Which African leaders will truly emulate the achievements of John Pombe Magufuli?

Presidents John Pombe Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania, 1959 – 2021.

Since his passing, quite a lot has been said about the life and works of Tanzania’s recently deceased president. And by most fair and sincere accounts, John Magufuli did have a tangible, measurable, commendable and signficant impact on Tanzania, taking the country along an admirable trajectory from a low income country up to the point Tanzania is now firmly considered to be a middle income country.

And most Tanzanians loved him for it.

And yet across Africa, although such success stories inspire millions and should in theory be common – they don’t happen very often, owing to a long list of failures, among them poor and uninspired leadership.

But if John Magufuli – who it must be said didn’t come from some grand or otherwise priviledged background that gave him special advantages – can achieve what he did in as short a space of time as 6 years, why can’t other African leaders do the same?

Power & Status

It is no secret that many leaders in Africa are drawn to political leadership for other reasons. They are not overly concerned about the problems their countries face, or the poverty and hardship. The overriding intention is not so much to provide good and transformative leadership in the way Magufuli did, instead a worrying number of African leaders are more bothered about power and status, leaving a leadership void in those countries, and consequently affecting the scale and pace of development.

These are the people who like to attend heads of state meetings of SADC, UN, AU, ECOWAS, etc. complete with stays in pricey hotels; they like to have smarmy business executives of dodgy companies attend state house to meet them – because it can be spun into an investment story; they love to be seen on the front covers of newspapers, to be interviewed by the likes of Al Jazeera, CNN or France 24 – making all sorts of grandiose promises, which years later, can’t be backed by any tangible achievements; they love to have the doors of their Mercedes Benz limousines opened by well dressed, neatly-shaven and altogether reverent bodyguards – who make them appear more important than they actually are; they like to attend every insignificant function that comes along, where they can be seen to be doing something or to please supporters – even when the impact of such functions on a national level is negligible and a single junior minister could have been dispatched to it. Increasing the salaries of top military officials or the trip to the UN General Assembly means more to such leaders than funding the education and welfare of poor kids in their countries’ ghettos; they like to see a band of protocol-obsessive allowance-seeking hand-clapping minions nod approvingly at everything they say, flanking them at press conferences, worshipping them on social media, inflating the sizes of their convoys, and generally putting out a false and deceptive apperance of competence and authority. For these kind of leaders, a picture taken with Barack Obama at the White House or with Bill Clinton or Richard Branson at some international conference means more than actually getting down to the hard work of resolving the youth unemployment crises in their own countries. They will talk endlessly of courting investors and trying to attract investment at these high level international gatherings, but years on – absolutely nothing comes out of it.

That love of glamour and status is more about pomp (the same english word where pomposity comes from) and let’s be absolutely clear when we say it is not leadership, and is exactly the kind of excess leaders like John Magafuli, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and even Julius Nyerere would despise.


It doesn’t matter how talented, knowledgeable and practical you think you are, you can’t adequately cater to the needs of millions of people on your own. Even if everyone within your cabinet was churning out tons of raw productivity, even if everyone in the ministries was ontop of their work, even if all government departments were working with superhuman efficiency and at 100% capacity, it’s still not enough to adequately cater for everyone’s needs from good healthcare and housing to employment and skills development, if things remain centralised.

Centralisation is a progress killer in African countries because everyone expects the president, the minister, the technocrats, the guy at the top to sort out everything for everybody. But the guy at the top doesn’t have superhuman powers to do justice to all the needs and requirements of the people he/ she leads or is supposed to represent. And his/ her priorities often are not the same as the priorities of the people in need.

If the impact of our Governments across the African continent is to be revolutionised, if we are to achieve more tangible things in less time, we need to begin to think beyond one man or woman being the person who authorises and pushes through some project or another to completion.

We need to democratise development to the point where we openly and unreservedly bring into the equation those people (or groups) whose lives are affected by governance failings, or under-service that’s not been prioritised, and empower them to be able to make a real difference in their circumstances, be it allowing them to organise themselves, to raise money, buy equipment, or build the infrastructure they need etc. without having to constantly seek authorisation from the central government.

In Malawi it means projects like the Neno road, a new international airport in Mzuzu, the new hospital promised to Michinji, and the Kapiri-Mkanda road among a long list of project promises should be treated as urgent infrastructure projects, and should be escalated, and a stringent implementation schedule set.

