Saturday, August 05, 2006


Before I pass on to the theme of my posting, the POLITICS OF NKHWEZULE chapter 2, I consider it my duty to express my thanks to the readers of this blog for not emailing me to tell me that I am insane.

In the same breath, I would also like to thank Dr Peter Kumpalume Mr Watipaso Mkandawire and Dr steve Shara for laughing a loud whenever I relate the current Malawi’s political developments to "POLITICS OF NKHWEZULE"

But most importantly, I would like to thank Mr David Nthengwe now working for United Nations as mass information officer who countered my theory by offering a totally different view.
I met David in London for the first time and when I introduced the doctrine of Nkhwezuleism, he rejected the idea on spot but as we went deep into the subject, he bought the idea only to devise his own theory by linking it to journalists without my permission.

In his rebarbative cynicism and his mordant clarity, he made attempts to represent an authentic counter argument suggesting that my description of NKHWENZULE, created a strong feeling that the mythical bird is no more than a messenger of death as such Journalist and not politicians are the ones who should be linked to the notion of NKHWEZULEISM.

I warned him to avoid becoming a NKHWEZULE himself if he dare change my thesis without considering the time and effort I have invested in this theory (This warning had the added bonus of probably being true.) but he counter warned me that he will not wait to tear my argument at its earliest publication.[come on David, I’m waiting]

Firstly, my theory is contested in the traditional left wing perspective. I’m on the lower-left of the political spectrum, but I’m often tempted by those on the lower-right. They’ve got this beautiful capitalist theory where the people who do work get paid and society automatically adjusts things for the greater good, and everyone lives happily ever after. (My problem is that it doesn’t work. Capitalism gives cash to those who exploit the system, pays people for different tasks than those I consider good, and assumes people are intrinsically bad and need to be corrected.

Before I proceed I need to make it clear here that this thesis is not a definitive doctrine or theory. It is merely a personal account formed over a series of events which took place and continue to take place in Malawian politics and seeks in general terms to explain what is meant by "the politics of NKHWENZULE."

It does not wish to limit or exclude, but provide a general introduction to the topic. Apologies for inaccuracies, misinterpretations, or (inevitable) overgeneralizations.
Hopefully, I shall perfect it when my request to review it in scholarly terms at a masters level is granted by any of the universities that I have contacted.

For those who missed the POLITICS OF NKHWENZULE’s introduction, Nkhwezule in most Malawian communities is seen as a mysterious and sinister bird believed to be only hunting at night .Such is the mystery that the few people that I interviewed failed to find its English name.

It seems every conceivable Malawian has had a go at that old night bird myth and have failed miserably to come up with a plausible idea of what it is. Its exact colour and looks also sounds confusing as others seem to mistake it for an OWL[kadzidzi].To some the mere idea of mentioning it was so scarring.

Based on this myth, I intend to coin a theory which seeks to pursue an argument based on "conventional wisdom" by relating certain behaviors with a view of ending the grossly selfish and greedy attitudes by people who use their influence and privileged positions to exploit the vulnerable without weighing both the short and long term effects of their actions on others and society in general.

Conventional wisdom is a term coined by professor John Kenneth Galbraith to describe certain ideas or explanations that are generally accepted as true by the public. According to his book
" the affluent society"conventional wisdom can be correct when backed by facts and years of experience. Sometimes conventional wisdom is based less on facts and more on opinion and speculation.

In most African culture, which craft and magic related myths, for example, are accepted on the basis of being "conventional wisdom". Conventional wisdom is also often seen as an obstacle to introducing new theories, explanations and as such, I am not surprised to see that David rejected my theory of "The politics of Nkhwenzule at first.

This is to say, that despite new information to the contrary, Conventional Wisdom has a property analogous to inertia, a momentum, that opposes the introduction of contrary belief; sometimes to the point of absurd deniability of the new information set by persons strongly holding a outdated views.

Since I’m not fond of such self-deception, especially when used to defend things I find noxious, this series of articles will look at places where "NKHWENZULEISM" theory breaks down and eats itself


NKHWENZULEISM is a shorthand term for "NKHWENZULE politics[vice versa] that critiques the totality of political selfishness, greed and abuse of privileged position from an abused, oppressed and affected perspective which seeks to initiate a comprehensive coinage of largely accepted mythical terminology by a deprived society in order to initiate change of heart and transformation of an authoritative individual to behave in ways that are politically, culturally and religiously acceptable through which the interest of society are seen to eclipse those of an individual or group of people.

Individuals associated with this current do not wish to be adherents of NKHWENZULE ideology when practicing their selfish motives. They are merely people who seek to become free individuals in free communities in harmony with one another and with the biosphere but suddenly change whenever an opportunity to carry out certain societal or political responsibilities arise.

At best, then, NKHWENZULE ideology is a convenient label used to characterise diverse individuals with a partisan let alone selfish common project.The abolition of all power relations e.g. structures of control, coercion, domination, and exploitation - and the creation of a form of community that excludes all such relations.

