[By Michael B Munyimba]
Chibuku, I mean typical Chibuku, used to be very popular in Zambia in our time long ago.
Bottled stuff such as Mosi were not just few but expensive to most of us and industry-packaged beverages such as Shake Shake only came later in years. The Chibuku that we drunk was sold in half-cut ‘Saladi’ (cooking oil containers in taverns).We would surround the tin in groups of even up to 15, and the tin would be passing from one filthy mouth to the other!
And thinking about it now, it was so disgusting one can vomit at the thought of it. It was not just filthy, but also a risk because you wouldn’t even know if some imbecile amongst you was vomiting or spitting in the tin when they picked it up. Others would have contagious diseases that could easily be transmitted through the sharing of the tin, but who cared! But that’s not my point. You see, usually there would only be one or two buyers in the entire group. But that’s not my point, you see, usually, there would only be one or two buyers in the entire group. Do you know what used to happen? I am aware it’s still happening, though at a much lower level in the ghetto.
A broke lad, like I would join the group, but the way he, or I, would be gulping the stuff would be amazing. You would wonder whether it was the fish that swallowed Jonah in the ‘Baibele’, or the other way round. Drinking like tomorrow was not going to come, such that by the time he’s putting the tin on the ground, it would look like a dehydrated elephant had a sip in it. Do you know why? Because the guy wouldn’t be sure if another tin would come.
Ah, yaja ma days were bad mwandi, and ninsi we are busy just drinking vima saliva of each other ka; na vima desease. I actually lost a lot of friends and fiends – or enemies if you wish me to use big words…kekekeke.
Let me tell you, this Chibuku was actually stored in drums at the tavern whose unscrupulous owners even threw human body parts believed to be usually private organs like…iyayi, let me not say, bene Kabesha Mulilo banga kumange (let me not mention the parts, lest I be incarcerated by the Attorney General himself for indecency…kekekeke). I’m not diverting from the story, just be focused; I’m gonna revert there shortly. Yes, humans can go so far to make money!
Just recently, a friend narrated to me how a bar owner on the Copperbelt visited a sangoma (witchdoctor) seeking some concoction to popularise his ‘dying’ bar. The traditional doctor advised the imbecile to bring human blood. But the bar owner couldn’t gather enough courage to shed human blood, so he slaughtered a dog and took its blood there. But the sangoma was not stupid, he asked him many times if that was truly human blood, and the man said yes. And so it was, the son of the devil, the sangoma, went ahead and weaved a concoction that he gave him to take with. But two days later, he got a call from his barman saying he was urgently needed at the bar because there was a problem.
That’s how the guy rushed there, lo and behold, guess what he found there, the entire bar was flooded by dogs! All dogs in the compound and nearby arears had assembled at his bar, both inside and outside. He had used their blood. I’m told the guy ran mad, but I’m not sure if he’s still alive; all this was for the desire for wealth! What a world…kekeke.
But forget about all that, my emphasis was on how a guy would join your Chibuku gang and drink your stuff like there was no tomorrow. And in the process, the guy would get so drunk, more than the buyers and would start vomiting, blacking out before the buyer or owner of the money he’s drinking. The question you are asking is why someone would do that. It’s simple actually- insecurity, not knowing where the other tin of Chibuku will come from, and if another one will ever come. Typical of us humans! When our future is uncertain, we go to extremes in our effort to secure ourselves, our lives, and in our desperation, we could end up in danger or in problems. And in the process, we could place the lives of others at risk. That’s when you see a bus driver or conductor striving to pocket more of the bus takings than the owner of the bus, shopkeepers stealing so much to the point of collapsing the shop and nurses stealing
drug supplies to the detriment of the people they chose to serve! Why are we so selfish or self-centred? Why would one person want to own 49 upper-class houses worth US $33 million? Houses that, on their own give you K3 Million a month, and over 400 giant trucks, a dozen offshore accounts, giant conglomerates, women all over the world and money from gross corruption and mismanagement of public funds just because they were granted the privilege to be custodians of public funds? People crave to acquire wHat they don’t even need. What are all those billions, houses, trucks and companies for, which even your fourth generation, your great, great grandchildren won’t be able to utilise and exhaust? And these are things that were maliciously
and dubiously acquired? We once had a leader who had acquired 3,000 pairs of luxury shoes and thousands of designer suits, but for what exactly? People like KK left without even a single house, others ‘balelila ama suit…’
The people of Zambia have a question, if the 49 houses were yours and legally acquired, why didn’t you say so right from the start when the investigation started? What was the fear? Why would Zambian people who initially had nothing
suddenly go to Saudi Arabia and acquire permanent citizenship or permanent residence there? The main pre-requisite to do that in that country is that you invest heavily there! Now when such acts are displayed, the world seeks answers as to where and how you got such wealth. That’s why advanced economies such as America will not allow anyone in tropicals (patapatas) to hold big public offices because before they think of serving the masses, their first obligation will be to serve themselves, get new ‘scooners’, cars and houses they never had or dreamed of. And once they taste the fabrique of power, honour and respect, their intuition will make them believe they were God-sent until they are thrown away like trash by the people.
In conclusion, let us not be like the Chibuku lads of old days who when given a chance to have a sip from the tin would want to swallow even the tin itself. As love, tolerance, ubuntu, grace and mercy prevail for those that have plundered public resources, so should justice! Let me go scout for Chibuku at the tavern. Till next Wednesday, adios!
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