5/28/2015

Not surprising, Blatter has African supporters

I just read a part. Then I gave up.

At once, it sounded like a joke. Most of the comments. At another, the comments felt unreal.

The BBC Africa page appeared on my Timeline. Not by accident. It was by design. I liked that page. Liked it to stay abreast with the events in Africa and abroad. Liked it because even if you cannot trust yourself, you can trust the BBC. I remembered one strikingly beautiful line I heard from the Malawian writer, Shemu Joya, that it will be the BBC that will announce the end of the world.

So, to not be left alone while everyone has been raptured, I liked the BBC page.

Not long ago, I started regretting. The comments on the page fuelled depression. The comments provoked exasperation. But, I forgave. I have read worse comments on Telegraph from predictably non-Africans. I have read worse comments on Time magazine. I have read worse comments anywhere. The insane have been unleashed on social media and nobody should be shocked by the comments they read; at least not when you do not know the people.

Today, the BBC posted on the FIFA scandal. It brought the opinions of the world whoevers on its page. I was amused, almost bemused, by Putin's comments. All he sees is the hand of the US crashing heavily on FIFA as a revenge. Putin sees no corruption. But, he is just Putin.

No, he is not just Putin.

He is an opinion leader. In Africa. Of all places.

Putin's comments have got a resounding applause. Among Africa's social commentators on the BBC Africa page. They do not just believe him but they agree with him word by word of what he says. They actually feel Putin is speaking their language. Language of the truth.

To them, Blatter and his cronies are victims of a scheme. A scheme targeted at FIFA to revenge for snubbing the US from hosting the World Cup.

I may not be sure of the length of corruption that Blatter has presided over but my first feeling each time I hear of Blatter is one of indignation.

I always wonder why Blatter feels he should be the FIFA life President. I always wonder why competitors to the throne pull out at the last minute under the most strangest of circumstances. I am not saying apart from presiding over corruption Blatter presides over a syndicate of mafias that intimidate any closest competitor. I would say that in private. Not in public such as this.

Here, in public, I just want to wonder aloud what benefits are there for the FIFA 'owner' to never imagine a life outside FIFA. I am just wondering why Blatter thinks without him football in the world will tumble face flat and be wiped off the face of the earth. I am just wondering why Blatter feels he is the axis of football in the world and that without him the football world will stop spinning.

Certainly, somehow, Blatter reflects the philosophy of politicians. Mostly African politicians. People who cannot leave their seats so another takes over. To them, they are the only people with a vision. No matter how blurred it gets to get with years falling over their existence.

A simple understanding of the philosophy that drives such leaders, however, is that they are sitting on a mound of corrupt loot. Dislodging them shall not only mean an end to their reign of thievery and thuggery but as well an exposition that might lead them to jail. I am using might because, in Africa, not many will be jailed. They will be tracked for a few days, or months, or years, just so the new regime can properly behold the title of 'new and clean politics' and eventually secure donor aid but soon after they will become bedfellows with the new regime.

The new regime, apparently, goes back to the same thief and ask how to loot and where to stack the loot. That is the sad reality.

Worse still, these leaders once unwillingly dethroned will always have supporters. These are not imported mercenary supporters. They are the local people whom this person has been fleecing with abandon. They will not think that the money was their taxes. They will not think that the money was meant for developmental works for them. They will cheer the dislodged despot to their death. At each of his court appearance, they will be there. They will fault the arresting authorities.

This, therefore, does not make me surprised when I discover that on the BBC Africa page the majority are defending Blatter. They are used. They always defend corruption. With the revelations, suspected for a long time, that Blatter has been presiding over a body of corrupt kleptomaniacs, you can bet in Africa his reputation has soared.

If he can decide to stand as a President for any country, it is most likely he will win. His corruption record is enviable. By African standards.

5/17/2015

A nation on its knees, morally

There was a country. There was a Malawi.

To pass such an indictment on a population of 16 million plus people, to address them in the past, is one of the least experiences a person like me cherish in. But, there are events that happen. These events shock and shake you. They make you question anything. And everything. Sometimes, they push you to the extreme: you deny the presence of reality.

It is a sad place to be in. A dangerous seat to sit in. To have to self-anoint oneself as a judge over a people smacks of hypocrisy. Sadly, it is the place I am in. It is the place I have chosen to be in, this moment.

Today, I thought of writing a eulogy to the versatile writer and journalist who surrendered his ghost on one of the roads in Malawi: Ralph Tenthani.

