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Of ‘Obaba’- May His Soul Rest in Peace

Tembo

By Isaac M’bale Undani.

I have reasons why I did not agree with Obaba’s several political decisions. For instance in my time I didn’t like his position never to support Gwanda in 1999, I never liked his position to insist on section 65 when Bingu was in power. However I also have reasons not to believe most of the stories related to kiling that some Malawians associate Obaba with.

Honestly speaking I preferred Gwanda in 1999 and 2004 than Obaba. Not because I hated Obaba personally, nor did I base my dislike of Obaba based on the stories I heard [either myths or factual] but because of what I observed when Gwanda was president of MCP between 1994 to 2003. In my opinion Obaba never supported Gwanda as MCP party president. This was not palatable at all.

Fast forward, Malawi is a rumour mongering nation. The majority of Malawians are less educated. This is granted. Rumour mongering however has no respect of persons in Malawi. We still enjoy in spreading rumours and present them as factual no matter how educated. This is a fact about the majority of Malawians.

In Malawi we have seen people being butchered because they are believed to be wizards and witches. Malawians rich and poor, old and young; have been victims of mob justice due to witchcraft and satanic insinuations. We see people suspecting rich hard working young men for practicing satanism. We forget of the time they invest to excel, We forget their prudence and their financial management skills that can be reasonable basis of success. We forget how wasteful we become with time. We forget how extravaganza we are with money, we forget how poor we are in managing our own capital etcetera.

Most Malawians share in the belief that one can not be rich through hard work. To Malawians you can only be mponda matiki if you are a sorcerer, a devil worshiper or through corruption.

There is also a belief that you can not be a good soldier if you are not a witch or okhwima. Moti asikali ambilinu anthu amati when employed ndalama zoyamba mmakakhwimila.

The truth of the matter is most of these beliefs are a result of our traditional superstitious mentality which can not even be scientifically proven. Most of these stories are a fabrication, mythical and a lie also rooted in njala, nthenda and ‘Nsanje’. Please underline Nsanje.

Fast forward, are the stories about Obaba’ true? With my submission above I tend to take them with a pinch of salt. Malawians can cook stories about anyone based on reasons well know to themselves in addition to the ones above. But if indeed they are true who I am I to condemn him to hell as if I am God? Who am I to think that he never repented after all I was never with him in his solitude? Who I am I to say that I can’t forgive him, after all I have my own sins and I need to be forgiven too?

In my opinion there may be some narratives about Obaba which can be true. For instance some can say he was power hungry. Just like most politicians this can be true. Does this make Obaba a murderer? Only God knows. What we know is many bad things happened between 1964 to 1991. That notwithstanding the courts cleared Obaba.

It should also be emphasized here that as humans we mostly get tempted to remember the bad. Just like McAntony in the tales of Julius Caeser good things are often entered with their bones, so be it with Obaba. When all is said and done JZU was one of the finest ministers Malawi had. He was one the finest civil servants, business man good husband, responsible father and a politician who had never lost a parliamentary seat in his home district.

May his soul rest in peace.

Zivere muntolo!

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