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This one is for Vakabu

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We of the Crew are at the peak of our happiness; the demon that has made thousands of people suffer at the hands of our boot-donning pals, the police, has finally gone out of existence.

It is a fact that, to some extent, the law controlled the proliferation of crime. But the fact is that Rogue and Vagabond [Vakabu] law was largely abused by law enforcers.

There is talk that some overzealous police officers could go to the extent of witch-hunting their foes – those that they differed with for even petty reasons of kulandana mahule and kumanana mowa.

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There are times when a man and woman (even married ones) could be picked up while peacefully sleeping in a rest house, at times even being disturbed in the course of doing the busy ‘sweetos’ of matrimonial nature or fulfilling ‘prostitutional’ obligations.

Yet Rogue and Vagaband was supposed to be about those “who fail to give a convincing answer to the law enforcers,”about what they were doing at a given place and time, and those who did not have proper identity documents’. Yet, our brothers, sisters and even Crew members were being subjected to Vakabu for simply being found in or around drinking places, or even in those rooms behind pubs, like those that are near old Blantyre Bus Stands, or the famous rest houses at Lunzu, Kachere, Chigwirizano, Luwinga, or Mangochi Boma.

“You came and you have gone, we hope that someone will not replace you with another archaic law that will inherit your reputation of brutality. We hope indeed it is the end of you, but it is also our hope that some useless guys in town will not take advantage of your going [to join your fellow draconian laws], to steal from innocent citizenry and businesses,” says ‘Atsogoleri’ Rob M.

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This indeed sparks laughter from the bulk of the Crew.

Paja adakugwiranipo kwa Kamba a Vakabu eti [I forgot you were once or twice picked for rogue and vagabond]!” mocks Lackson.

More laughter and more orders are placed to dress the tables.

And two smartly dressed ladies join the talk of the Crew.

“If there are people that are singing praises over this development – the ejection of Vakabu laws, it’s us, the so called ‘Night Queens’. We have our peace and we will conduct our ‘business’ better – just imagine, there are times we were forced to have sex with anthu a Vakabu to buy our freedom! There were also times when we could pat ways with our hard earned cash kudziteteza [asking to be spared]. It was indeed tough; we felt like foreigners in our country,” says one of the ladies, calling herself Asiyatu.

Her friend, introducing herself as Pamela, claps hands in support while doing the unexpected— asking the bartender to give each customer in the bar a beer of his or her choice.

“We have to drink in honour of this victory — a victory for us all — as we were all candidates of police cells, via Vakabu, long live democracy, long live Gwanda, that vendor of Limbe! And, on that, let me say, wherever you are, Gwanda, we owe you a favour, be it a crate of beer or a night with any of us within the bounds of a room in a lodge or rest house. Don’t cower, just ask for it, you get it!” She exclaims.

And we all dance for that offer, we, in the Crew, want to meet you our Gwanda, our man of the year, come fast…the ladies are waiting for you!

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