Retelling the tale of the mouse trap: Malawians’ attitude of it’s-none-of-our-business

Part A:           Cometh a mysterious package

One day, the story goes, a mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opens a package.

What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered, salivating with anticipation.

He was however devastated to discover that it was, of all things, a mousetrap! Quickly retreating to the farmyard, the mouse bellowed out this warning:

There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

Mousetrap with mouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mousetrap with mouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said,

Mr. Mouse, I can tell that this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

Dejected, but undeterred by the chicken’s I-don’t-give-a-heck-attitude, the mouse turned to the pig and told him,

There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The pig sympathized, but said,

I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but honestly, there is nothing I can do about it but pray.  Be assured brother mouse that you will be in my prayers.”

The mouse, not at all discouraged, turned to the cow and said,

There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!”

The cow said,

Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose. That is your call, I am afraid. Mouse traps do not hurt cattle.”

Well, what to do?

The mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone.

Part B:           The Trap works too well…

That very night, a sound was heard throughout the house and the farmer’s wife rushed to see what had been caught in the trap.

But since it was dark, she could not see what exactly it was. As she edged closer and closer, her curiosity increasing, she felt a sharp bite on her leg.

Apparently, a venomous snake had been caught in the trap by the tail, leaving its head and its deadly fangs bared to attack the enemy it could not see. The farmer’s wife collapsed.

Part C:            The Central Medical Stores add to the misery…

The farmer rushed her to the hospital where unfortunately, due to the inefficiencies (and corruption too) rampart and endemic at the medical stores, they had no anti-venom in stock for snake bites.

He therefore returned with his sick wife home who, by now was running a high fever.

Part D: There is hope, yet…

It is common knowledge that nothing beats a fever better than fresh chicken soup. And so, the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

And lo, that was the end on the “nonchalant” chicken.

But his wife’s sickness continued.

As happens in Africa, friends, neighbours and “anthu aku mphakati” came to join them during this trying time. They stayed with them at the farm-house making a vigil – around the clock.

What do I feed them?” pondered the farmer.

He butchered the “sympathetic” pig. And why not, after all the pig had been praying for the mouse not itself thinking it was beyond danger.

But, as luck or rather as bad luck would have it, the farmer’s wife still did not get well.

Part E:            More deaths and a funeral on the farm

The farmer’s wife, I am sorry to say Ladies and Gentlemen, died after putting up a good fight against the snake’s venom.

The farmer being a man of good standing and reputation in the nine villages and beyond was not alone in his sorrow. Many people came for the funeral.

How do I feed them all?”

It was now the cow’s call.

The farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them for the funeral luncheon. And with great sadness, watching from the safety of a crack in the wall was the mouse who had been told off by the chicken, prayed for by the pig, and heckled by the cow.

Lessons galore for Malawi:

There have been many “messengers of doom” in the history of Independent Malawi. The many people alleged and reported to have been “fed to crocodiles” had been warned beforehand that the Lion they were pampering, would have them for breakfast.

They never heeded the warnings, thinking that such fate would befall others. I will leave this at that.

After the “Lion of Malawi” came the “Political Engineer”. The men who created the political engineer, some of whom include Sam Mpasu, Brown Mpinganjira, Cassim Chilumpha PhD, and Justin Malewezi PhD suffered one way or another at the hands or from the machinations of the political engineer sooner or later. Their crime, ignoring the mouse’s warning. Again, I will leave this at that.

Then came “Economic Engineer” – and by thundering typhoons, what an engineer! While one Ken Zikhale Ng’oma has yet to convincingly tell the story of how and why he feels he was cheated out of his share of Chinese loot; Uladi Mussa, Gwanda Chakuamba, Ralph Kasambara, Henry Phoya, and others who practically carried the Economic Engineer on their bended backs between 2005 to 2009 were dumped like used condoms.

And now, we have the incumbent.

People, mainly our illustrious media, have written about the mouse trap called corruption. John Kapito – our own esteemed mouse – even went to the extent of organizing one of the least patronised marches earlier this year citing corruption as one of the issues.

For many people, like the chicken, pig and cow in the parable above, it was business as usual and none of their concern. Some even prayed for John Kapito.

Take it from me Ladies and Gentlemen, “muvi woyang’anira umalowa mmaso”. It is not for donors, who contribute only 40% against the tax payers 60% to the budget to stop corruption in government.

The fight is your fight.  This is your call.

While the donors, like the mouse, are now amplifying the message on the presence of the “mouse trap”; it is the responsibility of all Malawians, regardless of their current party affiliation to re-think – soberly – so as to vote wisely in 2014.

Any by the way, while you are at it spread the message about the “mouse trap” in the house to other Malawians who still think that the mouse trap is none of their business.

Good day /Good evening to you all, and take heed: there is a mouse trap in the house!

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