District officers and communities involved should be tasked with a new implementation schedule, provided funding that’s closely monitored, and subjected to regular monthly audits to strictly enforce the implementation schedule. They should also be free to solicit their own funding to add to that effort, and any failures, unexplained mishaps or delays should have serious consequences for all involved. That is the kind of thing John Magufuli would be proud of, and we’ve all seen the videos of his similar hard-hitting approach.

The way we fund, monitor and roll out major projects, and the implementation timelines need to be changed fundamentally, for projects to start being executed timely, and for them to be completed on budget.

Party allegiance vs allegiance to the country & the constitution

President Chakwera in Malawis Parliament

One of the qualities which is common in transformative leaders is that they are not afraid of stating the truth and offending powerful people.

In some cases this can be a negative quality and can lead to a leader’s downfall, but in most cases it is a good and necessary quality to have because a great leader needs to have a strong spine. He or she needs to be able to say No, when the situation calls for it. This is important since not everyone who will try and approach or influence an African President (however dignified the title of the influencer is, or however laundered the reputation of their organisation may appear) does so from a good or sincere place. Simply put, not everyone who talks to an African President has noble intentions.

Unfortunately there are so many examples of African leaders capitulating or giving into bad ideas, bad or exploitative deals when pressured, when they should infact have stood their ground firmly and said No.

Now here, I’m not talking about issues like COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccines which scientifically have near global consensus on how to manage and deal with, in order to stem the spread of the pandemic.

What I mean is if a leader knows or has been made aware of the toxic influence or otherwise corrupt nature of say one or more of his own ministers or officials; he / she must act, and crack hard to decisively rectify that anomally. Even if individuals in his / her own party thinks the scandal should be ignored.

Similarly, a great leader who wants the best for his people should not allow his country to be heavily indebted to other countries or to international institutions. And if they find the debt when they get into office, they need to aggressively devise as a matter of urgency a workable, practical and stringent plan of managing and paying off the debt.

Old thinking vs 21st Century thinking

Employees at WhatsApp HQ

This fundamentally is about new wine and old wineskins.

The world is not what it was 40 or 50 years ago. While a Nelson Mandela, or a Kamuzu Banda, or a Jomo Kenyatta, or a Robert Mugabe were great and necessary needs for Africa 40 or 50 years ago, our countries at this moment have fundamentally changed and have very different needs and wants to the needs of the 60’s and 70’s; the kind of needs which cannot fully be tackled by using approaches or methods devised by African heavyweights dinosaurs.

That’s not to downplay the achievements of these great men, or to ignore the many rich lessons enshrined in their lives. Not at all. But having said that, many of them weren’t able to deal with everything properly. For example many such great leaders didn’t manage to eradicate poverty in their lifetimes, so even back then their successes had limitations.

A modern thatched house outside Lilongwe, Malawi.

Instead, our countries in Africa need leaders who understand the dynamics of the 21 Century; who ask questions such as:

what 20 practical things can we do to maximize the chances of the next WhatsApp being founded in our country?

The Africa of today needs young and dynamic leaders with vision who will pioneer projects for better connectivity, cheaper and affordable modern housing, attractive & inspired infrastructure, and well connected networks of affordable public transportation (modern trams, trains and road networks). Our countries in Africa need cheaper logistical costs for importation of desirable foreign goods, cheaper logistical costs for ease of export of the country’s processed goods without making them too expensive on international markets, State owned and run multi-billion dollar projects that will not only create thousands of jobs, but will bring forex – several of the kinds of things which we are now beginning to discover Tanzania was working towards. The list is rather long.

You can’t do that kind of thing effectively if you are still thinking of how to maintain a well-equipped secret police, or if your focus is just on winning the next election. You can’t do that if your parastatals and large public companies aren’t run by anyone under the age of 35, or when you don’t have enough women in leadership roles in such companies…

Birmingham City Library

It’s the difference between on one hand promising to build a stadium (whose long term impact on a poor country is debatable), and on the other hand working to build high quality modern libraries in each district and to bring free high speed internet to poor citizens and their children – most of whom can’t afford the often high data costs charged by private companies currently operating in African countries.

