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Tales of time: A drunken nation

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Some weeks ago, we wasted some good time on trivialities on the social media. Most people were busy posting about some South African self-acclaimed prophet who made some bizarre claims to have travelled to heaven and returned. His claims are just as funny as his phallic name.

Then there is another so-called prophet who has really attracted unnecessary attention: Prophet Shepherd Bushiri—if you are interested in the name. Recently, he has been the topic of discussion mainly centred on whether he is really God-sent or some charlatan who thrives on people’s naivety and desperation. If you listen to the arguments from either camp, you are likely to know that there is no substance and what a proper thinking person should do is to laugh off everything and proceed to conduct other businesses.

What is clearly read in all this empty discussion on these prophets is that we are a nation that wastes most of its energies on petty issues that will not drive us anywhere. And our obsession with ethereal things is so damning such that it even numbs our brains. Even those we believe to be sophisticated have joined this silly war and are really stuck in it. In the end, we will realise that we put to waste out energies, time and thoughts on some things that have a nil addition to our lives.

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I know we have people all over who take pride in participating in useless argument and they do not want to stop. It is a national ulcer that is growing by the day and we do not seem to be bothered by it. We are fast confirming our unenviable record of a nation that has reversed the order of priorities.

The other day, a friend told me how he is always gutted at how most people seem to have sent their heads on vacation such that they cannot think properly and realise what is good even for their personal development, let alone national. He cited the amount of efforts people put to put across the silly notions that one region is blessed with intelligent people, that people belonging to another religion as sex maniacs of the worst kind, that people belonging to a certain tribe are by nature arrogant, that people belonging to this or that race are snobbish and the like. I agree with him entirely that this is baseless and laughable.

I am one of those people who believe that our state of arrested development is to be blamed on politicians. But a deeper analysis tells me that we are all to blame because our thinking is clouded by our tribalism, religious extremism, superstitions and many other things that appear elsewhere other than in our mental faculties. And we are very lacking when it comes to discipline.

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If you are looking for examples on how we do things the improper way, then you should not wander farther than looking at the picture that has been circulating on the social media this week. In it, there are uniformed police men and a civilian woman busy drowning their sorrows in beer. Honestly, I am not an inch surprised seeing police officers guzzling liquor while on duty and clad in office attire. I have seen them numerous times and it became a common sight to me. They even go out drinking while carrying guns.

These officers, like it or not, are just unfortunate that someone decided to take a shot at them but they are not the only ones that mess up big time. If there is one government department that really needs serious discipline, I always say, it is the police. Their blatant corruption on our roads is so disturbing and easily leaves one with a belief that their presence is to fleece people other than control traffic.

It is pretty ironic that people whose profession demands utmost discipline are often on the lead behaving out of order.

But these purportedly drunken police officers represent our national psyche. We do not take pride in the little things we have, we do not respect our jobs and not most of us seem to forget that we have great responsibility on our shoulders.

Once upon a time—it must be in 2014—I was on duty to cover President Peter Mutharika at Sanjika Palace. I still recall with disturbed memory what I saw there. The guards at the gate had forced some schools girls to kneel and put their hands up as punishment for passing close to the game. I still do not understand why the guards could behave this way. Probably they were drunk as well. Here we are talking of guards to a state residence who are, for Christ’s sake, supposed to act exemplary.

All I am saying is that we do things strangely and we are a laughing stock. We need some serious national conscience renewal. Otherwise, like those cops on the picture, we will always be known as a drunken nation.

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