince even those who look at the Prophet with suspicion. The ruling party continues to use its old and unfruitful tactics of using errand boys to do its dirty jobs.

So unfortunate that the Chief has chosen to be used by the ruling party for its ends. He has other important tasks to do for his people and means of survival that can elude the snares of DPP. But he has chosen to partake in the political liquor of a party that now and then continues to tell the nation that political insecurity is its number one challenge.

Chief Lundu, the people clapped hands and women ululated for you as you delivered the message your masters sent through you. Some believed you. But as for me, and those of like mind, we choose to clearly tell you that we are old enough to understand the constitution of Malawi, as said by Prophet Bushiri team. As you call others Satanists, have time to also look at yourself. How can a man who is paid to dent other people’s image claim not to be from Satan? We know, you are drunk in political money, and we are not ready to listen to you.

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a professional speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer

Soldier Paying Bills The Wrong Way

Lucius Banda is a no stranger to bitter Social Media exchanges. He cannot help it sometimes. Being at the top of his game for over two decades he is the most known musician in Malawi, and probably, the most loved. That means people follow and interpret every action from him with close scrutiny. As a human being, although he tries to stay away from delving into his criticism, he does respond. And sometimes it does not end well.

Last weekend, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had one of its most impressive outings when the party welcomed Sidik Mia into its fold. As 2019 is approaching, and MCP failing to win the Lower Shire vote in all Malawi’s democratic elections, Mia is a special catch. It simply had to be something big.

Who else can be thought of than the man Lucius Banda? He is one of the top crowd pullers in terms of music in Malawi. Thus they hired him. But looking at the history of Lucius Banda’s songs and his active politics, singing at the rally was something that felt awkward for some people. He is currently a Member of Parliament for the former ruling United Democratic Front (UDF). His party is in political union with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Although he has always distanced himself from this union, he still remains a member of the party. All his actions have to therefore aim at strengthening the party he belongs to than giving its competitors some mileage. Realizing the looming controversy, hours after the show, he quickly posted on his Facebook page to thanking Sidik Mia for giving him business.

“It was just business people,” that was what he was trying to tell his fans and party supporters. One of his followers, Henry Bamusi, responded,

“But you made a very big mistake. You are looking forward to be President but ukupita kukaimba dance pa msonkhano wa fellow political aspirants,” reads part of the response.

Soldier, as Lucius Banda is fondly known to his admirers, replied back,

“The best way mungobwera kwathu mzakupatseni ma bill anga muzindilipilira bwana kuti ndisiye kukaimbako.”

In what has become a viral exchange of words, Soldier still maintains his position that it was just business, nothing else. Yes. But it was wrong business, s strange way for a hardcore politician like him to pay his bills.

The Ngabu rally was MCP’s biggest talking points in its recent times. This was an event that most people felt the party once again got its mojo back. It is looking forward to dislodging the ruling DPP from power, together with its partner, UDF, of which Lucius Banda is the member. Henry Bamusi has a point. Lucius Banda may separate himself as a musician and a politician, but the history of his music suggests that these two are one and the same.

Recently, after looking at Atupele Muluzi, UDF’s President, taking the party into a political union that was not sanctioned by its supporters, Lucius Banda was being looked upon as the man who can take the part on a hardcore independent stand so that its gains back its strength and charge for power. Surely, this has confused some of those people who saw him as the way to go.

He has bills to pay. As a human being, he has huge responsibilities that needs money to be fulfilled. But looking at his ambitions and potential, singing at the MCP rally was one of the dangerous decisions he ever made as a politician. Everyone saw him doing it, including those he will stand against in the next elections. This could be a hole that will sink him.

About the author: Wonderful Mkhutche is a professional speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer


The Faith Of Our Democrats

Two weeks ago Malawi celebrated its fifty third year as an independent nation. History tell us what a gallant a fight it was for us to free. The day usually attracts debate on whether we are indeed independent or not bearing in mind the progress we have made so far and our continual parasitic dependence on donors.

This is a story for another day. But just when we were in the middle of celebration, an internal power and idea rivalry grew and fatally crippled us. Not tolerant to opposition, Dr. Banda and the Malawi Congress Party outlawed other political parties and created what would become one of Africa’s brutal regimes for the next three decades.

But change was inevitable. The wind of change that blew across the African continent did not spare Malawi. Citizens were once again geared to fight a system to bring in a government of their enlightened conscience. A Roman Catholic pastoral letter on March 8, 1992 triggered an already politically charged citizenry to protest against the regime. Among others, the letter condemned massive social, political and economic injustices and clearly called for democratic reforms which included respect for human rights.

The letter was the immediate result of the 1991 conference by the Association of Theological Institutions in Southern and Central Africa at St. Peter’s Major Seminary in Zomba. At the conference Rt. Rev. Dr. P.A Kalilombe called on the Pastors “To have an adequate understanding of the political situation of our nation today” so that they could help their congregation “To find an appropriate political system which guarantees freedom, dignity, participation, and responsibility” (Newell, 1995:6).

Despite the weakness of diverting people’s energy and efforts to an invisible and a non-existent source of answers, religion in Malawi has been a binding force in areas of health and education. Some of our best health facilities and educational institutions are owned by religious bodies. They have been a difference between life and death, literacy and illiteracy, a result of a more practical and humanistic approach to religion, as called by Rt. Rev. Dr. P.A. Kalilombe.

What else do we need from religion if not serving humanity? And this is also demanded from the other side of Atheists, Agonists, Deists and Humanists. A more practical approach to belief and disbelief is what is needed from us all. It was safe for the Church to keep quiet and lead an oppressed congregation. But that would have been hypocrisy. Religion has to be a force for liberation and freedom. Lack of these in its character has been one of the main reasons some choose to stay away from it.

Perhaps they set a standard for how the Church needs to stand up for its people. Before people are believers, they are humans. The lure to religion is a human’s way of looking for meaning and answers, a natural tendency within man to look for freedom, power, space and liberation. If the Church cannot use its influence to make this a reality for man, then why have it?

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a professional speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer.