Where went the federation noise?

I wanted it to read: 'where went the federation nonsense?'

But, sometimes, I am reminded of the values I was imparted. At the same time, in attempting to accommodate even the proponents of the nonsense, I have settled for a neutral and almost respectful word: noise. That is only in the heading.

I once posted on Facebook, when the nonsense was confusing, that the discussion of 'federation' and 'secession' or anything of such sort was just nonsense. I laughed at all those who were carried away by the insanity of the mover of the motion and I told them they were all partakers in a feast of insanity where they were all laughing at one man's joke which was nothing beyond his delusion. It was rude, you may argue, but it was honest as well.

Now, as you can see, after a dose of reality all the deluded have shut up and are back into engaging in a public discourse of the usual stuff of 'poorest country on earth' or 'new marriage bill'.

Well, welcome to the world of reality. These are the issues that we need to discuss; not that they will benefit our country anything but because we sometimes find a common ground here and stop discussing the vanities of our tribes which have brought no gain nor loss on us.

As I said in yet another post on the same Facebook platform, the issue of federation or secession is not talked about from the comfort of one's bed with one punching away keys on a smartphone to belch his ideas on Facebook, at least not in Africa.

Read your books, or online sources, and see how in some places raged the fire of secession or its cousin, federation, and how the authorities were engaged.

By the way, they were not always successful and chances of Mecca merging with Vatican are higher than you getting even a chance to be heard on the nonsense you stopped after discovering its vanity.

Once again, where went the federation nonsense?

I know most of you will choose to react to the tone, not the reality that this post has carried. Nevertheless, next time somebody brings up this issue do not get carried away. It will die a natural death as it has always done.


We need a new law on marriage, of course

Which people were involved in the drafting of Malawi’s new marriage bill?

Perhaps that is a wrong question; it should read ‘what are the motives of the new marriage bill’?
I have read the snippets of the bill, they sound not appealing except on the divorce part and they are only appealing if I will have the misfortune of getting married to an obscenely rich but cruel woman.

Anyway, perhaps I should just indicate that they are appealing if I get married to a rich woman who is not even cruel. The grounds of divorce will be fabricated or provoked. I will just make sure that the end result is a smiling young man all the way to the bank.

Activists are clenching their fists, thumping the air, attempting to convince – if not to confuse – all of us that the bill is the next good thing that ever happened to Malawi.

But, we know how to read and the more we are reading, the more we are seeing the nakedness of the bill. That bill is vulnerable, and wanting. I doubt a sane activist would vouch for that except of course if his activism is for discrimination.

So, now, let us stop this blackmail of ‘the bill protects children from exploitation’. For now, I challenge, it never does. It is an illusion of protection. A farce. Serious child activists, who know the reality on the ground, will laugh at such a damning statement.

If you leave parents to consent (read: marry off) their young ones as long as they are 15, what does that do?

I have been to areas where marrying off young ones is practised. It is often referred to with the same clout of ‘parental consent’. Parents, and the community, pressurise young ones into marrying and when it happens they claim they just consented.

So, ride off from your horse of vanity, stop thumping the air, shut up before the world media microphones and face the reality: ‘you have left the marriage age at 15 – not 18!’

If, a man with money, coaxes a young girl’s parents to marry their 15 year old daughter all you civil society mis-leaders advocating for the assenting of this unbaked bill will be whiling your time away by the resorts of Mangochi, your children tucked safe in Private Boarding schools, while the law leaves that young girl vulnerable.

Stop the hypocrisy, that your bill needs fine-tuning. There is no need to rush. It has theoretically raised the marriage age while technically leaving it lower as it were.

Now, I have heard another disgruntled school of thought from the male side arguing that the bill was drafted by an angry feminist aiming to get even at an ex-husband. 

