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2014 and thinking outside the box, why the Youth are the biggest losers despite technological advances

Atupele MuluziThis week I promised a closer scrutiny of the three youthful Presidential ticket candidates and how they meet or fail to meet the aspirations of this generation. What I will never say is if at all they fit the cap. But in the many discourses that I participate within seven days preceding this write up, something interesting happened. WhatsApp, a sms free application was being bought off for USD16 billion by Facebook. These two initiatives represent young people thinking outside the box.

 

It is the story of WhatsApp Co-Founders, both rejected by Facebook years ago that I found stimulating enough as a challenge to our young generation. Sometime back I wrote how the Youth were the biggest losers despite engineering most of the Arab spring revolutions. After each revolution, the old guard were quickly recognized as representatives of the people and not the youth who fought the cause. That is the same reason why the Youth today are demanding the resignation of Libyan Parliament, brought down the new Tunisian Government and in Egypt the turmoil still goes on.

In the Valley, a Genius Rests: Remembering Raphael Kinn L Tenthani

Reporters laying flowersToday, Tuesday 19th May 2015, Raphael Tenthani was supposed to be landing at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, here in Gaborone, Botswana. He was coming to attend a stakeholders meeting of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which is going to run from tomorrow 20th to 21st May at the Gaborone Sun Hotel. I was going to welcome Ralph at the airport, and he was going to bring me the latest Malawian newspapers and the current issue of my favourite Malawian magazine, The Lamp.

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Madonna: The Malawi Cover-up

Madonna school locationNew information has emerged about how Madonna’s handlers covered-up how the Kabbalah International Center used poor Malawian children as a fundraising tool, mismanaged their funds and shifted blame on the managers of the failed school project

Phillippe Van Den Bossche was Executive Director ofRaising Malawi, Madonna’s charity and Dr Anjimile Oponyo was the head of the planned Academy for Girls. They both were  accused of malfeasance in a report done by Trevor Neilson’s Global Philanthropy Group

But as I find out, it was all lies perpetrated by Neilson’s report to shift blame to helpless Malawians and distance Madonna and the Kabbalah Centre from the Malawi blow-up.

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In defense of Malawian languages: The case for multilingualism in our schools

Dr Steve SharraThanks to students majoring in Education at the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, the Ministry of Education’s decision for English to be the language of instruction starting from Standard One has become a national debate. I would like to congratulate the students for their active participation in a matter of national significance.

2015 Easter Reflection: Ntata – the height of sour grapes or Saul of Tarsus incarnate?

Malcolm XThe second coming of Ntata:

Z Allan Ntata’s brand of fiery activism has taken just about everyone by surprise. Ntata, everyone agrees, is a man on a mission. Whatever his mission is; he is focussed, motivated and probably due to his profession – he does pick his words carefully – for maximum effect.

Hats off to Ntata, this cannot be said of many of our over-rated and self-acclaimed turn-coat ‘activists’.

The fact that he rubbed shoulders with powers that were, is in full evidence.

This partially explains why he has, on his fingertips, an inexhaustible arsenal of inside-out knowledge of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP); its perking order; who does whom; its dirty linen and what sort of detergent could disinfect the filthy stinking linen.

His arguments and of late, theories, are supported by precedents in Malawi’s political history. One is able to relate to the issue raised, think about it, and resolve to agree or to disagree.

Having said all this, I want to agree with his critics, the esteemed Muckraker included, that Z Allan Ntata has, this far, not told us anything new.

This far, Ntata has been talking mostly sense that should be common to his intended audience, but sadly for Malawi, this seems not to be the case.

Save for the redundancy of the issues at hand, I am yet to find fault with the content, thrust and delivery of Ntata’s revelations, theories, lines of thought and free advice for his late boss’s kid brother and to Malawians at large.

Now, having (myself) just reiterated the obvious, what is the point of this write-up? And how does Easter begin to feature in this chronicle of worldly goings-on?

Ladies and gentlemen, bear with me. This is where I am now getting to.

The feedback, rebuttals, disguised and blatant neo-slanders that follow Z Allan Ntata’s bombardments, are what I have and am still, finding very fascinating.

