One evening over supper 5 years ago, my late uncle told me a story that happened in 1980 during Kamuzu Banda's regime. MCP faithfuls had just put together a new song "Ife ndife ayani ayani nanga" (Who are we, who are we) and were ready to dish it out at all Presidential functions so as to make it familiar within the rank and file (Be reminded that in those days every Malawian belonged to the party)
Their chance to perform the song came during a welcome rally for Kamuzu who was returning from one of his foreign trips. As usual people were ferried to Chileka Airport to welcome their "Messiah". The sitting arrangement had women closer to the podium and they kept on rehearsing the song readying to impress their leader who was still in the VVIP longue.
"Ife ndife ayani ayani nanga?" (who are we, who are we), led Mai Tsamwa.
"Ife ndife amai" (we are women), came an astounding chorus of response from the women who were always dressed in party colours.
Tsamwa cut the song abruptly because it was announced that the Life President was making way to the mini-stadium to speak to the masses.
After brief introductions from Master of Ceremonies and interpreter, John Zenasi Ungapake Tembo, it was time for the MCP to give their leader a new song "Ife ndife ayani ayani nanga"
"I hear you have a new song for ONgwazi and I have information that this song was composed by one young lady in the Womens League. I hereby ask all men to lead the song with all their strength in honour of the efforts of this young woman," Tembo said.
"Mmmanjamo" (Abig hand please),Tembo concluded.
A youth leaguer jumped up and started the song.
"Ife ndife ayani ayani nanga?" (who are we, who are we)
Thousands of men answered in unison"Ife ndife amayi" (we are women, we are women)
The leaguer continued with more emphasis this time around "Ndati ife ndife ayani ayani nanga?"
All the men answered again "Ife ndife amai"
The song went on "amai ochokera ku Malawi, tangoona a Ngwazi akukhala pa mpando" (women from Malawi, we have just witnessed Ngwazi taking his seat)
Malawian men becoming women in 1980?
Malawian men in 1980 had symbolically sang along in a lyric without displaying their gender sensitivity? To the composer all songs were bent towards women praises to Kamuzu such that she forgot to coin in some men-sensitive phrases.
My wonder is 'What has gone wrong in the past 32 years and in the 21st Century that we should deny our obligations in cherishing our adorable women?
It seems we have come to a point where as a nation we want to make a ground breaking decision about the structure of our leadership. Unfortunately this decision only has two sides; we take one and leave the other, nothing in between. To be ruled by a man or woman, obviously nothing in between.
Why should we struggle to make a decision on an issue that is obvious?
By making noise that Joyce Banda should not rule beyond 2014 just because she is a woman, are we being fair to our women? Save other reasons for your personal affiliations and gratification but JB's womanhood cannot be an issue as we head towards 2014.
Remember Noel Masangwi? He said in 2011 that a woman cannot rule Malawi and thank God for sustaining his life to witness it happening several months later. We can forgive Masangwi because he said it before it happened but why should we forgive those who are doubting after President Joyce Banda took the reigns of power?
We seem to politicize everything but what is really wrong for a woman to lead an African country in the 21st Century? (Remember we only have 2 choices)
Do people really have a problem with Joyce Banda because she is a woman? Or is it because she is Peoples Party and they are something else? she is Yao and they are something else? or she is influential and they are something else?
Can we for a moment learn to grasp things with sober minds and make informed choices.
If women chose to withdraw from the affairs of our country just because they are ruled by men, would we manage without their 53 percent of the populace?
Please my fellow Malawian men, whether you get carried away by your religious beliefs, male chauvinistic attitudes and egos or jealousy; just leave women alone please. Let God's time be.
My current take on this is that our country is better without a First Lady.
For now may all men join me in singing along, "Ife ndife ayani ayani nanga"
'Ife ndife amai"