Continuing the spirit of Magafuli will require a fundamental shift in the way governance has been done in Africa for a long time. It will require true selflessness beyond party, tribal or national lines. It will mean breaking against party, regional and historic allegiances and doing what is best for everyone, not just the biggest or most powerful side. It will mean negotiating hard for the interests of the people, and not being intimidated by foreign powers or external pressure on matters of national or regional importance.

Magafulism has raised the bar extremely high for African leadership, and was well overdue. For now it remains to be seen just how many current African leaders will truly rise up to the challenge?

Festive Banter: Discussing the Politics in Malawi with Family


So the festive season is well underway, and one peak (Christmas) has just passed. Another is on the horizon. But as is the case for many people, Christmas being a celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, is traditionally also the time that one meets with friends and family. Inevitably, such meetings involve a whole lot of banter.

Yesterday evening I found myself in the good and friendly company of two gentlemen who form part of my extended family and who live just outside of Manchester. Even though their families live about 10 -12 minutes drive away from my place, I’d not seen them and their families for months, and was keen to catch up with them. The two gentlemen are sensible folk, educated (in Malawi and the UK) and hold good degrees from  good Universities. They are both employed in excellent professions, and I look up to them.

Predictably, at some point during the chat, talk turned to events in Malawi. A few notable and interesting points in our discussion are worth highlighting, and I’ve tried to capture them below:

1. The plunder of Public Resources in Malawi couldn’t solely be the doing of the current PP government, its officials, or civil servants who are PP supporters.

So, the public officials who have been caught in  the act, how many are they across the country? How long have they been embezzling funds from government coffers? They must have noticed their seniors embezzling or involved in some theft for the theft to become endemic? Surely you can’t just get into a system and begin stealing unless you’ve seen others doing it? But surely they couldn’t all have been PP supporters? Or were they?

2. There is a bad culture in Malawi that puts pressure on Politicians to give handouts (cash, live stock, clothes and suchlike)

As far as we could tell, this culture began after Bakili Muluzi and others started campaigning under UDF, when the 1993 referendum had voted overwhelmingly in favour of multi-party politics in Malawi.

During our discussion, the term ‘Bakilism’ popped up, which I thought was quite appropriate because before this, no politician in Malawi’s one party dictatorship of Dr Kamuzu Banda had publicly sought support from the people by offering gifts of money. In preparation for the elections, it is widely known that Muluzi borrowed large sums of money from well-wishers and others, in order to finance the election. In the process, patronage began to be bought, and even though Muluzi is known to have been a genuinely kind man, the ‘distribution’ of money to chiefs, movers and shakers and the masses (before and after the election) went a bit too far. The result is that from then onwards, chiefs, supporters and others who come to political rallies expect politicians to give them money or some other handouts.

This cultural shift has become so bad that if a politician does not spend money, giving to chiefs, village headmen or the people, the politician is branded as stingy, and will lose support of these chiefs who are usually very influential in the rural areas. Apparently, a number of people have lost primaries and subsequent election as independent candidates precisely because of this, so much so that there are politicians in Malawi unconcerned about policy but wholly concerned about offering money or handouts.

In another form, there are an increasing number of people who will not even attend free charitable or educational events unless there is an allowance to be received.

3. Joyce Banda may have taken advantage of this bad culture in travelling extensively to distribute livestock, money, houses, etc.

Where exactly is the demarcation between the Malawian president doing something for the national good (i.e. for the people, whether they support the PP party or not) or doing it in order to gain support for herself as a PP presidential candidate (for the 2014 elections) and the PP political party?

In other words, taking the example of the Mudzi Transformation Trust, is it only PP supporters who benefit from the gift of a new house, livestock, or cash-handouts, or are non-PP supporters eligible for the program/ handouts?

The reason why this question must be answered is that if it is government funds which are being used for the Mudzi Transformation Trust, then it would be illegal (i) if only PP supporters are benefitting from the initiative (because government funds are not only for PP) and (ii) it would be illegal for Joyce Banda to use her position as president to portray a false image that it’s the PP party (as opposed to the Malawian government) which is funding the initiative, all in the name of votes.