Contrary to the aims of Ntata’s detractors, who should at any rate be busy running government (a very serious business); their insults are turning Z Allan Ntata into a celebrity of sorts; and believe you me, Malawians love celebrities.

Ntata is – thanks to those who would bring him down – evolving from a mere social media operator to a present day ‘Robin Hood’; loved and loathed with equal intensity, depending on the side of the fence one is standing.

Once can safely say: the best of Ntata is yet to come and in the shoes of his cynics, I would be worried.

Why?

Because, if there are any skeletons in a cupboard somewhere, I can bet Ntata has keys to that cupboard.

If the keys are locked away in a vault, I can hazard a bet that Ntata will figure out the combination to unlock that vault, will get the keys and he will spill the beans for public consumption. The question is: in this scenario, who will have the last laugh?

A scary thought this is, for anyone, big or small, old or young, that Ntata may decide to dry-clean.

 

Triangle of perspectives on Ntata:


For and againstFor every action, there is a reaction. In keeping with this tenet, Ntata’s controversial viewpoints on this graffiti-drawing government have not gone unnoticed.

After all, if mangoes beget mangoes, and goats beget goats; controversy should beget more controversy. As a result, Ntata’s second coming is dividing opinion inside and outside his beloved DPP.

He has given birth to at least three schools of thought, hence the flurry of counter-articles to mitigate the damage that Ntata is causing.

There is, in one school, his former buddies; most of them his own recruits, who he used to fondly refer to as to “DPP cadets”.

This lot throws anything, as long as it stinks, at him. The more hard-hitting his salvo is, the more vindictive the name-calling he gets.

Sons and daughters of tit-for-tat politics have now come of age, and woe unto Ntata who recruited and mentored them! Reminds one of the tale of what goes around…..

Opposite and divergent to this lot, are liberals. Rather than shoot the messenger, liberals concentrate on Ntata’s volleys: the depth, veracity and logic therein or lack thereof.

The fact that State House and State dis-information machinery has yet to give factual and logical rebuttals to the substance of Z Allan Ntata’s barrages, vindicates both Ntata, free-thinkers and today’s sceptical youths.

Denialdenial For liberal thinking Malawians, as long as Ntata serves the truth and common sense, nothing else matters and anything said against him is deemed as denial. And this lends weight to the gospel according to “Sir” Ntata, where the “D” in DPP stands for Denial.

Straddling the fence, still undecided, is the third group, comprising those who agree that Z Allan Ntata Esq. is saying the truth, but they are asking:

“Why now?”

 

Ladies and gentlemen, go grab your cup of coffee; we will tackle this question in the next session after the break.

 

Sour grapes – Ntata’s main course?

 

Fox and grapesIn an old fable by Aesop, a hungry fox saw a bunch of juicy grapes hanging from a vine.
After spending the better part of the day jumping and using all tricks in the book to try and reach the grapes, the moment of truth dawned on the fox. He realised, with much sorrow, that there was no way it would reach, let alone consume, the juicy grapes.

The fox, still under the vine, dedicated a moment of silence to this truth and accepted that the grapes were inaccessible.

He did not however, just walk away.

He gave the grapes one last longing gaze, scribbled: “I, the fox, was here” and with immense effort, tore his eyes away from the salacious grapes and started off.

As he was walking away, the fox dedicated his energy and effort to convincing himself that he did not, in fact, want grapes because:

They are probably sour.
My question for Mr Fox is:

Why then did you sweat, prance and jump for the ‘sour’ grapes? And just when did you realize that they are sour?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the case that the State has made against Z Allan Ntata.

 

The State, Sour Grapes vs. Z Allan Ntata:

In the least, I was expecting that the government’s response to Ntata’s political assaults to include, first, information and proof that Ntata – contrary to his claims – is unemployed and desperate for a job, and a post is APM’s government. I am not convinced that Ntata is just dying to be a hand-clapper again.

In the absence of proof that Ntata is a desperado out to seek attention and an opportunity to lick ass; the court of public opinion cannot find Ntata guilty of sour grapes. No ways ladies and gentlemen.

