MPs’ greed as old as the African man
| January 14th 2013
By Ted Malanda
What’s all these fury about MPs giving themselves a few perks and throwing in a nice State funeral? African men have been doing that sort of thing since time immemorial. Where I come from, a man owns everything in his homestead, including his wife, even when he has never given her father a goat in bride price.
He is the one who decides which chicken should be slaughtered, even though he has no idea what the chicken eat and has never swept their droppings. Although his role is limited to pointing out which chicken should be slaughtered, the choice meats are reserved for him. He wolfs down the gizzard, the back and the drumstick while his wife nibbles on a bony breast and his children suck the bird’s gnarled feet.
In some instances, women don’t even touch chicken — and mutton and the sweet game meats that he occasionally brings home.
In that house, he is allocated the best seat, nearest to the door, because it offers the best view — away from the kitchen smoke. The radio is his and in the event that the family has a TV, his seat is positioned to give him the best view.
While he enforces rules with an iron fist, he is notorious for breaking them. He comes and goes when he pleases and no one questions him, although he questions everyone about everything.
The so-called head of the family will rant for hours if his wife ‘misuses’ cooking oil but will not allow discussion when he squanders the sugarcane harvest with a wench at the local market. He drinks like a fish but demands that his wife remains sober.
He will sow his seed liberally across six village market centres but will commit murder if his wife bears a child with ‘strange’ ears.
He will bring his illegitimate children into his home and demand that his wife raises them but would never buy a sweet for his wife’s child from a previous relationship.
In bed, he sleeps nearest the door because that is the best spot to get into and out of bed. He makes love to his wife when he wants, not when she wants. He blames her for getting pregnant, but wouldn’t be bothered to sheath up.
When he dies, he gets a state funeral that impoverishes the family. But the long suffering family gets their revenge when maggots joyfully receive the tender meat of a man who spent all his life fattening himself at the expense of family.
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