Simultaneously, the theory examine the evolution of greed, inconsiderate and selfishness in our midst in order to suggest new terrains for contestations and critique in order to undermine the present tyranny of the modern totalitarian discourse in parliament.

The behavior of some members of parliament has been very disappointing this year. We have seen members of parliament acting in ways that are unrepresentative of their constituents. We have seen members of parliament rejecting the president’s speech out of malice. The Nation has had to go through an embarrassing and shameful period of having to see members of the donor community pleading with our MPs to pass the budget when common sense tells us that that’s what they are supposed to be doing.

Towards the end of the budget, and after all the squabbles and highly personal yet misguided arguments which earned our MPs a staggering K500,000.00 + richer through allowance claims alone ,when their constituents were going on an empty stomach, one individual held the nation hostage by demanding thus:


That the passing of the budget was key and crucial to the funding of fertilizer subsides was immaterial That the passing of budget was key to the funding of the ministry of health which among other things is responsible for the purchase of drugs and that some people would die in the absence of such medical supplies was immaterial.

What was important to this honorable Member of Parliament was an apology. He did not care about what would happen to the nation should his intimidated followers agrees to shoot down the budget. He did not care that some hardworking men and women in the name of civil servants were waiting for the passing of budget to receive their payment .

All he cared was "I MUST BE APOLOGISED"

12 years ago, the whole nation paid a huge price due actions which benefited a few individuals.Thus when the then government decided to go against established procurement through engaging "field york" in the excise book scandal, Kwacha automaticaly nose dived from its K4.50 to against a pound to K16.00 to a pound.Since then, the kwacha never recovered.When one compares the negative impact such activities had on our weak economy,he or she is tempted to question the morality of the individuals concerned.

That hyper-reality that destroys human meaning of moral consciousness, and hence solidarity, by simulating it with political greed and self importance to regain a political discourse grounded in autonomous, intersubjective mutuality and closely associated with the natural ego at the expense of national interest, underlying all struggles for freedom and social injustices is central to the understanding of "NKHWENZULE POLITICS"

The aim of conceptualising this doctrine is to develop a synthesis of primal and contemporary banjaxed view, a synthesis of the politically-focused, inconsiderate and authoritarian aspects of individualistic and selfish acts by relating them to "Nkhwezule" a mysterious and sinister bird believed to be only hunting at night.

For years in particular the Ngoni ,the lomwe,tumbuka and Chewa people of Malawi, Nkhwezule has been associated with, witchcraft and death with some believing it to be an evil spirit, in animal form, used by witchcraft practitioners to perform evil deeds and cast malevolent spells a head of time.

Its effect are felt a day or so by villagers after flying past a village at night, leaving a helpless and panicking community behind as its terrifying and unusual sound dies into the darkness of a sombre night.

By linking NKHWENZULE to selfish behaviors ,the aim is not to replicate or theorise/philosophise their acts but rather to coin a doctrinal frame work which society particularly the voters can use to enforce change on those representing them in various political and gubernatorial forums.

Selfish acts committed in the context of an institutionalised position of systematic influence and domination by one authority or group of people over his [their] subordinates or constituents and committed with the intention of maintaining personal or partisan interests without regard to humanity or societal interest by way of exploiting one’s privileged position[s] are increasing in Malawi .

They are equally increasing elements of NKHWENZULEISM outside Malawi too. The difference however is that when NKHWENZULEISM is practiced outside Malawi, the name will change and I shall call it OWLISM.[again not yet discovered] These acts may include abuse of power, to crimes such as murder, enslavement, deprivation of physical liberty, and corruption the sort of things we are now seeing in Iraq and elsewhere.

It my considered view, one of the reason why some of these selfish acts are on the rise in Malawi particularly those related to politics and or politicians is because, they are given foreign names which have little impact on both practitioners and the vulnerable.

When a politician exploit his position to enrich himself regardless of societal needs, we either dub him as a tyrant, corrupt or inconsiderate but these terms have no meaning in most culture hence the main reason why politicians and those connected often gets their way out. As a result, we accept their practice as part of politics. Matter of fact, people vies for such positions so that they can enrich themselves whenever chances arise.

These selfish acts have had an adverse effect on the public particularly the poor. Remember what happened in 2002 when the then authorities decided to sell maize[malawi's staple food] to Kenya.Allot of people died because they could not find food.
Today Malawian faces are swollen with rivers and seas of painful tears of the past. They have gone thorough series of lies and false hopes.

There are people in Malawi who have been made widows as a result of politics.There are mothers who have lost their beloved sons and daughters to the next world because politician a or b wanted to protect his position.They have gone through severe trials, and have become more sombre as politics become more brutal.

