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Raining cats, dogs, raincoats

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Words, which are made up of hearts and minds, have a subtle way of putting us in our rightful place.

Words, which can either be the hardest of stones or softest of brushes, are a tool with which we shape our lives.

That is why even the utterance of a single word can, depending on context, give people a picture of who they really are.

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One can pretend to be a giant, only to be ‘sold’ by their own words, which may hint at whether they really are what they claim to be, or simply some diminutive creature that pretends to be what it is not.

Maybe it is something psychological; something innate. Even a change of environment can do nothing to transform some people.

In an ideal case, people have to adapt to situations and environments.

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Well, it seems Lilongwe South East Member of Parliament (MP) Steven Malondera does not see the need to adapt to situations.

He could be one of the people that are used to getting everything on a silver platter.

Given a chance, maybe he would even welcome the opportunity to be included on the Affordable Inputs Programme beneficiaries’ list. It is possible.

It has been raining cats and dogs in the Central Region, including in Lilongwe— where MPs are meeting— and, without doubt, Malondera must have hoped for the best when he left the place he is residing at on the way to Parliament building.

He must have, as he hoped for the best, been ‘surprised’ that it started raining cats and dogs. Surprised is in single quotation marks because nobody would be surprised with rains at this time of the year. According to the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, the wet season became official on October 1 2021 and will remain officially so until sometime in April— which is two months from now.

However, the Lilongwe South East legislator must have missed that information from the good Met Department.

If that were the case, he definitely must have been dwarfed by giant drops of rain falling, like a tonne of bricks, non-stop on his head, shoulders, hands and feet.

Overwhelmed, he must have run, like some impala that has caught sight of a marauding lion in the final moments before launching an attack on it, from the car park of Parliament Building into the chamber where parliamentary business takes place.

Too late. The unhonourable rains soaked him wet.

It sounds ironical that, when everyone knows that it rains in the wet season, the rains took him by ‘surprise’. At a time rains are supposed to be in full flower, an honourable lawmaker is caught by surprise by drops of rain as tall as the long-term vision that is Malawi 2063.

That time, his constituents must have been walking safely under the man-made shade of an umbrella, which are cheap and handy in town. In Limbe, Blantyre, the cost of an umbrella ranges from K1,200 to K6,000— a pittance for a member of Parliament.

But umbrellas are out of the question for Malondera, who prefers raincoats!

And, so, while begging is regarded as a soft conceit by his constituents and people like me, the MP thought asking Parliament for raincoats so that lawmakers, who are too honourable to tolerate the irritating touch of rains— even if it were just one drop— can be putting them on whenever it rains.

The legislator had the temerity to ask the august House to be buying the raincoats for MPs, who must be too poor to afford one.

It was a typical case of MPs being in full flower at begging. Begging is begging even if it is called a ‘request’. Period.

Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe, on the campaign trail, he told would-be voters that, once voted in power, he would ask Parliament to be providing raincoats to all MPs— not just those from the governing party, is it alliance?

Maybe he may have made it a point, on the campaign trail, that he would be an MP who does not look at party colours when proposing issues that touch on the whole nation.

As expected— and as happens when it comes to issues of money and freebies in Parliament— suddenly the voice of reason made no sense to MPs, who must have felt that raincoats are one of the tools for national development and, therefore, a welcome addition to their package of privileges.

That is why, feeling that raincoats are the missing link in their lives, lawmakers embarrassed themselves by entertaining the idea that Parliament should be buying them raincoats.

To make matters worse, Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda assured fellow legislators that he would do the needful; taking the matter to Parliament’s commission for requisite action.

Dear Pain, our MPs have sunk to a new low.

The painful part is that they want the poor man who has been struggling to generate enough money for buying fertiliser—the woman who is staying at a camp in Zomba, Chikwawa and Nsanje after Tropical Storm Ana hit some parts of the country in late January—to pay for the raincoats through taxes the government forcibly squeezes out of us.

So, it is true that oppression is an inter-culture? Yes it is. Just take a look at the inter-culture of parliamentary business to have a full picture of this.

That some houses are lying in ruins, haunted by the storm, is neither here nor there. MPs cannot see that. All they see are raincoats!

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