I wanted to write an eulogy. To deny the brilliant argument made by my friend, Wana Kalua, that Tenthani was the only person worthy to write his own eulogy. Owing to his brilliant skills at writing. I wanted to. Until Beaton wrote. I gave up. Beaton has snatched the words out of me.

Even if I am to write from the experience of having had to work under Tenthani at The Big Issue or working with Tenthani at Blantyre Newspapers Limited, I would just sound like an echo of a gong sounded in the ancient past. Reverberating in the future. A failed copy of Beaton's sentiments.

So, I shelved the idea. I am not going to write about Tenthani.

But...

Something has disturbed me in the death. It has made me question the kind of society we have become. That instead of mourning the dead, we are searching for a political opponent to blame in a death.

In Malawi, people have stopped dying. I mean, they are dying but not just dying. There is always somebody behind that death. If, scientifically, you cannot point at somebody poisoning or hiring assassins to shoot somebody then, be assured, we will find what is called a cultural excuse.

This, the cultural excuse, is something you cannot validate. It is an area loaded with fear, rumours, lies and superstitions. Witch-hinting. Sadly, a majority are taken away and made to debate these. An example is me: I have to write this to argue on speculations and conjectures of superstition just because it is in the public domain. Denying it is denying the current Malawian reality.

Not long ago, Malawi minister of information made remarks that have divided the public opinion. The gravity of those remarks, the legal penalties that have suddenly been attached to them, make me shudder to freely comment on this space. The short and short of it, however, is that he alleged that the former President Bingu wa Mutharika's death was not natural. He alleged somebody whose name abbreviates as JB killed the President. The issue has sparked such a debate that one would think it centers around the question of life and death.

In Malawi, a country resting on fear and superstitions hiding behind religion and culture, the minister sparked a fire.

His remarks, no matter how much they are being bleached, appear to have dented the reputation of an opposition political party. Or its leader. Now, the other party is up in arms.

As though they were looking for a loophole to attack, the other party have suddenly jumped on Tenthani's death to drum up support and discredit - in the same breath, almost.

Conspiracy theories have already started emerging how that accident which claimed one of the country's finest journalists, always holding DPP authority responsible, must not have been accident. I have seen the people peddling this theory. I have seen the kind of shirts they put on, the kind of glasses they are using to view this death and one thing has emerged: the colour that the disenfranchised party uses is the same one they like.

I know, we can just say, it is all politics.

But, who in death would want to be a 'politicised' entity?

I do not know about others but, for myself, I would not want to.

I was raised up in a society that valued people. It is a society which, jokes had it, would beatify a thug at his death. They would label him a saint who would never hurt a fly. Yet, deep down, the truth will be screaming the opposite.

Then, to talk of a dead person was to speak the good of him. Then a community joined hands, buried enmity, to celebrate a life going. Not anymore. 

Suddenly, with our love for politicians who have milked the country dry yet we love to clap hands for them, we have let our guard fall. Now, morality is a myth. It appears, in a blink, we have discovered nobody survives on morality and therefore it should take the fastest lane to perdition. It appears we have found a new glory, I would say folly, in celebrating the fall of another. Now, it appears, the death of Tenthani will soon become a practical joke.

I would not imagine the kind of pain we are willing to let his family go through as we show our political colours. Once campaign starts, I fear we will let them relive the painful moment they are living in now, everyday.

I would have said a lot. Have argued with all my might. But, I know, in the madness of politics it is insane to shout the opposite. Lest you be butchered.

After all, we know politicians are just politicians. It appears to be a politician one has to first give up on morals. That possibly explains why when we hear that our politicians have stolen from our taxes, we relax. And rush to their defense. It is as if we expect them to steal. Now, the whole country is stealing...

There has been disturbing news from Scotland, concerning their aid. The Cashgate scandal which saw the flight of donors, so politically referred to as development partners, appeared to have been a tip of the iceberg.

As we took to social media to accuse and charge our politicians, the locals on the ground were as well getting their share. Of a stolen loot. One disturbing case has been the one in which the locals got a loan to be used for farm inputs and instead used that money for buying irrelevant things. Wants, not needs.

Sadly, these locals instead of learning how to fish thought that it was better they use the bait given as a fish in itself. It is such a sad ordeal which one of my friends rightly claimed is the kind of robbery one does to their selves.

The shocking, and sad, story is that instead of buying agricultural inputs they bought electrical equipments - not for farming. For entertainment. Here, you will hardly see a hand of a politician. These are common people, like me, who have well mastered the art of stealing. I wonder if any people can sink so low. Soon, it appears, to define thievery and corruption one will just have to point at Malawi. Such a kind of immorality.