The burden of proof lies with the State, and not Z Allan Ntata who was, if anything, a mere pawn in the anecdote of May 20, 2014 just he like he was on “Mid night 6″. With respect to “frustration”, Ntata says he is indeed frustrated BUT not on a personal level.

His frustration is the frustration shared by all open-minded Malawians that Malawi, instead of moving forward, is retreating towards Noah’s Arch. And hence Ntata has decided that he will rise above politics, and be a lone voice crying out wilderness; theorizing and predicting what he sees as the battle of Armagedeon currently in play in the corridors of power in Malawi where, according to him, a whole president has now been reduced to a puppet.

Can a leopard change its spots?

A story is told of Saul of Tarsus. Saul hated Christians and Christianity so much that he dedicated his life, ingenuity and energy in capturing and bringing Christians to public trial and execution.

FoxTradition (and even the Bible) has it, that Saul was present when the first Christian martyr (named Stephen) was killed by an angry mob.

Reportedly, after Stephen was martyred, Saul went door to door in Jerusalem finding people who believed that Jesus is the Messiah, with the intention of despatching them to their Maker.

Saul was, to put it mildly, the early Christians’ worst nightmare.

Now, when he had cleansed Jerusalem and locked up the Christians he could find, he got information that there were other Christians in Damascus.

Mind you, Saul sincerely believed that he was serving God by finding Christians, throwing them into prison, and even executing them.

And behold, with this conviction, he set forth, destination Damascus. Mission: to seek Christians and nip Christianity in the bud.

This was one mission Saul of Tarsus never accomplished, and you all know the story. Charles Sinetre (or some other Balaka musician) captured the whole story very well, in a song.

The long and short of it is that Saul changed and became a thorn on the flesh of Pharisees. If Saul can be equated to a leopard, then Saul can be said to be a leopard that successfully changed its spots.

It has happened again with Ntata, and it will happen again. Coming back Ntata – whether he is serious – as an advocate for good governance, or whether he is just trying to increase his bidding price, only time will tell.

I cannot speak for him. You cannot predict his next move. But one thing is for sure, Ntata seems prepared fort he long haul, and so should we.

Leopard change spotsIf he needs a hero to emulate, he has, in Saul of Tarsus aka St Paul, a shining example. He can be the voice of the voiceless, the voice of the unbanked, the voice of the hungry, the voice of the over-taxed, the voice of those who believe they were robbed of genuine leadership; by using his talents for the benefit of the greater poor majority and not the greedy, stinking, and thieving minority.

 

Presidential Easter Reflection:

When everything has been said and done; history, and history alone will decide whether Z Allan Ntata’s activism, or for want of a better word, “Ntataism”; is an act of sour grapes, or whether he is a turn-coat of the mould of Judas Iscariot – as DPP zealots would want the world to believe – or indeed if he has, like Saul of Tarsus later called Paul, seen the light and repented.

Before I rest my case, I want to wish you all, your friends and families; a Happy Easter 2015. My message to you is: Easter, perhaps more than Christmas, demands that we reconsider our lives in all spheres.

Easter entails ‘resurrecting’ from our infirmities (spiritual, moral, political, professional and what have you) and rising with the risen Christ to start viewing every seemingly unsurmountable challenge, as an opportunity granted to us to change ourselves, Malawi and the world for the better.

My word of advice to APM vis-à-vis this controversial and unsought for “advice” from Z Allan Ntata; is short and to the point:

IF Bingu thought Allan a worthy advisor and a good person to have around despite you APM (his brother) being a lawyer and around, you might want to ponder his free advice. The beauty of it all is that it is advice flowing free of charge.

Or let me put it this way: is it possible for Bingu to be right, and you also to be right on the same Allan Ntata? One of you has got to be wrong.

I will close my case with a Senegalese proverb: an intelligent enemy is much better than a stupid friend. Love or loathe Ntata, his advice (given freely) is worth more than the chorus emanating from mercenaries whose minds you cannot read.

Happy Easter to you all.

Wise One rests.

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