Saturday, May 30, 2009

Euphoria, Hopes...

It feels good to rest after handing in the final version of my dissertation for the MA Human Rights Practice. The last 4 or 5 weeks have been tough! I now await presentation of the paper and graduation in London next month. The two year adventure is close to an end and I want to walk by faith into the future in terms of employment and everything else.
The Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika continues to amaze me. He floored a combined force of MCP and UDF in the recent general elections to win a second and final term in office. The feat and its margin are simply mind-boggling. I say congratulations! The euphoria at Bingu's triumph reminded me of 1993-94 when single party dictatorship was defeated by the masses through the ballot.
My prayer is that things will not go awry like they did in the post-tyranny era.
I hope schools will be fixed for mostly they are in shambles as the picture below shows of learning infrastructure right in the city of Blantyre.

(Likhubula Primary School, Chilomoni)

I was listening to a political analyst from Cape Town University in South Africa, Kimberly Smiddy the other day on the radio. She suggested that an opposition figure should lead the Public Accounts Committee in the Malawian parliament. I thought that was a good idea considering that the opposition is in minority, and there is need to have strong checks and balances. I hear this is an arrangement at Westminster (U.K.) Thanks be to God for the peaceful vote in Malawi.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Resilient Bingu

Last night a titanic struggle ensued between Chelsea of England and Spanish club, Barcelona in the semi-finals of football's European champions league. A lot has been said about officiation and the post-match chaos after the home-side were knocked out with a goal by Barca deep into added time.What fascinated me though was the way the visiting team adjusted to adversity to win the tie. Barcelona were missing three key players and played a third of the match with a man less, following the sending-off of a defender. Still the Spanish side kept going and scored the vital goal.

This resolve reminded me of Malawi's president, Bingu wa Mutharika. The man may have his weaknesses, but what I have admired in him during his tenure in the past five years is his tenacity and fighting-spirit. He has had a tough time in the national assembly with the opposition trying to impeach him, attempting to shoot down the national budget and to kick out his MPs for having 'crossed the floor'. Worse still the president lost his wife two years ago to cancer.
But Bingu has survived all these adversities and will be standing for re-election in two weeks time. Wow! What resilience!
On a sombre note, it's two years now since my good friend, Lucy Mtembezeka passed away. I miss Lucy on the anniversary of her going to be with the Lord.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Facebook Friends

I have two friends who are critical of Facebook. One will not join the social networking site, while the other contemplates leaving it. These folks cite lack of 'privacy' and the stress of maintaining their page. Well, I know some 'addicts' who on the contrary are always posting updates and statuses from morning till midnight, literally!
I struggled to join Facebook and it took a Russian friend me to convince me to climb aboard the facility. What I like about the site is the ability to instantly communicate to many friends with the posting of one status such as: 'I arrived safely in Malawi". Gone are the days of hunting for numerous emails addresses. Also I fancy the way Facebook is being transformed into a news dissemination tool. Lately I have come to know about important developments at home through the networking set-up.
What puts me off is friend requests from people that one does not know at all, friends who post irrelevant or trivial matters, sometimes even domestic challenges or uploading of suggestive pictures. Additionally, it is annoying not to get Instant Message (IM) responses from friends who are online, or if you send to them other pleasantries.
I take Facebook friends as real and not just virtual pals. I expect mates to add value to each other and to be a source of encouragement to one another. As a result I have embarked on a drive to remove people I think are failing in the criteria above from my list of friends. A tough call to make, but then risks must be taken in life. I expect the same action from other people on me, and I'm ready to be 'chased' out too!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What kind of people are Malawians?

Recently two friends from home commented on the psyche of a Malawian. One, a woman, thought her fellow Malawians gossip a lot and that the men are more likely to 'chase' any lady they see. The other, a man, had more happy views about his compatriots saying Malawi are extroverted, articulate and happy. But, a Swedish journalism trainer once commented that in his experiences he found Malawians a bit coy in a multinational setting.
Three years ago, I attended an international broadcasting meeting in South Africa and I was amazed at the Malawian head of delegation's quietness during discussions. I recalled then the remarks of the Swedish tutor! Are Malawians really reserved? If true could that be a legacy of the authoritarianism of first president Kamuzu Banda with his demand for "loyalty, unity, obedience and discipline". Did that land a telling blow on the national psyche?? Maybe this is an area for research.

On another note, I handed in the first draft of my dissertation yesterday and I will have a review meeting on Friday with my supervisor. So I can breathe again till that day!! WOW! The challenge though is to adjust the body clock otherwise it is hard to sleep at 12, 1am...but somewhere around 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning! I'm also enjoying more music lessons for I want to get better this year on the guitar.