It is an interesting argument, if you only imagine it. So, you imagine an angry feminist (insert character in your imagination), looking at a photo of a previous marriage that fell and crumbled. Then, she starts sobbing. Angry, she goes and starts punching lines on her typewriter (not a laptop! Nobody has seen any raw form of that bill but the makers) and then calls her frustrations a bill.

Well, that was just an imagination. The truth is, it was some rapist actually who drafted some of the lines in the bill.

Hear this conceptualisation of marital rape:

‘A husband will commit the offense of rape if he is on separation from her wife and has sexual intercourse with her without her consent.’
Now, is that not nonsense? 

Let me refresh your memories a little: not long ago some famous woman was in court arguing she only interested her husband when she was menstruating. Did she enjoy the sex? Well, the court did not even ask her such an obvious question. Did she consent to it? You can guess the answer and if it stretches outside the letters ‘NO’ we will get afraid, very afraid.

Is there any other way of calling what the husband was doing? Use ‘cruelty’ if you are a little kinder but the lawyer must be saying it is ‘marital rape’.

However, under the Parliament-passed bill that is not marital rape. It is marital rape only if the two are separated and it is without consent of course. If it is without consent but the two are not separated then it is just some ‘rough sex’ I guess.

Have we degenerated to that level of disrespecting our spouses? I would not want to be a part to such madness.

Are the disabled people a part of Malawi and need to be embraced as they are? If you ask the activist he will shout a loud ‘yes’ yet at the same time he is advocating for a bill that just falls short of saying: ‘stay single the moment you discover you are disabled; some of you we do not want your polluted lineage’.

If you are impotent, the bill advocates, you should be divorced. The assumption? Probably that impotency is akin to laziness and should be punished for it. Wherever went the saying that ‘children are a gift’?

I can bet, liars and charlatans hiding under the false title of Prophets will have a luxurious business milking the impotent by promising them some ‘holy water’ and such other nonsense.

Whereas the paradigm in the world is shifting to be a little kinder on mental illness, Malawi has no time for that. So, the new law empowers a partner to divorce the other on grounds of mental illness – any kind, violent or non-violent.

If you take your meds, manage yourself, your spouse still can decide that they want a divorce and – for no reason than your mental illness – the courts will annul that marriage without second thought. Probably we need to change our calendars and let them record 100 BC. That is where we belong, with this thinking.

Even if you get away for being potent, mentally sound even though your family members have noticed the signs of mental disturbance only you haven’t been diagnosed, you should as well make sure your blood is clean.

If you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection, the bill that your activists are trying to assure you that you need or you will die the next minute advocates, you should be divorced. You want to guess what the drafters had in mind? There is no prize for guessing.

At a time the debate on HIV/AIDS is that we should not fear, not discriminate and show love, a new law is being championed that will make discrimination legal. Do we really need a place in the modern world, to do what?

Have you read the Bible, the Christian point of view of things, or the Quran, the Muslims perspective of morality?

See what they say? Marriage is between a man and woman. The line is there as well in the new Bible, er bill so it is called. So, if you love a person of the same sex and you are Malawian, your country does not want you, under its laws you have to be jailed, under its proposed new law you have no right to marry.

The Bible again, what does it say on adultery? There is a punishment that follows it. The bill as well has a punishment: 5 years imprisonment and MK100,000 fine. It is there in the Sharia as well, right?

Suddenly, despite fathers defiling their daughters, police and robbers fighting for space to milk off tax-paying citizens, Presidents plundering our taxes for personal benefit, our daily activities always having an element of gossip and envy, despite all that we have went back to the maxim of ‘we are a God fearing nation’. Our laws are now being influenced by religion.

Am I advocating for infidelity? No! But, if I marry, may she stay faithful to me because she loves me and not because she is afraid of jail and a fine. This, by the way, just cannot be implemented. It will just be used for victimising and blackmailing. Try it for a week and see if half of the population will not be rotting in Prison, or even all of the sexually active age being there.

What is marriage?

