Monday, March 2, 2009

My Friends From the North

This is a sensitive topic. But we have to talk about it, anyway, especially because I bring good news. This is about the northern region of Malawi.

I have many friends from the North: Muhlabase Mughogho, James and Ephraim Nyondo, Matthews Mtumbuka, Mthusani Zungu, Albert Harawa, Khumbo and Ellen Banda, Wanangwa and Wezi Kumwenda, Rabecca Kaonga, Chikumbusyo Kaonga, Dr Gift Banda, Dr Sam Kondwani, Dr Lughano Kalongolera, Dr Wanangwa Mkandawire, Willings Botha, Ucizi Mughogho, Emmanuel Ngwira, Damazio Mfune, Chomora Mikeka Mkandawire. It is a long list.

They are aged between 25 and 35. One thing we share in common is that we belong to a generation that is insensitive to regions, districts and tribes. It is a generation that looks at merit, not place which is tribal and religious. This is a real example of great news.

I come with good news from bad news. The Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP attacked President Bingu wa Mutharika for picking Joyce Banda of Zomba as running mate. The Synod wanted a running mate from the North, meaning the Synod values place more than merit.

I have been in touch with my generation on Joyce Banda and they have not grumbled. My generation does not care that Mutharika and Banda are from the South just as we don’t mind that Sports Minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Fam president Walter Nyamirandu, Fam CEO Charles Nyirenda, Fam administrative officer Sugzo Nyirenda and Flames coach Kinnah Phiri are from the North.

Whether they hold their meetings in Tumbuka or Tonga, my generation does not care. All we care is that they have delivered and continue to do so. They have turned the Flames from perpetual losers to winners. They are in their positions on merit, not based on place.

The leaders of the Livingstonia Synod belong to a generation that minds tribal boundaries. We need to understand this historically. Theirs is a generation that employs people on tribal and regional lines, not merit.

Now young CEOs are employing people from any region so long they are qualified. There is a positive trend going on and this is good news for Malawi. The best news is that there are people above 40 who are part of my generation in terms of ideas. So my generation is not defined by age, but ideas.

We are moving to a tribeless state, a country in which Malawi will be first. It takes time, of course, but we are going there and it is not a smooth journey, but still we are moving.

History offers hope. In the 1960s, people were arguing over whether black and white children should be going to the same schools in the US, whether African Americans and White Americans could jump into one bus or live in one area.

What was unthought-of 60 years ago, is reality today. The world can change. Things can change. It will not take us long before this country forgets regions and tribes. It is happening. The more our children go to school, the more they look at merit than regions.

In less that 20 years Malawi will host one of two great events. There is now a high likelihood that a woman may become President of Malawi. There is also a great likelihood that a person from the North will rule this country.

A star shall rise from the North and this and the coming generation—the generation of Livingstonia Synod leaders will be gone in terms of power and influence but will witness such changes—will agree that the best candidate is the one from the North.

We shall not ask where he or she comes from. We shall ask what he or she can do for Malawi. It is a change no one can think of now. But remember that not long ago, it was impossible for an African American to contest in the US, even just to think about this happening.

My plain view is that I don’t know who this President will be. May be Matthews Mtumbuka, perhaps Muhlabase Mughogho, or could be Debora Chipofya, James Nyondo. Or someone I don’t know. What I do know is that we are moving to social prosperity.

1 comment:

Faustin said...

Loved the piece! I have always wondered why 13.5 million people should even bother thinking regions? Have we no shame? Do we even realise that Malawi is even less populated than some cities in Africa? Nde kumpoto mwakuti mwakuti nkhani yake iti? The synod should not divide aMalawi ayi. We know how much churches can influence people (negatively at times!) Petty issues for the whole synod!