Friday, August 06, 2010

Musings on Malawi

Spent a week in Malawi recently, in the capital Lilongwe to be more precise.

Found some interesting political developments. For starters they have built a new Parliament building. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, they used to convene in the President's residence for historical reasons.

But the building itself... think USA Capitol Hill, only larger. No, I am not joking, according to reports it IS larger than Capitol Hill. Pair that with a parkinglot sized for Olympic Games and you have a general impression. Now someting tells me that a small, poor country like Malawi could/should have had problems funding that, wonder where the money was found?

Also the president has decided (more or less on his own it seems) that it is time to change the national flag. Today it features a rising sun at dawn, halfway up. He wants a full, in zenith, sun. The argument: after 46 years of independence it can no longer be dawn for the nation.

Sort of makes sense, but again the cost...

Also I found to my huge surprise that a certain Jim Jumani Johansson from Sweden, a lawyer in his forties, are claiming to be the illegitimate son of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country's first president!

As he died without children (officially) this is big news and political dynamite in Malawi and all newspapers are full of theories, reports, stories etc about Jumani.

His mother claims it is all nonsense and he got confused while spending a year in jail (for beating his ex-wife apparently) but he demands DNA-testing. That the Banda family is refusing. No matter how it ends, it is dramatic for Malawians and I will keep an eye on it.

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