As did many people around the world, I start this year with a firm resolution to cut down expenditure and to save as much money as possible. The months ahead will be exceptionally challenging. The US economy lost more the 2.6 million jobs last year, yet unemployment is projected to hit double digits soon.
I have been desperate for any good news from home, to cheer the somber outlook, I keep hearing from President Elect Barack Obama. So imagine my discomfort at the pain and hubris that scream out from the article below.
“Police stop Chipata residents from slashing RB’s maize fields The Chipata Municipal council has suspended the slashing of maize on hill slopes until further notice .
The action follows the action by some Chipata residents who yesterday went amok and wanted to slash maize at President Rupiah Banda’s farm after Chipata Municipal Council slashed their maize fields.
Chipata mayor Sinoya Mwale said the council will not continue the program until it convenes a meeting with the affected residents.
Residents whose maize was slashed by the local authority yesterday went on rampage stoning a Hummer belonging to Chipata central Member of Parliament Lameck Mangani, a shop in Navutika and the house belonging to the mayor.
Quick action by Zambia Police who rushed to the area, prevented the irate residents that wanted to protest by slashing maize at the president’s farm.”
In the normal scheme of life, it is inconceivable that a municipal council that develops plans for land use and zoning, would ever find itself slashing the food crops of its impoverished residents, yet here we have all that and a GM Hummer in the picture.
There in lies the curse that affects many African nations, we have a vicious craving for modernity and luxury that can hardly be reconciled with poor circumstances.
Planning for one’s food needs is a basic and fundamental aspect of our existence; the municipal council in this case, should have designated a proportionate area for the growing of food crops. Yet the council and the legislative representative that have failed to establish these basic premises reward themselves, in the case of the representative with a Hummer- US 71,000, 9MPG, a gas guzzling SUV.
In the newly sworn US congress, there is a representative who sleeps, on a camp bed in his congressional office, to save his family and constituency money.
Zambia is projected to experience a food supply deficit this year, imagine how this US congressman would react, if the Hummer driving Zambian Member of Parliament should ever appear before him to appeal for food aid.
Ironically, the CEO of GM the makers of the Hummer had to dump his corporate jet and drove to Washington D.C in a hybrid car from Michigan, on his second visit to ask for a bailout.
As I, therefore, scale down my own expenditure, I wonder if others like the Member of Parliament Mr. Lameck Mangani might be considering scaling down too.