This year’s independence celebrations are probably the worst celebrations ever organised in this country.
Apart from the worst ever stadium disaster on Independence Day on July 6, 2017 that saw eight people trampled to death at Bingu National Stadium (BNS), the government organised the event as if it was for the ruling party.
Just drive around the cities, be it Mzuzu, Lilongwe or Blantyre, and you will see that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) flags fly higher than national flags. What I am saying is that those who were erecting the flag poles made sure that the blue DPP flags flew higher than the beautiful colours of the nation.
I am not, therefore, surprised to hear people mistaking the 53rd Independence celebrations for President Peter Mutharika’s birthday; probably because he had his head on the bill boards erected in selected round-abouts instead of the coat of arms.
Others thought it was DPP’s 53rd commemoration in power because of the dominant blue colour which was almost everywhere, taking away the beautiful colours of the nation. This is not patriotism that Mutharika takes time to teach us about whenever he has time to do so.
This is not integrity at all. I am not, therefore, surprised to hear that the organising committee of the event decided to open the BNS gates at 10am because they thought DPP women and cadets would not find seats in the stadium.
At this point, let me send my condolences to the bereaved families of the seven children who were trampled to death and one man who wanted to rescue his child and ended up being killed. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
Now, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should consider charging the organisers of the event with murder. They played with people’s lives when they decided to delay the opening of the gates to wait for the blue women and boys.
This is not the political independence that Kamuzu Banda, the father and founder of the nation, and his lieutenants risked their lives for. This is not the democracy that Chakufwa Chihana and other Malawians risked their lives for. This is not the type of government that Malawians braved the chilly weather on June 14, 1993, to vote for.
This government, I mean the DPP led government— or let me put it aptly, the Peter Mutharika administration — is taking us for a real ride; no wonder, we have these tragedies and disasters on the way.
I am also very surprised, just like some sections of society, that the President decided to appoint a task force to look into the tragedy, instead of a fully-fledged commission of inquiry.
My own conclusion, hasty it might be, is that this is because those who died are poor, ordinary and marginalised children from Mtandire and Mtsiriza. If wealthy and powerful people had died, the government would have moved in swiftly; the match between Silver Strikers and Big Bullets would have been cancelled; all national flags would have flown at half-mast.
The government handling of the issue leaves a lot to be desired. The organisers and those close to the organisation of the event were serving personal and political interests.
This should be a very big embarrassment to a government that came into power on promises of good governance, demarcation of party and government business and promises that the DPP-led government would not mix government with party issues. President Mutharika did not only promise this during his whirlwind tour in 2014 when he was canvassing for votes but the party put all this in writing in its manifesto.
This is why, I repeat, the DPP-led government is taking us for a ride, for a real ride for that matter and, actually, the Peter Mutharika administration is taking us for fools.
Well, as we commemorate the shambled independence events, there are some Malawians who are making us very proud, these are distinguished Malawians who deserved accolades during the disastrous independence celebrations.
Firstly, let me single out Rumphi Central Alliance for Democracy MP Frank Mwenifumbo. This honourable MP managed to make amendments in the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill in the last meeting of Parliament so that black Malawians should get 60 percent of all government contracts.
This is patriotism at its best. If Honourable Mwenifumbo is not a patriotic Malawian, then I do not know who a real patriotic Malawian is; a Malawian, who worships a party flag more than a national flag?
We all know how some foreign nationals have always monopolised the award of contracts because of high level corruption.
Next is minister of Local Government Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also Leader of the House. When I bounced back in active parliamentary reporting, Nankhumwa was appointed Leader of the House and I thought he could not be up to the job, taking into account his age and other factors.
But lo, I was wrong. Nankhumwa has proved and turned to be a genius I never expected; no wonder he is a darling to both the government and opposition benches. I was not, therefore, surprised during the closing of Parliament that Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera heaped praise on Nankhumwa.
The working relationship between the government side and the opposition is ever brilliant because of the leadership of Nankhumwa, the Mulanje Central legislator.
Well, let me wind up my unusual praises with Kasungu South East MP, Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda.
This young lady rocked me with her motions, most of the emergency motions, to force the House to debate issues of national importance, including the ever growing road carnage which has claimed over 900 Malawians in the past six months. This shows that we have some Malawians who do not put their parties first but put Malawi first. Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda, Kondwani Nankhumwa and Frank Mwenifumbo are among those who put Malawi first and political parties second.
These are the type of people Malawi needs, not those who fly party flags above national flags or open stadium gates late to wait for party zealots!