Some artists read the times and strategise accordingly. A popular song titled Mose wa Lero by Joseph Nkasa makes many Malawians sing along even if they did not want to because of the way the artist has related the biblical Moses to Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika. In the song which is on Mutharika's blog, the artist Nkasa says Mutharika has led Malawians move out of Egypt where they had hunger and different problems. The artist further says the Malawians just like the Israelites would not want to back to Egypt ironically referring to the former president Bakili Muluzi who announced his intention to contest as president during the 2009 presidential elections in Malawi. The president now bears the name Mose wa Lero (modern Moses) in all campaign works.
While on politics, recently Malawi's president made a cabinet reshuffle which saw health minister Marjorie Ngaunje left out paving way for Khumbo Kachale. As you may discover, because of name similarity, it was easy for the only eye specialist in Malawi Dr Khumbo Kalua to be mistaken that it is him that got the top job at the Health ministry especially that he got an sms about the appointment. He blogs about his missed opportunity to be an honourable cabinet minister:
The reaction to the message was with mixed feeling; firstly why did the big boss not communicate to me /or tip me before electing me; and that if this was true then what would happen to my community job as an eye specialist.
I looked at the reasons why possibly I could have been considered for the post and they looked to be many; I have worked in the ministry of Health and have over 12 years experience as doctor; (I) am a specialist Dr, and possibly I am rightly qualified. Factors against me being elected were that I am non political, non partisan and I stick to my profession ethics and have difficulties in following bureaucratic ministerial procedures. Overall I considered it was going to be a good opportunity for me to be a health minister; (get) the six figure salary, the Mercedes Benz with the personal driver, the games played in parliament….. I thanked the one (whoever it was) who had suggested my name to him who appoints. Yes I was ready to cancel my flight and get back to Blantyre Malawi and this time on a business class ticket. Well after many years of hard work my life seemed to have been transformed overnight.
Challenges of African universities
A Malawian studying in Bostwana, Benett Kankuzi, complains about the challenges that researchers in Africa are facing. In his post titled The challenges of doing academic research in Africa, he laments at the lack of support from governments which provide inadequate funds. He says as a researcher visiting other countries he cannot rely on the hosts to take care of him
because normally host institutions do not have funds for these expenses. This is because most universities in Africa are funded by their governments and definitely the funding is never enough. Of course its understandable since the governments have “priorities within priorities” in their national budgets. The governments have to fight for national food security, clean water, infrastructure development etc for the masses and funding academic research would never make it into the priority list.
However, this situation might lead others to conclude that there is no academic research being done in Africa which is not necessarily true. Unfortunately, world university rankings take research publications into account. So you better not be surprised to see many African universities not faring well in the rankings!
Scanning through the fifty or so blogs by Malawians, it seems many have not been posting in the last few weeks but Malawi's Internet discussions have been awash with the politics at home, in Kenya and US road to White House.