Malawi - 100 reasons not to celebrate 'Independence'

Celebrating help

Ah, 6 July. Another opportunity for Malawians to pretend to celebrate independence. At least now it's just the pretense, when Kamuzu ruled the land, it was like North Korea up in this place. You couldn’t even breathe lest the state and its regime thuggery deem you unpatriotic.

We shouldn’t be celebrating independence and here are some reasons why. In summary, we shouldn’t be celebrating because we are actually not independent. Let me explain:

I will not bother you with the figures, but we are deeply DEPENDENT on foreign aid. I don’t know of an election that we funded using our own money and at some point, 40 percent of our budget was funded by white people and that is still true now, I think.   

We RELY on the World Bank and EU and USAID for grants and loans. Forget that we totally mess up the money when we get it, like the time we took a huge loan from China to build a stadium which we cannot use or when we got huge loans to build toilets or that time, we got a loan and bought faulty tractors from India.

Look around now, with COVID-19 running riot, we need the international community to give us vaccines. If the Global Fund and the Bill Gates of this world stopped funding our hospitals, deaths would spike tomorrow. Malawians get to go to hospital for free and get ART for free because of donors.

Malawians can spew out babies like rabbits because they know that the donors will step in with handouts of mosquito nets for their malaria, water treatment drugs and even essential drugs in case one of their seven babies gets sick.

At some point the Norwegians were paying part of our doctor’s salaries and if you ever go to a health institution, it's Europe everywhere. From the Library at College of Medicine to cancer wards and machines that matter at our hospitals.

It is as if white people feel so guilty of being racist in the past that they give us all we need at the basic level.

Wouldn’t you agree that the ‘Independence’ day should instead be a day to thank white people for all they have done and keep doing to our undeserving country? 

Talk of training, essential government personnel have to wait for Israel or the UK or the US to offer them training, otherwise government wouldn’t have its civil servants going for further studies.  In the end, we are always toeing the line of the donors because they dictate how we behave after attending their schools or using their funds to attain skills.

Talk of schools, when I was growing up all books were printed with help from Canada and when the primary schools became free, the costs were mostly pushed to, you guessed it, white people.

We use the English language in school and offices and to have any sort of status, you need to know English – that is not independence because it just so happens that English is the language of our former masters.

We cherish a good bottle of Sprite; our music is American and our movies too. We cannot point to any genre as being Malawian and our dress our food is all heavily influenced from the outside, just like a dependent nation.

Our biggest cash crops are tobacco and tea all cater to demands in Europe. If they people say we don’t want to smoke, we have no economy, if white people say we want to buy it at 1 dollar per kilo, we also have no choice. As such we are dependent not the other way round.

The same goes for the other part of the economy, we use the SWIFT system, have to buy oil in dollars and we cannot even ban the sale of second-hand clothes that choke local manufacturing capacity lest we anger the Americans. We are dependent.

While we export seeds and leaves, we import everything else from paint to sofas to radios even if the wood that was used to make the sofas is from right here. And that is a classic case of dependence, my people.

The technology is all foreign, we cannot even make toothpicks around here, if Google says it's blocking Malawi, we will be stuck with Bing and the list goes on. We are dependent, I said.

What is Malawian philosophy? What great theory has come out of Malawi so far? See? We are humanists, democrats, and we love Jesus and Muhammad and most of our local myths are based on Sophocles or Aesop. That is dependence because the Indians will tell you tales of Shiva and The Persians and Arabs will quote from their history and we have nothing. It's why we try hard to make some people like Kamuzu appear heroic when they are really just despots.

While we export seeds and leaves, we import everything else from paint to sofas to radios even if the wood that was used to make the sofas is from right here. And that is a classic case of dependence, my people.

The technology is all foreign, we cannot even make toothpicks around here, if Google says it's blocking Malawi, we will be stuck with Bing and the list goes on. We are dependent, I said.

Our government is based on Greek texts and dictated to us by white folk and most treaties we sign and adhere to are all minted in white boardrooms.

What are we free to do? How independent are we? Independent from who? From What? Britain? Our biggest donor? The giver of English? The prime destination for our doctors? The owners of the CCAP churches?

So, lets gather in our hootenannies and thank the white man for all he has and keeps doing, what would we be without him and on this day, let us celebrate our dependence without making it ironic.

This article was first published here