4. Corruption, greed and a ‘Self-centeredness’ within Malawian governments (past and present) are partly caused by low salaries and low pensions

Salaries in Malawi are generally low, and while politicians earn considerably more than the average civil servant, given the high cost of living, and ‘adopted lifestyles’ when people get into public office, the salaries are quite small compared to global standards ( if such a thing can be said to exist)

So, post-cashgate, imagine if a cabinet minister or government official knew that after his successful, honorable and commendable stint as a minister / government official he would be guaranteed a decent pension; in such circumstances, would the minister / official still be under pressure to ‘self-enrich’ ( see examples of ministers awarded contracts, here  and here) at the expense of the tax payer,  donors or national development initiatives?

Let us assume that during his public service, the official  or minister has achieved some measurable and remarkable achievements in the national good, achievements that have developed and tangibly improved Malawi. During that time, there has not been a single act of impropriety, nepotism, self-enrichment, corruption , fraud, or any act that could be said to have created a conflict of interest and tarnished his reputation or integrity; that the official has done his job extremely well.

Don’t you think in such circumstances, there would be a stronger interest for the officials to abide by the rules, and do things cleanly, if it is known that a ~ US$500 a month (which is considerable in a country where the majority of the population, including most civil servants earn less than $200 a month) ‘state pension’ or prize for the following 10 years after exemplary service was awaiting them?

In our discussion, my family members appeared to think this way, and I agree, although not without reservations; Since we are nowhere near the day when politicians / officials in Malawi will do their job properly irrespective of allowances or any financial reward, and since we are nowhere near the day when there will be strong institutions that govern against impropriety, nepotism, self-enrichment, corruption , fraud, or any act that could be said to have created a conflict of interest  I’d say this proposal is a pretty good alternative, for now.

Because while an excellent president can stake their hopes on the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Prize and other such commendatory prizes for presidential excellence, there’s very little else that rewards good public service of an official, or at ministerial level or even for a civil servant such as a nurse working in a government hospital.

Thus, since politicians will generally spend a lot of money to get nominated, in their capacity as MP’s, ministers or top officials, as has been explained in point 2 above, there is a constant pressure to make money not only for self (after their stint in government / public service), but also for ‘distribution’ in consolidating power and maintaining support.

It sounds like an excuse for plunder, but it isn’t.

5. The Malawian government would be best advised to invest money in international markets, on behalf of a State Pension Fund similar to the proposed initiative above.

As an example, if such a fund had been created in 1980 (during the one party dictatorship), and had invested US$1 million into Apple Computer Inc, that investment according to this link would have been worth $144 million in August 2011.

And in case you think the concept of Dr Banda’s dictatorship (maybe via an investment arm of Press Corporation) purchasing shares in a fast growing American company is too far-fetched to be plausible, what about say in 1997, when the internet age had already began, and during the presidency of Bakili Muluzi, if the Malawian government invested $1 million into Apple Inc? According to this link on the Los Angeles Times, that investment would in April 2010 have been worth ~ $58 million, like above, considerable sums which can sustain hundreds of top performing civil servants for a number of years. Another source on MSN money here agrees.

While some people think the new pension tax reforms (some more info here) are detrimental to pension funds, my point is that a huge and sustainable Pension Fund can be created by smart investments in a number of promising or fast growing industries.

In our time, clean energy (including Biofuels) , companies developing new super materials and other techie outfits are most probably a good bet to buy into, and the best of these will only increase in value in the nearby future. While I’m not an investment analyst, I know that the trick is spotting them early.

Other Pension funds across the world are already investing into technology, an act which could realise them huge financial rewards in the coming years. Among such Pension Funds investing into technology is the Government Pension Fund of Norway, one of the largest Pension Funds in the world.

But of course hindsight is a great thing…

6. Malawian leaders are appointing the wrong people into positions of power, to gain political support, and not necessarily based on merit

Are you elevating someone to a ministerial level or to become vice president because they are capable individuals, and can achieve important goals for the national good, or are you doing it because you want to win an election?

The view reflected in our discussion was that people like Chris Daza (I don’t know him), who are smart and have been exposed, should be utilised in positions where they will be most effective, and not just be ‘appendaged’ to the cabinet for public relation’s sake.

Further, on this same point, as I have laboured on this blog several times, my family agrees that Joyce Banda is surrounded by the wrong kind of advisers, so much so they think Malawian political advisers (both in the ruling party and opposition parties) are some of the worst in the world. It’s the bad decisions, which are clearly having a negative effect on governance, and apparently, even educated folk, who should know better, and whose decisions should reflect their knowledge, are sadly behaving uncharacteristically, to the detriment of the country.

