Abiti Mwenye declared lawyer Justina Ngozi as the looser after only his second move of the Bawo game. He was playing against Magede Si Wandale, who was feeling somewhat overwhelmed by Justina Ngozi’s legal credentials. As a matter of fact, Professor Mpandadzina, along with Wiseone From The East, perching lazily on their Ndakhuta Ndalema’s and almost paying any attention to the game, were of the opinion that Magede was about to be given a bawo hiding. It must have been the particularly delicious Wadzana they were savouring, or they were judging a book by its cover, giving the game to Ngozi on the basis of his commendable legal credentials.
But if the two years that I have spent here at the Bawo club has taught me anything, it is that Abiti Mwenye did not become the undefeated and undisputed Bawo Champion by chance or luck in this game that is dominated by men. She had fully earned her spurs and knew a thing or two about the mystical game. It was for this reason that she was not taken in by lawyer Ngozi’s verbosity and aggressive opening. Indeed after three turns, we saw Magede Si Wandale capturing Ngozi’s Kuwo and, as they say, that was that.
As Magede si Wandale received the congratulatory patting on the back, Professor Mpandadzina offered Lawyer Ngozi a Chipanda of commiseration.
“Sorry, brother”, Professor Mpandadzina said. “I know it is not easy to be humiliated twice in one week. Here, drown yourself in this.”
Taken aback, Wiseone From the East, whose visits at the Bawo Club have become infrequent ever since Gogo Sinsamala ordered him to go chasing after a certain Forensic Audit Report that is apparently with the IMF, wanted to know what this was about.
In fact, even Lawyer Ngozi did not himself take to hear the sympathy offered by Professor Mpandadzina. Knowing exactly what the learned professor was talking about, Justina Ngozi said, “Come on, professor. You know very well that having a United States Green Card is a criminal offence and grounds for candidacy challenge!”
Professor Mpandadzina smiled at Ngozi in a friendly fashion. “Your thesis that our former president, the father and founder of the Malawi nation, the late Dr Kamuzu Banda should be stripped of all his honours and be declared was an interesting read, but it failed to convince any of your peers as suitable for publication.”
Professor Mpandadzina proceeded to explain to Wiseone From The East, as the Chief Mourner all the rest of the Bawo Club listened attentively, that this lawyer, Justina Ngozi, had written an academic paper in which he had argued that Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda should be stripped of all the honours that Malawians had bestowed upon him. In his paper, Ngozi had contended that Kamuzu Banda should not have contested in the first elections in Malawi in 1964 because he was by then a possessor of a United States Green Card, and also had permanent residence visas for the United Kingdom and Ghana. By virtue of having these residence visas, lawyer Ngozi had argued, the Dr Banda owed allegiance to foreign countries and was unfit to run for any public office in this country. Possession of these visas was a criminal act and Dr Banda should only have been allowed to run for office 7 years after he had renounced these countries and demonstrated that he was a true Malawian.
“The editorial board of Mpatse Abwire press considered your paper to have been too political and inspired by your hatred of MCP, and your intention to stop Dr Chakwera, the new MCP flag bearer to be blocked from running for the presidency because of his previous prolonged stay in the United States. It will not be published.
“I must say that I agree with the board. Surely a man of learning such as yourself should not be at the forefront of abusing democracy by advancing arguments that are only for political expedience, Mr Ngozi. A Green Card in America is nothing but a residence visa, the possession of which should never ever be made a basis for blocking a person’s candidacy for the presidency. Henry Masauko Chipembere, Orton Chirwa and Kanyama Chiume understood this when they called Dr Banda from Ghana understood very well that this man they were calling upon to help and lead them in the struggle for independence had an American Green card and a Ghana residence Visa. It was an advantagethat he had been exposed to ways of life beyond those of Nyasaland, which could only add to his experience and life skills. Are you sure we should now begin to question the legitimacy on a person’s credentials to lead Malawi on the basis of which residence visas he possesses?”
Although many at the Bawo Club felt like celebrating Professor Mpandadzina’s words of counsel, and the fact that even Justina Ngozi had admitted that his paper had been misguided, none of this happened. Instead, we all observed a moment of silence contemplating the big deflating blow the news would have to those that had sponsored Lawyer Ngozi’s paper.
The silence was broken by the arrival on the scene of Gogo Sinsamala, who immediately announced that finally, after his joining the Bawo club, Laughter Kambala had used Gogo Sinsamala’s influence to get Rapid Team Laundry to once again start accepting his suits. The really good news was that an employee at the laundry had discovered in the inside pocket of one of Kambala’s jacket, a document that revealed how deeply involved Amai and her pet, Chingolopiyo were in the Cashgate Scandal.