The notion of power to the people has completely gone and the idea that constituents are being represented is now becoming a dangerous delusion. The country has entered into a period of great change. It is a great change that has seen the voters being abandoned as their representatives becomes more and more interested in their self.

Its extreme expressions are package rise and budget cuts. The barriers of right and might are overthrown and replaced by the strength of numeric representation in parliament .The only way we can end this unbecoming behavior is to brand such acts with our local names, hence the doctrine of NKHWENZULEISM . It is my considered view that by branding and relating their acts to behaviors of dark characters such as NKHWENZULE’s, voters will up their chances of enforcing change as practitioners fear to be associated with such characters.


My layman understanding of this mythical bird and the tales I have since gathered about this bird seem to suggest that when this bird flies past a village, it does so without taking due care of villagers concerns which comes in the form of panic fear and discomfort upon hearing its hissing and weird sound.
It doesn’t even bother its implications of flying past a house where a critically ill person is being nursed. That caring relatives will loose hope of their loved one’s chances to survive when they hear or see it flying past is of little concern to NKHWENZULE.
What matters most to this bird is that it flies and makes its weird and strange sound.

Similarly, anyone who propose to act in a manner contrary to the opinion of society by acting in ways that puts his or her interests above those of society automatically practice the politics of NKHWENZULE.
It's like a religion.The contradictions are obvious to outsiders but don't disturb the faithful. You believe when you're in its warm embrace. In order to understand how one gets from the "moral principles" above to the sort of fanatical proselytizing seen everyday on discussion lists, it is important to grasp how the ideology actually works out, from theory to practice.

To start off, NKHWENZULEISM is highly axiomatic. Note how the above quote touts its logically consistent approach. There's a set of rules to be applied to evaluate what is proper, and the outcome given is the answer which is correct in terms of the moral principle of the theory. But in practice, the rules are simple and tight enough to produce surprisingly uniform positions compared to common political philosophies. Urmson, J. O. (1953) "The interpretation of the moral philosophy of J. S. Mill" Philosophical Quarterly 3 pp. 33—39 Immanuel Kant Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals 1st ed. (1873) Hobbes Leviathan Part 1 (1841) Socrates Euthyphro 3rd ed. (I892)

Webelieve that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Now, how many ideologies have you ever heard state anything like
"We believe that disrespect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud are good things in human relationships, and that only through slavery can peace and prosperity be realized"

Why is it that when there's a problem, our first question is not, "How can government solve this problem," but "who must be eliminated to improve this situation?"

Every ideology has weaknesses and blind spots, but the specific manifestation of NKHWENZULEISM is to make its followers completely unable to deal with any sort of analysis of power other than the most basic sort of political action. Thus, not only do they develop a mental block against the actual functioning of huge portions of our society, but this block then often turns into raving denial when anyone else says something outside their blinders.This is why you will see an entire opposition following an intelectualy tired and obsolete politician to withdraw their support on national budget unless so and so apologise or shunns the voting.

Why do people from one social group oppress and discriminate against people from other groups? and why is this oppression so mind numbingly difficult to eliminate? The answers to these questions are framed using the conceptual framework of social dominance theory but practiced by individual beings.
Social dominance theorists often argues that the major forms of intergroup conflict, such as racism, classism and patriarchy, are all basically derived from the basic human predisposition to form and maintain hierarchical and group-based systems of social organization. In essence, social dominance theory presumes that, beneath major and sometimes profound difference between different human societies, there is also a basic grammar of social power shared by all societies in common.

I am using social dominance theory in an attempt to identify the elements of NKHWEZULEISTIC behavior and to understand how these elements interact and reinforce each other to produce and maintain an individual oriented thought of putting self interests before those of society. As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the means of calling the right of it in question and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers[voters] been aggravated into the inquiry.

The only way to end this madness is to stop referring to these selfish acts in foreign term which if anything raises the profiles of such disgraced members of society.
The habit of not thinking a thing wrong because it is being mentioned in foreign terms, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

In a democracy, any one who believes and practice democracy is called a democrat. In the Christian kingdom, any person following and practices the teaching of Christ is called a Christian.
In my theory, any one who practices the politics of NKHWENZULE as described in this exposition is a NKHWENZULE .
To hear a recital of these facts would make people shudder; and the tear of sympathy would communicate from one man to another with congenial celerity leading to the change of behavior from those practicing the politics of NKHWENZULE.

A country that has preachers, prophets, poets, houses of worship and parliamentary democracy does not need politicians expressing its piety collectively threatening the livelihood of a nation in in such a sacred place like parliament.

Individual citizens can be trusted to find their own appropriate ways to express their own political convictions and train the young in virtue. What the people need from political leaders are the virtues of truthfulness, justice, practical wisdom, courage, vision and a kind of compassion whose effects can actually be discerned in the lives of the poor and the elderly.


Bright Malopa
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as NKHWENZULEISM or NKHWENZULE POLITICS although the behavior does exist.

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