Written by PIUS NYONDO
There wasn’t great merry-making last Friday. Beer has become too expensive, and, like maize, its price is subject to change from time to time, depending apparently on the mood of pub owners.
And it wasn’t Sports Cafe last Friday. It was at Mu China’s place where we quenched our thirsts. The Chinese, my good friend Zikomo Matope and I have now concluded, are the real men of the people in this country.
Lo! This Chinese national has outclassed all his Malawian counterparts in as far running a night club businesses is concerned. While his competitors are selling the good bottle of ‘Green ‘at K350, this Chinese national, who surely doesn’t want to see an end to the greenbelt project, is letting go the same at only K250!
Just in case one is mathematically challenged, what this means is that for every bottle of ‘green’ you buy at Pa MuChina, you save K100.
“He’s a man of the people,”Zikomo Matope whispered into my ears, as we emptied our tenth bottle.
I said nothing.
“Diva,” Zikomo called my name. “I’ve realised that not every Malawian man is my brother. Imagine, why should our brothers be selling beer at K350 when Chwang is able to sell the same at K250?”
“I don’t know,” I blankly told him under the influence.
Just then, Chwang, the proprietor of Pa MuChina entered the hall. We all exchanged glances and nodded our heads in satisfaction.
“If this man were to stand for a parliamentary seat in this city, I wouldn’t hesitate to give him my vote,” a fellow reveler who was really hammered said. He used to be a regular at Sports Café.
“Is this not the foolish guy who was saying civil servants deserve a 2% pay hike?” My good friend Zikomo, a well-trained government secondary school teacher, asked.
We all said nothing.
“This country is hell,” the drunkard continued, “Why should we get everything at exorbitant prices? We manufacture soap, cooking oil and a lot of foodstuffs in this country and I find it hard to understand why these things are too expensive.”
There were murmurs of approval.
“This man,” Zikomo Matope told me, “Has a lot of sense in his nonsense. Diva, why should we buy a bag of maize at K10 000 as if we import it from overseas?”
I said nothing.
“Instead of reductions in food prices, it’s condom prices that are being slashed,” the drunkard observed.
“He’s right,” agreed Zikomo. “These guys have really reduced Chishango second prices. They’ve added an extra condom to make it four in a single packet and have reduced the price from K50 to K40.”
“When did you notice that?”
“This morning, of course,”Zikomo said with a smile. He told me had gone to see Marita.
I didn’t react.
“Hey, finish your beer,” I told Zikomo. “We don’t have any more money to keep ourselves here.”
But the leaving was never to be.
“Bar man,” Chwang, the owner of the place shouted. “Mupatse kasitomala aliyense mowa uwiriuwiri nilipira ndine! (Give each customer two beers!)”
We clapped hands and showered our beloved Chinese “brother” with praise.