And, these are dots.

The situation is terrible, I fear. Somehow, we are on the highway to doom and nobody cares to check. The concept of multipartyism, and its twin: democracy, have been misunderstood amongst us.

With social media, for the average literate folk, he has a gun. He shoots. Carelessly.

Without social media, the other folk, is not any better. He is perpetuating the same despicable state he is in.With no conscience.

In our hurry to modernize, it appears, we are missing stages. Our nation, now, seems to be running out of anything but immorality.

We might debate. We might argue. All the hours we can have. But, something has snapped in us. That something used to hold us. Now, we are on a free fall!

5/14/2015

Flattering a dictator

Dictators ought to be flattered…unless you want death.

There are a few ‘unlesses’ when it comes to flattering dictators with most of them, however, centering around death. You have to flatter them, unless you want death or unless they are dead.

Today, 14 May, is a holiday in Malawi. Malawians today have been forced to stay at home; most of them for a reason they do not understand. Others, for a reason they are confused about. Yet some are mistaken to think it is for a good cause.

A struggling economy lost a productive day, today, to honour the life of a dictator: Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

For 31 years, Banda sat at the helm of Malawi he had turned into a personal estate: detaining, exiling and killing – people! Yet, today, the country saves a day on the calendar to celebrate him. On the false premise that Banda fought colonialism and brought independence to Malawi. 

It is such a mistaken attitude that, up to date, others call Banda with a title he erroneously awarded himself: father and founder of the  Malawi nation. 

Our history is warped. It is less followed. Before and during slavery, our history gets distorted. Colonialism comes in, the history gets lost in translation as well. Thereafter, dictatorship, no history we are told is accurate.

For the bit of dictatorship, however, there are other versions of history that have emerged. Contrary to the one that Banda and the system decided to sell Malawians. This other bit of history dismisses the idealistic notion that Banda was the founder of the Malawi nation.

Kanyama Chiume, exiled by Banda, was one of the people that fought for the independence of Malawi. With others, Chiume led the path for the birth of what has come to be Malawi. If we are to talk of any father of the Malawi nation, there should be Chiume in there. After falling out with Banda, and exiled, he wrote a book. It does not flatter Banda’s dictatorship modern Malawi has come to worship. That is the other unless when it comes to flattering dictatorship…unless you are beyond its claws, you must flatter dictatorship.

Jack Mapanje, a writer, was imprisoned by Banda. His book, published years after Banda died, speaks not well of Banda’s dictatorship. It tells the story that modern Malawi is forcing us to forget. His tale seeks to represent a voice our consciousness as a country seeks to stifle, for nothing really if not just that the President who started this crusade of promoting Banda, Bingu wa Mutharika, was himself an autocrat doing his best to cut the cloak of his garment to fit in multiparty – albeit with less success.

Granted, the two tales are as well littered with traits of bias and therefore not the kind of Bible in the gospel against the good name of Banda, but what those tales hold for us is a mirror that reflects into the past that Kamuzu lived. The real Kamuzu, not this bleached version we encounter from old people nostalgic of what they call ‘good old days’.

From these accounts, we hardly encounter a man worthy of any praise – let alone a day reserved in his honour.

I have heard the proponents of a Kamuzu day. I have heard ‘Kamuzuists’ toss around arguments that Banda’s time Malawi was developed and, then, multiparty ruined everything. These rush to point at infrastructure Banda erected in 31 years and then ask us to point at anything that multiparty has done.

I refuse, mostly, to engage in such a comparison. I know the infrastructure Banda erected in 31 years. I am actually a beneficially of a part of it: my alma mater, Chancellor College, was erected in his tyrannical rule and since then it has metamorphosed into a forgotten museum with the first ‘democratic’ government of Bakili Muluzi littering it with a hostel.

But, in having to acknowledge one person obtaining a loan that is paid back by national resources as intelligent defeats me. It is normal, and natural, for one to do that. Banda was supposed to provide that for Malawi. Malawians deserved that. We owe him no kind words for doing what he had to do. We should owe him words of condemnation for letting him get away with murders, imprisonments and cruelty. For having imposed such a dictatorial hold on a people that they cannot think beyond him, we should hold him responsible.

The argument might be that the others, after him, borrowed but built nothing. They stole. Well, it makes sense – sort of. Just sort of. It is not as if Banda did not steal. It is not as if the person who came to Nyasaland almost owning nothing, if the testimonies by Chiume are anything to go by, died one of the richest in Africa means he was doing Malawians a service. No! He was doing the country a disservice while servicing his pockets. 

