"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Dashed hopes at metro shop, no whiskies, bicycles


16:30:46 - 04 April 2008

Metro shop in Blantyre was closed at 3 pm as Professor Bisankoni drove
by on his way to Club 007 in Chirimba. To cure his curiosity as to why
such a prominent shop was not open, Bisankoni asked a few minibus
drivers who were trespassing on Glyn Jones Road and he got the answer
that former president and United Democratic Front chair Bakili Muluzi
had left a blank cheque with the managers for all customers to get two
loaves of bread, two packets of sugar and a bottle of cooking oil.
Alas! No whisky anywhere.

Initially Muluzi had stealthily sent word to Blantyre’s central
business district that he would be splurging at the Metro shop as part
of his crusade to show Malawians that he is a caring and generous
leader who would like to share his proceeds with everyone. The result
was that most vendors abandoned their businesses where they could have
possibly made much more money than Muluzi’s windfall and rushed to

Bisankoni heard that by the time the BCA hill benefactor arrived at the
departmental store, the bogus customers had selected bicycles,
mattresses and sewing machines, the cost of which must have frightened
even the most generous campaigner for state presidency.

Clever Muluzi quickly moved into gear telling the beneficiaries what to
buy and by then they had already lost business at their stalls.

Bisankoni remembered that it was not the first time that vendors had
been lead to a wild goose chase by the UDF national chair. Last week he
had a meeting at Lirangwe and as usual his supporters lined the 20-plus
kilometre route from Blantyre City anticipating handouts in the form of
K50s. The wily chair just drove past Lunzu where Bisankoni was having a
drink with a Maybach 62 at Nansegwe Lodge. In no time a message reached
the dejected supporters that the chair was throwing around money at
Matindi a K70-plus trip from Lunzu by minibus. So the gullible vendors
were chasing K50 by paying K20 more.

Back to Metro the professor thought that if Muluzi wanted to buy food
for the hungry vendors he should have included at least whiskies or
brandies on his shopping list. Generosity, according to Bisankoni, does
not end with giving people breakfast as they also need lunch and supper.

Looking at the whole handouts scenario critically, it is a
deceptive way of acquiring the support of the helpless poor. Muluzi
should be devising ways of assuring people that they will permanently
have food on the table. Bisankoni thought giving out alcohol would be
more appropriate since that ends with a hangover and at owner’s risk at

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