On a similar note, despite the much-lauded new leadership, there has not been a clear manifesto of development from ranks of MCP. In fact Lazarus Chakwera is being accused – by some of his former henchmen – of being too reliant on his church advisers than on his political advisers. DPP has been largely silent over the Cashgate scandal, and few people know what their development plan is, besides trying to finish what Bingu started. Peter Mutharika has not given out a clear economic plan of what DPP will do, why they will do such, and the actual (not estimates plucked out of the air) benefit of such a plan. Even the noise that UDF has been making lately has not been heard far enough, and their economic plan is also questionable. All in all, there was a general dissatisfaction with the actual substance each of the political parties were offering for the 2014 elections.

7. The way Aid is provided in Africa requires a fundamental shift

Picture this; say the DFID, who it must be said do an incredible job in third world countries (see these amazing pictures on Flickr), have identified the need for a hospital in rural Kasungu, in the central region. Why can’t Parliament empower aid organisations to be able to put out a tender, and disburse the funds of the construction of the hospital directly to the constructor, and not via government bank accounts? Wouldn’t that ensure that aid gets to where it is needed most? Wouldnt that minimise the probability of embezzlement of funds?

I believe in view of the Cashgate Scandal, procurement rules should be changed to ensure that as many of the loopholes in public expenditure are closed shut. A part of this process must involve institutions, including aid organisations working directly with the people, bypassing the arms of the government mostly at risk.

8. There is an accute lack of high calibre leadership in Malawi

As I stated here, the quality of leadership is a big problem in Malawi. And while on paper some politicians look good, when you meet them and talk to them, you quickly realise they are not leadership material. Not in a JFK or Kwame Nkrumah visionary kind of way. That is a worrying indictment for Malawi because it seems our politicians are not getting better, instead they are getting worse… and how can you expect excellence from ill-equipped leaders who are ill-prepared for leadership?

9. It’s encouraging to see more younger politicians vying for public office

The likes of Sosten Gwengwe, James Nyondo, even Atupele Muluzi (and others mentioned here) could spell the dawn of a new age of Malawian politics. Malawi needs more young people in politics, and far less old people than is currently the case.

Let the oldies, the likes of Harry Thomson, retire to the villages, to undertake farming, advise younger and upcoming politicians, teach culture to the younger generation, and generally be a non-political force for unity and cohesion within communities in Malawi, dependable pillars of wisdom in the community, and not dabble about in politics.

10. Malawi needs a civil war

This is a hard one, and I don’t agree with this point at all. But one of my family members mentioned it as something he heard in a discussion with someone else. I have encountered this view several times now, and while I’m not fully convinced that we’ve tried everything else to rectify the problems that we have in Malawi, some people think that for the poisonous culture, greed and rampant corruption to be completely rooted out, a war must happen…. effectively a blood sacrifice. I’m not too sure about that.

All in all, an interesting discussion.


Slow Justice: delays / inaction of Malawi’s institutions symptomatic of a weak democracy?

There’s a bad habit in Malawi of authorities sitting on cases  (in which shady dealings or suspect conduct had taken place) and piling them on the shelf for years and years. This almost intrinsic dormancy does not only affect formal legal cases. Even others which are strictly speaking neither before a court of law nor pending investigations of impropriety (but are nonetheless issues which in any decent democracy would call for investigations) are simply ignored, or at least not attended to. In Malawi, depending on who is in power, people often get prosecuted only after a new leader hostile to the old regime comes into power. At least that’s what seems to have been happening in the past.

And it’s not because there are no competent bodies to do the investigation or order the prosecutions (there is the Anti-corruption Bureau, the Judiciary or even the Public Affairs Committee to highlight wrongdoing). Yet more often than not, you find issues which should have been investigated or cases which should  have been brought to an end dragging on for years and years, when it is clear (or the suspicions are somewhat overwhelming) that wrongdoing may have occurred.