The new bill has a funny definition, funny definitions actually. Any sexual relationship is marriage, it says for one. One can only forgive the drafters if they were high on something when coming up with this clause.

How many married people will we have in Malawi under this impossible generalisation? But, I know this line, it comes from the holy books of the religious. I wonder why we should impose the same on George Thindwa and those of his ilk. It is just so wrong. 

By the way, you can get married even without your consent. Yes, if you stay in a relationship for any second beyond five years, you are married under the bill if the President decides to assent it into law. It must be laughable really that the government can impose limits on how long should people be in a relationship.

And, the community can tell you that you are married as long as they see a presence of marriage (whatever marriage is) between the two of you.

We have a million problems and child marriage is one of them, infidelity might be another (depending on your angle of viewing issues) and people staying longer in relationships than you think it is necessary (depending on how naïve you are) might as well be another but certainly we can do better than the current nonsense masquerading as a bill.

So, yea, we need a new bill on marriage, family relations and divorce. But, it should not be this one that addresses the frustrations of a few, leaving out others.

As a footnote, what do those people we call Members of Parliament doing in the August house, just collecting allowances?


I, personally, do not fault MUMA Awards organisers

I write this because I love music. Malawian music.

If MUMA is yet to be in the news for wrong reasons; well, you can expect them to be soon. Have you seen their nominations, most of them? It is the same old jazz. The same thing of saying 'vote for the latest best song' and on the options you have four tracks released in 1990 and one really 'latest' one, released in 1999.

But, that is Musicians Association of Malawi for you - and their awards. Somehow, I think we are safer when we call them rewards.

Musicians Association of Malawi, or to be politically correct: Musicians Union of Malawi, is rewarding the people it likes and, to make the process legitimate or appearing so, it is soliciting votes from a confused few to endorse one of the options which, realistically speaking, are no options.

There certainly is no logic in asking me to select the Capital City of Malawi from the options of Karonga, Phalombe and Ntchisi. There is no answer and, sadly, in some of the categories that MUMA through is rewards is asking noble people to choose from there is no answer as well.

Whom does one choose there?

But, I do not fault MUMA or any of the organisers. At least, not me.

I got their e-mail. They were asking for my submission of nominations for the categories they have listed. Certainly, having sat on the entertainment and arts desk of the Times Group I had to have some knowledge. And, knowledge I had. The will I lacked.

I said I never had the time and let the buck pass. I asked a friend, on the ground, to assist me with it.

"You can leave the other areas and I will do them or ask others as well to assist," I instructed, hoping to get a fair view as well from different people instead of posting just mine.

Up to date, he is still filling it in. You would think I was asking him to copy the Bible by hand but nay, it was just putting in names and titles into some blank spaces.

End result? I submitted nothing. I let down MUMA. I contributed to their mediocre options. I am as guilty as whoever came with those rewards.

Am I the only one? Maybe yes, maybe no.

If I am the only one then the nominations show something about us. They fault our collective reasoning and laugh in our face when we claim to know and understand Malawi music and musicians. For, if at our best we can do that, then what can we do at our worst? We might start having Don Williams as one of our options in some category of 'Best Malawian Female Vocalist - Reggae'.

Thank heavens, we are not yet at our worst.

If I am not the only one though who saw the MUMA request and, like a request of a scammer, threw it into the dustbin then collectively we are guilty as well. The reflection of the ideas are ours. We stayed quiet and allowed MUMA to transgress the face of music with such impunity.

He was right, him who said bad leaders are voted into power by those who choose not to vote. Do you now see why some of us think you should hold your peace, stop pedaling on a moral high, and stop accusing our choices of May 20, 2014 if you never voted?

Like me who cannot fault MUMA, you should not fault us who voted even though the choice was something akin to that which MUMA is presenting before us.

MUMA, you represent our philosophy. You are us!

*If you know and follow Malawi Music, find the list on https://www.facebook.com/mumaawards/posts/682080695247934 and disagree with my views.