Oh boy! How hot it is getting down here. It is around 5.30pm and you would be tempted to think it’s around 2pm. The rain clouds are sparse in the sky and the weather experts have already been warning about normal and above normal rains soon.
You see, as the experts keep coming up with the predictions, it is most bemusing to see even popular TV personalities asking the department’s director Lucy Mtilatila whether it was time for farmers to plant. When Mtilatila became a crop expert only God knows!
As I write, President Lazarus Chakwera has just finished a ‘developmental rally’ held at Chadza Primary School in Lilongwe. Earlier in the day, Chakwera was presenting accolades at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
Dear Diary, we will talk about some people in the academia urging graduands to not only think about being employed but become entrepreneurs. The funny thing is that some of them have clung to their positions in institutions of higher learning for ages. It reminds me of one motivational speaker, Henry Kachaje, who told the rest of us how useless jobs were and how he wrote a book on how to make your first million and grow it and grow it to prosperity. The man ended up in some office trying to confuse us about fuelonomics or the lack of it!
So here I am, trying to make out what this developmental rally was all about. It opened with some gulewamkulu character. Someone just around is asking what the character is. I recognise this njovu character, which comes out on really special occasions in the normal Chewa scenario like the death of a chief or a chizangala, one of the festivals among the people.
But there was neither a chief’s death nor a chizangala at Chadza Primary School. It was all set to show that this was a big event for the people of Chadza.
Then there was that lining up of some queer characters looking forward to shake the President’s hand as he proceeded to the podium. A rare show of loyalty!
The speeches that followed were praise singing for Chakwera’s wise and dynamic leadership. There were tips on the sea of faces at the ‘developmental rally’ to show that the Malawi Congress Party was as mighty as ever. That the opposition, which I must add, Dear Diary, is so weak, can’t win the 2025 polls.
As they continue with their tirade of praises, you can actually pick out that the chiefs in the area are looking after a hungry people who have to walk long distances to sick medical attention and very unsure whether they will not face the same problems they faced last year in the Agricultural Inputs Programme (AIP).
And oh, before I forget. I am not sure whether Chakwera addressed a ‘developmental rally’ at Chamwabvi or Kavikula ground in Kasungu after launching the AIP for this year. All I am sure is that Chakwera openly told agriculture minister Sam Kawale that he had 40 days to ensure that all was done and dusted in the AIP.
Dear Diary, forget the Biblical interpretation of the number 40. Noah was in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights, so was Moses on Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments from God. The Israelites walked for 40 years in the wilderness. But here was Chakwera giving his minister orders at a ‘developmental rally’.
On the ground only 16 300 metric tonnes of the 149 025 for the programme this year are on the ground, ready for distribution in Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Mangochi, Chitipa, Mzimba and Rumphi are in the first phase. They say these are the hard-to-reach areas. Yet, districts in the Southern Region like Thyolo that receive the rains first are not on the list. It is likely the farmer at Khwethemule will buy fertilisers at the wrong time.
And by the way, the President, just yesterday had another ‘developmental rally’ on Likoma Island where he also launched the Tithetse Cholera campaign. Never mind that, since he was also on a voyage of discovering the treasures on the island. You don’t have to count the heads of the government officials that accompanied the president there.
So, after all, President Chakwera is not just a flying president. He is also making sure to hold ‘developmental rallies’ across the country. He had one at Chikwawa Secondary School after launching the JKatunga-Maseya Cooperative Mega Farms. He has held one at Mpinganjira Football Ground in Mangochi, another one at Bawi in Ntcheu and yet another at Envuyeni in Mzimba, not mentioning the one at Tembwe in Mchinji.
So apart from being a flying President, Chakwera is already on a campaign trail. My worry, and yours Dear Diary, is that these campaign rallies masquerading as ‘developmental rallies’ are financed by you and me. So unfair for the president of Chipani cha Pfuko who has no finger near the government coffers to finance these ‘developmental rallies’.