Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I woke this morning and saw an article on one of the local online publications that government intends to introduce and enact a bill called E-Bill. This they say will help regulate online publications. The story has mentioned several publications and I breathed a sigh of relief because it omitted blogs. We are safe in the meantime for sure.

Let me hasten to today’s topic before they enact this bill in the middle of my writing.

Long ago during my primary school days, we were naively made to believe that John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo is an enigma of some sort. Those days, people referred to him as someone who has no heart and would gladly take away human life as he wishes.

I remember one of my primary school teachers made a sarcastic remark to say “I f you continue being a naughty class, I will call upon Tembo to deal with you” (This was during the transition period when Tembo and friends had ceased being political immortals).

Later on, I attended one rally by AFORD founder, late Chakufwa Chihana, who (in Julius Malema style) chanted “Ife ndife AFORD, tangoona Jekete la Tembo lang’ambika kunsana”

Then, there was the most shocking story about Tembo, among my cronies we heard and believed that Tembo is omnipresent. Not only that; we also heard and believed that at his Dedza house he is human from the waist up; snake from the waist down. Shaaa, really? It got me so scared.

These stories made me so inquisitive about John Tembo such that I really wanted to meet him in person. (I wanted the human part only not the snake)

My moment came in January 2009 at his Nyambadwe residence and there are three things he said that I vividly remember.

One; while commenting on a colleague we travelled with, Tembo said

“You are very beautiful, are you from Nsanje?

The lady said no to which Zenasi continued

“I am asking because women from Nsanje are very beautiful” (Whatever Tembo meant I still failed to grasp)

Two; Tembo told us that Kamuzu loved women. He laughed about it and quickly reversed his utterance saying “I mean he loved to treat all women well”

Three; as we were admiring his beautiful lawn facing the highly populated Mbayani Township he said “I love this view because it makes me connected with my people. For me I feel like I live in Mbayani not Nyambadwe. I love associating with the people” 
(I wonder if people in Nyambadwe don’t matter to Tembo)

Upon leaving his residence my mind registered one thing. This man is not omnipresent or a half snake but he has a way of choosing his words and actions cautiously and cunningly.

Look at how silent he has become after the Joyce Banda regime started making some mistakes. He believes in the rule of silence while listening to what the masses are saying. 

People are comparing him to Zambia’s Michael Sata who won the elections after caretaker President Rupiah Banda failed to govern convincingly. 

John Tembo might believe that this can also happen in Malawi. No wonder he is playing hide and seek on the issue of running for Presidency in 2014.

I don’t have a conclusive stand on this but one thing I surely know is that Joyce Banda should not trust Tembo antics. 

Just as my childhood perception presented him as half human, half snake, John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo will remain half pro-Joyce Banda and half traitor.

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