Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Quota fluid vacation

The last leg of my hour long flight to Lilongwe seemed the longest segment. I wanted to get out of the Congolese airspace as quickly as I could. It gets worse when you see lots of military related equipment at Lubumbashi Airport. The whole feeling of meeting my family and hoards of friends was quite thrilling. Nothing mind boggling honestly, though some questions lingered my mind like cakes, cocooned and baked in some unknown oven. We landed perfectly, and soon I swung into action. How do you measure excitement? I can bet with a qualitative measure, getting behind the wheel instantly after thirty plus hours of flying. My first ugly experience were the mile plus fuel queues that could make the giant anaconda gapping in confusion. It had good face though, particularly being a meeting place for old folks. I had lost phone contacts of old pals. Fuel stations provided the right environment. Some stories even went like folks cheated on spouses using the fuel shortage as a pretext while on a good note, some marriages have been scheduled later in summer. All courtesy of the fuel shortage. I may have to do a paper on the positive externalities.
Having being branded “Mr Quota” by few online friends, like England based “Kanyoli” ,owing to my persistent disdainful postings in the cyber world about the same, I was keen to talk about my contemporarily likeable issue. But I realised there was another “Mr Quota” in area 49. No qualms about it, though my mate was to the very right extreme just like some folks I met at Safari. I am moderate I think. Of course, I was looking forward to hear different views despite my obvious dislike of the system. But nonetheless, I had to show a scholarly attitude which entails listening and probably smiling at someone whose views I hysterically disagree. Ever heard a pastor preach at a funeral of guy who impregnates his daughter and refuses responsibility? Good to listen.
Whatever, happened there were some lessons learnt about mates view the Quota system. I never missed the usual Malawian humor of crafting a joke out of it. Exhausted quotas over drinks, women, and other notable vices. I need not elaborate. While it has generally been a tool perceived to disfavour the North, I realised that it is not fully accurate as it seems. To be specific, It availed to me that a substantial component of folks condemn quota in its entirety citing various reasons. One of them, being a tool to divert attention from pressing problems that Malawi is currently facing. Need I mention? Someone, after a few beers said the country was not in a crisis though he couldn’t fuel his battered sedan.
The interesting side was to see blind arguments in support of this policy on pure spatial grounds without any recourse to a holistic positivism for Malawi. And of course, finding myself amongst mates who oppose it for similar reasons. To coin it all, I learnt that this policy, has made it difficult for those of us who rose above tribal affiliations soon after the stone age. It nonetheless, has succeeded to divide Malawians, particularly those that have always used short cuts to get things done. Nonetheless, I marvel that the fabric of our society remains progressive since 1994 and come a few years, the average person will continue to pump sense in egocentric individuals that lead often lead us. A generational change is moving in slowly but as they say ‘big men never let things get out easily”
I may probably have to de-clutter this piece, but fall short to admit the fact, it was intented to be. Otherwise quota will not solve the problems as evidenced by the recent blame game. Malawi is beautiful and bigger than any individual.
Adieu my friends. Some I met some I didn’t but they are my friends. I love you all!

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