Trace his bank accounts, at the time of his death, and see if you will exonerate him among the rest in the pack that have come to represent the proverbial rats guarding over a pack of groundnuts.

Even among the others, I would argue, Banda does not really stand out as a development conscious individual. Banda, in my opinion, was much more concerned with securing his position than doing anything to Malawi. However, to find a justification for his power, he stumbled upon things which he kept reminding Malawians that it was him who had done it.

I have a problem with statistics. I know they can be, and are, manipulated to achieve goals. But even when it comes to statistics, Banda's days are not years of prosperity as per United Nations Development Programme rankings when compared to what we have today. Yet, today, we are told he developed the country and things were better in his time. A claim void of substantial evidence. 

In comparing Banda with others after him, as well, we fall into a trap. We compare people operating under different contexts yet expecting them to achieve in equal measure.

For instance, the argument that Banda was better than Bingu wa Mutharika is not uncommon. They all say Bingu was close to Banda but Banda stands out. 

Banda presided over an estate, not a country. Under Banda, Malawi was a farm in which the people were chickens being surveyed by a farmer carrying a slaughter knife in his hands. All chickens had to obey lest the knife land on their small throat.

With no opposition, for about 25 years, it is strange that somebody expects Banda to have done nothing. This, I argue, is shallow for even if it were the Presidential underachiever of all times, Joyce Banda, blessed with the same privileges that Kamuzu had she as well could have left a mark.

Perhaps, as a country, we always search an excuse for staying away from work but - realistically speaking - some of these reasons are as lame as the people they are supposed to celebrate.

It is strange that while the conversation tips towards annoyance every time a report is released from North Korea of the dictator there flexing his muscles amongst Malawians on social media, the same people aim to hail the days of Kamuzu. The past that is the present North Korea then.

By the way, for writing this, in the days of Banda I would have been, at the very least, imprisoned. Without trial. Like Mapanje.      

5/13/2015

A tale of two African Generals

Something is falling apart, once again, in Burundi. Or, something seems to be falling apart in Burundi.

This morning, I posted on the video that has emerged of the protests in Burundi. It was, now it appears, a premonition.

The news, at this point, is that a coup has been declared in Burundi. Pierre Nkurunziza, who at the time of the coup was the President, is in Tanzania. It is said he went to meet with other African leaders to discuss a solution to the problem he has created in Burundi. Or, to be a little crude and patronising, to discuss the problem he is to Burundi.

Back at home. The ending has began. An army general, Godefroid Niyombareh, has declared him an illegal President. He has claimed that a committee has been set up to run the government.

If successful, Nkurunziza will go like Compaore. Once hailed. Now a memory. All for a little hangover of power.

However, it is too early to declare now. The world media is watching. And expecting. Praying that something happens. Waiting for Nkurunziza to strike. Rather, to fall. That is the news.

In the moment, from the pictures I have seen, Niyombareh is the hero. He is the General all countries need. Like Malawi's former army General, Henry Odillo, in 2013.

In that year, the tale is that Malawi's democracy was on the altar. The tale is that there was an administration so power hungry that they wanted to rape the constitution and install a private system. Not in sync with the spirit of the constitution. The tale is that, if not for one General  by the name Henry Odillo, Malawi would have disintegrated. In tiny and little fragments.

For his achievement, Odillo was honoured. The Malawi government gave him a high award of honour. The US government did the same. It inducted him in some International Hall of Fame for military officers. With a little tinge of regret, one would declare Odillo was the equivalent of Niyombareh. Only Odillo's heroic acts were done in private.

But that was until a few months ago...

The reports started emerging: Odillo was at the center of corruption. Operating under a cover of secrecy that has come to characterise the Malawi Defence Forces, the General signed cheques in nine figures for services not rendered. The money, in the end, had a way of coming back into his pockets. The allegations went further that the money as well found itself in the purse of the President who honoured him, Joyce Banda - now a fugitive of some sort.

At first, the reports were laughed off. It is inherent to bring a good man down with lies, at least in Malawi.

Then, this week, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Malawi moved on him. It appears Odillo has a mountain to climb if he is to redeem his image. The public opinion, so far, seems unflattering on his character. There is a debate, yes, but somehow the majority in my opinion feels Odillo has a case to answer.

