You would think after the ridicule this country faces, people would become more aggressive at bringing change and disrupting that status quo. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and, as a country, complacency has become a habit.
We go through the same cycle over things that can easily be handled once and for all. The same bridges wash away every year, the same locations get flooded, the same departments misplace money, the same auditors reveal the same corruption and fraud cases, the national budget comes with the same ‘surprises’ and blackouts intensify at the same period of the year and the list goes on.
And then we have all these occasions where new systems, rules and regulations are announced then called off because people have reacted. Why is there no civic education before they come in? For instance, Sim card registrations comes in as mandatory, people queue for days and leave their other activities and then it is cancelled. Road Traffic fines are revised, announced and then cancelled. One wonders what sort of Tom-and-Jerry games are being played sometimes and what the ‘invisible hand’ is really trying to achieve.
We have disasters that happen and they are not mitigated early enough to the point of literal pandemonium such as the bloodsucking saga. I am particularly interested in this topic today in terms of our complacency habit because the bloodsucking saga was not treated with the intensity and sensitivity it needed to be treated with. And it has continued to be a problem.
The issue was left with too many loose ends and done away with like it was a simple issue a few months back. Now here we are talking about it again. It was beyond shocking to learn that a Capital FM journalist was attacked along with three British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalists in Karonga on suspicion that they were bloodsuckers. They were attacked in a barbaric manner and along with the attack their equipment was stolen by the mob.
Now, before we even get to bloodsucking suspicion, we need to do away with unwarranted mob justice: be it on theft, witchcraft or any other order of business. By unwarranted I mean attacks that are based on a belief or a suspicion other than evidence and the fact that others join in just for the ‘morale’ of the moment without background. It is common knowledge that the elderly have been victimised based on unwarranted beliefs and people living with albinism have also fallen victim to different beliefs that have led to bodily harm and murder.
As a country, we should really be worried about that people are able to just stop whatever they were doing and jump into a violent bandwagon incident that leaves others severely injured or dead without having facts or evidence at hand. This is a matter of great concern. Even on a day in the middle of town, a small fracas will have a large group of people gathered within seconds gawking or joining it.
Back to bloodsucking, what civic education has been there over bloodsucking? Because it is clear that there are still people out there who believe a foreign-looking person carrying a piece of equipment they are not familiar with is a bloodsucker. This is a classic case of sheer ignorance – argumentum ad ignorantium. The fact that there is no contrary evidence allows people to make claims that appeal to their ignorance. Why are we not filling in the blanks? Why are we not providing the contrary evidence to the beliefs? What are we waiting for?
Some have argued that the visitors were conducting their business without the village chief’s knowledge. I agree this is our culture here; nonetheless, there is no justification for the attacks on suspicion of bloodsucking. The attack is an international embarrassment that will make the country look like it is made up of a bunch of ignorant barbarians. This is not good for the country on many levels and even on the simplest level of humanity.
Let us wake up and act. Let there be civic education. This complacency is leading us to ruins and it should not be entertained.
I rest my case.
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