Monday, 25 February 2013

Wati@50: Chihoro Tiny Loud Village

Not many villages in Malawi can write my story. I truly thank God that he decided that I should be born of Chihoro village. God has favoured and blessed us in so many ways including making me reach 50 YEARS today.

Let me tell you my story. Thanks to my Dad, who has managed to compile and recorded our family tree. I can only get as far as back as GURAMPHANGWE. He was my Great Great Great Grandfather a couple of generations ago. Guramphangwe came from Kasenga village near Thochi in Rumphi district. He had two wives: Nyamweso and Nyabonda Nyambale Nyausisya from Ngwelu. The simplified family tree is above:

My great grandfather, Peter Katimu Mgonera had 10 Children and 49 grandchildren. When Dr Robert Laws moved Livingstonia mission from Bandawe to Khondowe, his faithful servant was a Tonga man from Dwambazi called Ulaya Chirwa (my maternal great-grandfather, who was considered royal). My grandfather, William Chiswakhata was brave enough and married the daughter of Ulaya Chirwa, Kamana Esther Kanthunkhako. The children were Mjura; Ian Orison (Boma), Austin Chuma, Peter, Rumbani, Zero and Sekanayo.

I follow the Guramphangwe-Mjura-Nkhanyankhanya–Mgonera- Chiswakhata-Mjura path. I am the son of Mjura and my mother Donas Msichili. The Msichili clan originally from Chamaima village in Nkhata Bay, Malawi settled in Twapia, Ndola Zambia where my mum was born and raised. I have a large family in Zambia which I consider home (not second home).

To cut the long story short, this Chihoro family tree has roots and branches in all the districts in Malawi and beyond. The Chihoro clan has married and been married by all the known and unknown tribes in Malawi. One of the descendants of Chihoro was even known as MuChewa Mchawe!

The descendants of this tiny but loud Chihoro village are scattered all over the world as Pastors, Entrepreneurs, farmers, Doctors, Lawyers, Economists, Accountants, Mechanics, Drunkards, Unemployed, Uneducated, Politicians, Bankers, Journalists, Engineers, Agriculturalists, subsistence farmers etc. We basically have been privileged and blessed to be involved in all facets of the society.

We were also privileged that God in his wisdom led Dr Robert Laws to open the Livingstonia mission at Khondowe. I was thus born with a “silver spoon” – so to speak as we have always had electricity and piped water in our village since I was born. I learnt “English” table manners at the dining table of my grand-parents. My grand- mother, (Nyaluwanga) who called me “Bimbizali” baked the most wonderful and delicious scones.

As I celebrate Wati@50, I want to thank God for his mercies and countless blessings. I thank him for giving me life; success in life, prayerful parents, supportive family, wonderful wife, bubbly bundles of joy (children), caring friends and a loud and loving Chihoro clan and its Associate of over 200 known Uncles, Aunties, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces, grandchildren.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Contract with Malawians: A reflection

Honouring Contracts and enforcement is lacking across the breadth of the Malawi society. We have not respect for contracts. It starts from Plot No. 1 where President after President fails to honour their side of the contract. They sign a contract for 5 years to defend the constitution and to be a servant of Malawians. Within days of signing the contract all hell breaks loose. A similar pattern is adopted by Ministers, Members of Parliament, Judiciary, public servants and the whole society including "themu-themus" (house workers) follow the leaders in dishonouring their side of the contracts. Shall we call it "organised chaos" to quote one Goli Mwanza? Maybe as citizens we have to take the lead and show how we can honour our side of the contract. Now that there is some wage adjustment in the civil service, let the civil servants honour their side of the contract. Deliver and increase your productivity. Malawi public sector productivity is one of the lowest in the world. Yes I don't have scientific evidence but from education results, health delivery and public services, we surely must be competing at the bottom. Here is the deal, come Election Day, those that don't honour their side of the contract, should be booted out. The challenge is that not all consumers are civil servants. What about the millions that are not part of the famous 60 percent and thus continue to struggle with everyday life? We can only assume that since there is a little bit more money in hands of civil servants, they will be able to spend more and thus give the economy a stimulant. We can assume that the so called Economic Recovery Plan will take care of the rest and get us back on track. Of course the reality is that this is plain psychological. Malawi's economy is in bad shape and there is "organised chaos" among those that are trying to implement the Economic Recovery Plan. They have a contract with Malawians, but they don't intend to honour that contract because simply it is not in their nature and they don't care