Blood Sucking in Malawi

The news story makes a frightening, if fantastic reading. It is said that there are people in Mulanje that are using the power of witchcraft to suck blood right out of unsuspecting victims there.  The story, as incredible as it sounds, is serious and has even made it to the international news scene. Innocent people are being murdered in mob justice action on suspicion that they are vampires and there seems to be no end in sight. Vigilante mobs are summarily executing people suspected of being “blood-sucking” vampires, leading the United Nations to recall several staff members from both the Phalombe and Mulanje districts of Southern Malawi. Five people have been killed since mid-September.


As a result, President Peter Arthur Mutharika went to visit the scene of the crime, as it were, to give people reassurance that his government is aware of the matter and doing something about it. He fell short of explaining exactly what the government will do to stop the onslaught, however. In all honest, the whole president visit fiasco was an empty desperate act meant to window-dress the situation.


Of course Malawians everywhere are discussing the issue, especially on social media. And knowing Malawi, I am quite certain that President Peter Mutharika’s aides and advisors are the ones who pointed out to him that if he remained silent on the matter, or failed to at least go and visit Mulanje where the bloodsucking is said to be taking place, then he will be seen to be failing as a leader to show concern about the issues that all Malawians are worried about. After all, the opposition was already speaking on top of their voices about the situation, and, as always, the matter was being politicised left, right and centre.


Blood sucking
Nankhumwa (centre) bemoaned the service delivery interruption – File Photo

As a matter of fact, a government spokesperson in the person of none other than the Minister of Information himself claimed that the rumours were nothing but political propaganda concocted by the main opposition party, the Malawi Congress Party, to tarnish the good image of the Peter Mutharika administration and score cheap political points.


Amazing! Six people dead, and a full cabinet minister claims that this is simply political propaganda!


What both fascinates and frightens me even more regarding this story are the ironic parallels it represents regarding the Malawian condition.


As serious and tragic as this bloodsucker issue is, there is a more serious bloodsucker activity going on right before the noses of all Malawians which, surprisingly, attracts a passive outrage and sometimes sheer indifference when its seriousness should probably demand something similar to the vigilante mob justice taking place in Mulanje.


The parallels between a community of people in Mulanje being harassed and pulverised by bloodsuckers, and a whole nation, the Malawi nation being similarly destroyed by economic bloodsuckers seems to be lost on most Malawians.


While I have sympathy for the tragedy happening in Mulanje and Phalombe, I have even more sympathy for the bloodsucking that is happening to Malawian economy right now. The looting and the plunder of the country’s resources have reached a level where no one really is surprised any more when stories of corruption are reported. In the latest story, for instance, there are reports that MK260 billion of public finances has been abused between 2013 and 2015.


And of course, just as we have donors fast disappearing from the plight until the situation is contained in the Mulanje type of the matter, donors have also conferred together and decided to disappear from Malawi until there are clear indications that the looting and plundering of public funds has also been contained.


Meanwhile, when asked about Cashgate and corruption, the president and his cabinet ministers claims, just as they are doing with the Mulanje bloodsucker story, that corruption does not exist and that the claims of plunder and looting by the DPP government are nothing but political propaganda from the opposition.


As donors and investors are shunning the country because of poor investment and accountability infrastructure, the government claims that this is nothing but cheap political propaganda because the country is in fact in good shape and no economic bloodsucking is taking place.


I wonder if the irony of his public display of concern over the bloodsucker issue in Mulanje when Mutharika is himself leading a band of political bloodsuckers that are systematically plundering public funds, abusing taxpayer revenue and destroying the Malawi economy was lost on him and his comrades as they made that trip to Mulanje and assured people that he was going to get to the bottom of the matter.


Who are the real bloodsuckers of Mulanje? Are they the shadowy vampires that are said to be sucking the blood of their friends and neighbours and who are being murdered on suspicion of guilt? Or are they the political economic bloodsuckers that are sucking the very blood out of the Malawi’s economic veins, and doing it not in the shadows and in secret but in the open and we all know who they are and what they are doing?


Why is it then that we seem too keen to deplore the Mulanje perpetrators when we have a much more anti-typical reality that is represented by these very same occurrences?


Do not miss the metaphor at play here. Like the old proverb of seeing the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own eye, there is a greater reality being played out when your president is eager to go and address a bloodsucker situation in Mulanje when there is a much bigger more important economic bloodsucker situation in the government, the cabinet and at the State House.

Allan Ntata
Z Allan Ntata


NBS Bank Your Caring Bank