Obviously, such a state of affairs is undesirable and can only mean one or more of a number of things:  (i) A weak democracy with weak institutions incapable of competently undertaking their jobs for the benefit of Malawians – an unattractive market to any investor. or  it can mean (ii) Political interference obstructing the course of justice – making the market even more unattractive to investors ; or (iii) Under-resourced or overstretched institutions failing to allocate resources or cope with workload …

Among the cases / suspicious issues which call for investigation or are yet to be concluded in Malawi are the following:-

  • Bingu Wa Mutharika’s unexplained wealth  (see another source here)
  • Bingu’s relationship with Mota-Engil
  • Malawi: Ex-President Muluzi’s corruption trial – this trial has had some severe delays partly due to Muluzi’s ill health, and at one point last year, the then head of ACB couldn’t make a court date because he had to appear before a magistrate for a matter the ACB director had been arrested over. (see another source here and additional / alleged charges against Muluzi here)
  • Pioneer Chemicals saga which named Goodall Gondwe (never mind his latest turn back into politics) was dropped by the ACB with little explanation other than that ACB lacked evidence. Why then did ACB make the allegation in the first place?? What did they see or hear that drove them to make the allegation?
  • Patricia Kaliati – Nyika Corruption saga   (See another report here. A further corruption case against Kaliati here)
  • Apollo International fiasco in which Ken Lipenga has some explaining to do
  • Fertiliser subsidy saga which raises possibilities of conflicts of interests affecting cabinet ministers in Joyce Banda’s government
  • The Midnight six – how can people who plotted what was effectively a coup in a democracy be dealt with so leniently? Will they be let off the hook? Will they go to prison? Will the President pardon them? Something doesn’t add up…
  • The Paladin Kayelekera Uranium issue  (see other links here and here).  While Paladin has denied any involvement in paying bribes, to me two questions still remain: How could the government have signed such a bad contract with little or no benefit to Malawi – and how could such an action be justified as being in the interest of Malawians? (ii) Secondly, which Fraud/ Corrupt company ever admitted to paying bribes or doing wrong? (See related document about Paladin’s activities / transparency record here: Radioactive Revenues)
  • Mathews Chikaonda and Hitesh Anadkat –  the K320 million corporate scam, in which investors lost money, and which was alleged to have been a case of insider trading. However, as most Malawians know, president Joyce Banda has a close relationship with the duo, and in one instance was pictured wearing attire with colours of FMB, the bank in which Anadkat is the Vice Chairman.  The scandal was reported on Nyasa Times on March 6, 2012, although interestingly, the story has since been deleted – reinforcing some of the things people on social media have been saying about Nyasa Times’ lack of impartiality. Luckily for those of us who know how to hack our way around the web,  a cached version (which we have downloaded in full) is still available on google (accessible via  this link), as can be seen below:


  • Dr Kamuzu Banda’s estate – was it really all legally obtained? Don’t Malawians deserve to know? In the bbc article, the writer says a missing death certificate is the reason why overseas financial institutions will not release the information regarding his accounts. My question is this:  if there was genuine leadership in Malawi, wouldn’t it be in the interest of the country, for the government (or the appropriate authority / hospital) to request the issue of another replacement death certificate, to audit the source of Banda’s wealth??
  • Then there are alleged cases of corruption mentioned in links such as these , which names late Aleke Banda, Cassim Chilumpha, Bakili Muluzi, the current vice president Khumbo Kachali and the president herself.

Reading all these allegations, it makes one wonder, if there wasn’t an investigation at the time when the cases were reported, if no one was prosecuted, and there was no clear clarification / acquittal, what hope would there be today of ending graft in Malawi?

In almost every advanced country in the world, institutions such as Anticorruption bodies and the judiciary operate independently of the government. If an official or politician commits what is clearly a crime or is involved in some kind of shady conduct, the courts in collaboration with investigators and the media will often get to the bottom of the matter, irrespective of whether the politician / official belongs to the ruling party or some power bloc.

This fact alone is probably one of the best indicators of a healthy democracy.

But in most African countries, this kind of thing doesn’t happen. Rather, one’s liability to prosecution is influenced by how many friends they keep in high political office, the police , the judiciary and suchlike.

How then can our democracies in Africa progress if our institutions are not genuinely independent of the powers that be?

So, on top of all that pile of cases add Cashgate to the list with its many complex scandals (most recently see  here)…and it starts to become clear that the road to a functional democracy in Malawi, one with effective  institutions that operate independent of the government, will be a very long one…