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Numbers lie

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The mentality that “everyone is doing it” that is gloriously chanted when people engage in less-than-honourable activities is driving development down slowly but surely. This mentality is detrimental to progress and engaging in it remains a pathetic caucus that pulls individuals down along with the people that surround them while swiftly dragging the country at large along.

I find it rather funny when people do something commendable or excellent and want to be the only ones standing out and carrying the prize. But when it comes to mediocrity and shoddy business, they embrace the numbers then scramble and squeeze into a less-than-honourable comfort zone.

On a smaller scale (maybe not so small), we can start with the continued littering and waste mismanagement in our towns. We throw out litter from our cars and minibuses and trash from our houses without a single iota of shame. Because everyone is doing it.

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Last I checked, it does not matter how many people do something; if it is not right, numbers will not change the fact. I do not think Balaka turn-off will magically turn into Salima turn-off just because 1,000 decided to take the wrong turn while one proceeded into the right direction. The wrong direction remains the wrong direction.

Moving forward to other instances of this less-than-honourable circus is the increased and alarming rate of moral decay in our society. Everyone is drinking stupid, everyone is sleeping around, everyone is beating up someone, everyone is raping young children, everyone is hacking someone, everyone is harassing someone, everyone is stealing, everyone is bribing someone, everyone is lying and the list is endless. Everyone is apparently “doing it” and what is worse is we proudly justify our wrong actions.

But how safe are these numbers when you lose your job because you have been caught defrauding a customer? What about when you lose your family because you are socially reckless? Better yet, what happens when you lose an arm during a ‘driving while under influence’ accident? Will you enjoy that jail sentence after you hack someone? One thing is for sure, the numbers will not be there and you will not be anywhere near to “safe”.

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The Cashgaters that enjoyed ripping off Malawians are now playing hide-and-seek games and pointing crooked fingers at each other. This is how ironic things done in the misguided safety of numbers turn out. At the end of the day, each suspect will face the trial separately and every single one will experience the jail cell individually.

A good friend of mine said the minute you do something and your conscience does not tag painfully at your soul, you have big problems on your hands. And I agreed. Human conscience is a very important aspect of life and humanity. Conscience is what guides our conduct and our interactions with others.

Without a conscience, you are a dead soul walking in a human body. You are lost. Life has left you. Conscience is what makes everyone human. Conscience does not care about numbers; it cares about your individual sense of right and wrong.

Corruption will not suddenly turn into a world-class development strategy because everyone is doing it. Littering the streets will not turn into a blessing because everyone is doing it. Waste mismanagement will not turn into a miracle because everyone is doing it. It is actually our own children that will catch infections from our hazardous environment on their way from school or when they go to play. At the end of the day, our actions still come back to bite us and bite us hard.

When we steal from our organisations, bribe our way through everything, squander money meant for development projects, we are pulling ourselves further downwards into the stagnant pool of national poverty.

As Malawians, we need to have that individual sense of responsibility that will see us fasten our seat belts at will and not because there are traffic police officers at the next corner. In case of an accident, the injuries one ends up with will have nothing to do with how many people had their seat belts unfastened. And this will cost u as well as our families. Not the police.

At the end of the day, everyone has to be responsible for their own actions and shoulder the consequences of whatever mistakes they make. Everyone has to be responsible for the development of their individual lives and the country at large. There is absolutely no safety in numbers when it comes to responsibility. I guess sometimes numbers lie.

I rest my case.

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