The good man, now, has swapped seats. His arrest is not a cause of celebration of course but, so far, it is not a cause of worry. Most, almost, feel the law should take its course. Those who are barking, it is argued, are doing so because they know Odillo's arrest means theirs or that of their masters is imminent.

At this moment, taking a safe stand not to interfere with issues in court and eventually operating on the 'innocent until proven guilty' maxim, one can still say the mighty has fallen.

At the  fall of a mighty General in Malawi, another General is arising in Burundi. Poised to leave a mark and, maybe, get an induction in some hall of fame in the US.

These two African Generals have tales,  nay, a tale. Time, the savage, will pass an important indictment. Maybe the tales of these two will submerge in one. Maybe they will continue being shaming parallels. Maybe. Maybe. Perhaps. Perhaps.

Somehow, he did not drop that knife on her...

I have seen the video.

At first, anger. Moments - milliseconds actually - later, justification.

In a few seconds, he emerges. Within a short space, he is wiped out. The camera, of a phone most likely, focuses on other things: the commotion, the madness.

None of the journalists and the news sites so far has picked up that aspect. The angle they have chosen is the violence. Its entire humiliating act is unnerving but, as well, is commercial. News is business.

I am yet to see anybody focus on that 3 seconds as captured by the camera of an angry, even excited, protester. In the sparsely tarmacked road of Bujumbura, most likely.

First is the slap you notice. The screams of the frightened officer muted by an angry mob are the soundtrack. A woman in a grey uniform is surrounded. All the vengeance, the justified madness, is falling on her.

Yet as some resort to hands and fists to execute their judgement, one emerges with a knife. He appears poised to strike. A knife meant to scare is not carried in the fashion my Burundian brother sporting a white shirt and a grey (?) trousers with a red underwear carried his. That was meant to strike. And run deep. Close to the heart. Or at the center of the heart.

But, this is a commotion.

Somehow, my brother victimised by the system, does not get his way. He is blocked. A few milliseconds show him struggling, looking for a better spot to strike, yet in a fraction of some more milliseconds the shaky camera captures the woman, another victim of the system, lifted by her uniform shirt. She is being airlifted through the space of Bujumbura, most likely.

The knife, I am not sure she noticed it as the violence was being administered on her, has missed her flesh. Somehow, she has survived. In one piece.

Her skill in avoiding a fate with death, however, cannot be said of the more than 20 that have since died in Burundi in the protests that have rocked the country following the President's decision to contest for a third term which the constitution barred him before he bullied his way through the courts.

Sadly, the more than 20 have been dispatched to their maker by the people in uniform, like her who survived the death. Reports, extremely unconfirmed, said she was mobbed because she killed one of the protestors.

Pierre Nkurunziza, the Burundian President, was on BBC the day before. I saw him. I saw the still camera capture his face. His looks are deceptively religious. His manner of speech is deceptively kind. He has a soft voice. A generous tone.

He dismissed the protestors. He said they are just 1% of the population. Him, being a democrat, could not succumb to the wishes of a percentage while the remaining staggering 99% is behind him.

I know such talking. I have heard such talking. I know of leaders who challenged the world, defied their people, bought their own people to drive a wedge against them just to achieve ends. So, when Nkurunziza appeared in his cap across the camera that rested on his face, I believed him less. For me, I chose to go with the voice of the people. The one he cannot hear. The one he is silencing with his police. The ones who, kindly, saved that officer from the mob to let her go to her friend officers. To kill them again.

I have been in protests. I have had a season when I enjoyed protests. I know the resentment protestors have towards the police. I know how the police come to represent and signify terror and oppression. I know how it is the wet dream of every protestor to strike an officer. If there have been deaths in the protests, you can bet the protestors are always and constantly seeking a revenge.

But, in the video it is different.

It appears Burundi has rational people. Burundi has rational protestors. I may be wrong.

The protestors shield her as the camera captures the fear and death on her face. They hand her over to her fellow officers, the ones that have killed some of them and are willing to kill some more it appears. Others, of course, are less pleased and they want revenge. They want her. They want to overwhelm the police force. They want to revenge.

Nevertheless, the somehow sober ones overcome. She goes to her friends and the moment she is safe, they start shooting. Victims of the system.

In all this, Nkurunziza is safe. His family, most likely, is away. I doubt if he is even hearing the gun shoots. I am not sure he is concerned of the deaths. The face I saw on BBC was not of a person concerned. There was no remorse on that face. It was the face of a victor. The face of a man who is right and every other gospel proclaiming the opposite is wrong.

