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ColumnsTalking Blues

Hypocrisy of a contrite thief

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One night, a thief was on rampage. After scouting the neighbourhood, he picked a target.

Expertly, he picked the lock and broke in. The living room had nothing valuable; the only item he soothed himself with was an antique wall clock.

It found its way inside a sack he carried.

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He went into the next room. Neither did it have anything worthy stealing except for a couple of toys.

He threw them into the sack.

These would buy a meal or two. If fenced at the right price, he could even afford a couple of beers and tobacco.

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He could have quit but decided that since he was already in, there was no harm in searching further.

Unknown to him, another burglar had broken into the house earlier and hearing him, was hiding in the pantry, holding his breath and praying.

From a hole in the pantry’s door, the hiding housebreaker was observing the intruder’s moves, hoping for a chance to escape. Seeing the man pick things and load them into a sack, he realised that this was not the behaviour of a house owner, but of a fellow robber.

What to do? Confront him? Noise could wake up the house owners and both of them would get caught.

Not an appealing prospect.

Ambush him? What if this fella panicked and yelled? This also risked waking up the house dwellers.

Off into the dustbin this option went.

Hide and wait till he went? Not an option; the hombre looked thorough; he would sweep all goodies and leave him zilch.

“Totally unacceptable,” he murmured to himself.

Blues’ Orators, if thieves are blessed with anything, it is the uncanny ability to think on their feet.

Instinct took over and the hitherto hiding thief quietly tiptoed behind the new comer, pounced and blocked his mouth to block any reflexive shout, while whispering: “If you agree to split the loot half-half, we have a deal.”

The other thief had no choice. He agreed and suggested they finish the burglary, share the loot and vamoose.

The duo looted, shared the spoils and off into the night they disappeared.

In folklore, the story ends here with the traditional ‘and they lived happily ever after’.

Sadly, Blues’ Orators, this is no folk tale.

The second thief, the one who had broken-in first but had been interrupted, decided to

return because from his hiding place, he had observed that his interrupter had overlooked a room.

Who knows, this could be where the jackpot was and since he was now alone, whatever riches were there would be 100 percent his, and tax-free too!

Entering the room, he found a mother a sleeping beside her daughter. The mother looked sickeningly thin and the girl, emaciated.

Quickly taking in the scene: unkempt hair, dirty and torn clothes, empty food cans and packets probably scavenged from trash-bins; he realised that he was robbing a widow and her fatherless daughter.

In fact, he had seen them begging in town.

The face of the sleeping woman; even in the moon light, was an unhappy face devoid of hope and dried tears on her cheeks suggested that she had cried herself to sleep.

The dishonour of what he had done bothered him. With his eyes moist, he quietly backed away, utterly appalled with his own greed and behaviour.

You know Blues’ Orators? This is not a folklore.

This transpired in Malawi Parliament the other week. One thief caught another stealing. Instead of doing the right thing, the second thief bargained for a share of the loot and got it.

However, when it dawned upon him that the ‘house’ he had co-ransacked is the manifestation of stinging poverty and hopelessness, he changed his mind.

This was however too late because he had duly validated the burglary.

Now, even without mentioning names, you know the thieves I am talking about, and Blues’ Orators, make no mistake, there is no such a thing as a good thief.

A thief is a thief and can steal in government, church, football clubs, pubs, weddings; practically wherever a window of opportunity opens. A ‘good’ thief is as good as the unicorn, which doesn’t exist. Saying ‘Mr So-so’ is a good thief is in fact an oxymoron.

The worst thing however is a thief who is a hypocrite with a holier-than-thou attitude. This is not only the height of hypocrisy, but outright demonic.

“It is no secret that government, through the Finance minister, was caught red-handed in the act of flouting procedures and violating the law in the acquisition and distribution of K4 billion,” Dr Lazarus Chakwera said, winding-up his contribution to the 2017/18 Mid-Term Budget Review.

“We did not feel that it would be in the nation’s interest for the government to be reduced to a common criminal, for if the State is criminalised, our very republic would collapse. I wish our Finance minister had not put us in such an impossible situation, to choose between his act of criminalising the government illegally and our act to decriminalising the government legally.”

What Malawians expected of Chakwera was not rhetoric, but stopping Goodal Gondwe in his tracks and instituting measures to stop the criminality from ever happening again.

“…and so in the interest of the nation, we have acted to make sure that there is no record in the history of this House that we allowed the illegal act of spending Malawian taxpayers’ money without Parliament approval,” Chakwera continued.

What a load!

If truth be told, Chakwera and his greedy parliamentarians acted only in their own interest. If I am wrong, explain Chakwera’s U-turn via a sidekick.

From the beginning to the end, the east to west, the north and south, the ONLY right thing was a public hearing – leaving the money intact and untouched – until everything was explained.

As it is, Chakwera and his MPs’ conduct makes them no different from the repentant thief.

So shocking.

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