I did not see Blaise Compaore's face the final moments before he fell. I never had the luxury to see Hosni Mubarak's face before Egypt grew fangs on him. The final moments of Ben Ali were sheltered from me as Tunisia slipped through his claws.

I wish I saw their faces.

I hope Pierre Nkurunziza get to see the video and see the unity the people and the police are slowly forging. It appears they know the enemy. It appears they know the actual murderer.

I may be wrong in my reading of the video, I know, but at least I am sure of one thing: that knife was not dropped on that woman although Burundi might get Nkurunziza's knife - close to her chest.

5/07/2015

Three drafts later

At first, it was when the Malawian football player died. 

His death, widely attracting attention, was what spurred the thoughts.

Douglas Chirambo, for that was his name, died a pauper. His health failure was talked about on social media while the traditional media kept feeding us news of the fights going on in the club he had played for. In other words, his plight was the footnote in the debates of football administrators. You can doubt they even talked about him. You can be sure they never did.

The day he died, the tongues started wagging in the corridors of football power in Malawi. The day he was to have his body transferred to be laid to rest in his home village in the rural parts of Malawi was the day football administrators started talking about the plight of Malawian football players.

Before that, nothing. Silence.

It was enough the football players made them money. Enough they provided entertainment. Enough they, the administrators, were basking in glory.

Chirambo was not the first one. Thank the Malawian culture of believing not to record events and activities, a lot of players have died poor and forgotten yet their names shall not be remembered. Except when we are trying to celebrate the golden days of football, which were not golden really.

The day I heard of his death, I thought. Deep and hard.

I thought of all the police officers who have been killed in the line of duty. I thought of that musician, that other musician, the other musician as well, who died poor while broadcasters owed them royalties. I thought of the actor whose stage and radio skills mesmerized us yet when in the dusk of his life he was poor, alone and confused. Abandoned.

I wondered who was to blame. The system. Our economy. Or the characters.

The thoughts I had that time were aptly captured in the article Another death, still no remorse...

Then, May 1 came.

May 1 is the day that holds memories. Apparently, the month of May has mixed fortunes for me.

If I were to write a book on May, I would go superstitious. And, of course, it will not be a small book.

That day, however, I was focusing on May 1. 2013. The events of that day, with my family, we have less talked about them.

It is a page that is yet to be finished. Sometimes, you want to forget the events. Other times, you enjoy remembering them.

The time I logged into this blog, the title of the article was Reliving 1 May...

Now, came today.

I have, from a comfort of a distance, followed the United Kingdom elections. I had a chance to vote but then I procrastinated and did not vote. Nevertheless, with the mood you cannot just pretend you live under a rock and ignore everything.

I remembered going for voting, in Malawi. The environment was tense. The aura charged. The confusion could be felt in the sky that kept wavering around blue and grey and something. Something only an anxious Malawian can understand.

Reports, before I went for voting, were that in some centres there were no materials. The actions pointed to a flawed election. I vowed I would not vote until a friend encouraged me. I voted. Peter Mutharika. Now, Malawi President.

The night they announced the results I was at work. Away from the work station, at a musical show, but at work. The joys of being in the Arts and Entertainment of the Times Group.

After the results, we were afraid. We saw violence break out. The streets had been deserted hours before the announcement. At 4 the streets were empty despite that the results would come out most likely at 12. Everybody was afraid of the other. It was cold war. Nobody knew who would start the violence but everyone was sure there would be violence. Regardless of the winner.

The election had of course been irregular. Instead of a day for voting, it came to three. Instead of two days for results, it graduated into a week. Everything was upside down.

Now, today, I thought of that election. And the UK election. The differences. The expectations. The campaigning.

Then, I remembered in Burundi. The President wants to seek another term despite the complaints of the constitution, and the people. He has twisted the arms of the judiciary. They have allowed him to. But the people.

The people are stronger. They are pouring in the streets. Protesting. Dying. Others are fleeing. They say 40,000 have fled the last time I saw.

Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of Burundi, hardly cares about the deaths. The voice of the people. He has confirmed he is seeking a third term. Like Bakili Muluzi of Malawi. Like Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso. Like Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. Like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Like Sam Nujoma of Namibia. Like Paul Biya of Cameroon. Like, anyway, the other African President's this list must have forgotten.

I wanted to write an article titled The problem, Africa, is you and me...


Now, three drafts later, this is what I have to show. 

Like a poor Malawian player at point of death, I have less to show but one article. Like the me arrested on May 1, my thoughts have been swamped and condensed into one. Like the African President thinking three is one.