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When politicians master tricks akin to uncle Joseph’s

By Patrick Wachira
Monday, May 4th, 2020
Politicians master tricks.

The story is told of a family of small means that was struggling to put food on the table, but each time the food landed there, Uncle Joseph came calling.

This happened so often that it dawned on the family that the uncle was in the habit of visiting not just during meal times but was doing so consistently.

They devised a plan, a clever one in which they would eat food earlier than normal and if the bloke came, he was to discover, much to his dismay, that there was no food that day.

The plan was executed with precision, so that long before 7pm, which was his expected hour of arrival, the woman and her two children ate their supper and sat by the fireplace, warming themselves.

On schedule

Presently, Uncle Joseph arrived, right on schedule. He was asked to take a seat, which he did as he looked expectantly at his hosts, who avoided looking him in the eye as they knew he faced a long hungry night.

Unable to contain himself, Uncle Joseph asked his sister what was for supper that night, to which she responded that there was no food.

“Oh! Have you people not heard of stone soup? They all said they had never heard of it. Uncle Joseph said he would teach them how to make it.

The boy was asked to fetch two fair-sized stones from the river, which Uncle Joseph said was the key ingredient.

The woman of the house was asked to fill a pot with water and put it on the fire, along with the two stones.

After five minutes, Uncle Joseph asked for some little salt and added it into the water in the pot.

A few minutes later, he asked for some onions, which were promptly brought and added into the strange mix.

A little while later, he asked for tomatoes, then vegetables and finally a little meat.

Long story short, by the time he was done with what he declared to be stone soup, the cooking pot was full of food, which he proceeded to serve to his hosts in a weird tale of reversed roles.

By the time they realised that he had used his bag of tricks, he had eaten to his fill. And the family would talk of the famous stone soup for a long time after that.

Folks, our political class is using the same bag of tricks on us, the ordinary folk.

In this age when I am in danger of being referred to as a couch potato, I watch a lot of TV and I do not recall seeing our politicians rallying the people to help meet the gap wrought by the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

In short, the people are on their own, whether they die of hunger or from loss of livelihoods.

Of course, they are ensconced in their residences, their fridges full of consumables which I hear go hand in hand with toilet tissue (if you know you know!).

In contrast, the folks who braved a bitter morning chill to go and cast their votes for them are in danger of death from starvation, facing the stark choices of whether to spend their prized one hundred bob on face masks or the usual kilo of maize flour and vegetables to grace the family table for the evening meal.

Precisely where is the political class? Ah, but let us not pretend we do not know. We do.

In the last few weeks, we have seen hordes of them carted from dens where some were taking muratina, along with a motley gang of supporters.

One MP was caught in precisely this sort of situation. It was gratifying to see him heave his bulk to get atop the back of a police Land Cruiser. I hope he spent the night in a cell.

Closer home, dads and moms are finding out the hard way that they are paying the price for their truancy, which has come back to haunt them through their own offspring. 

Paying the price

Ask me. The way my mum used to wonder what has happened to slices of bread during the day, long after breakfast is the same thing happening in my house.

And this happens mostly when you sit outside to read a book. By the time you get back indoors, the young folks retreat for their own nap. And you are not the wiser. Stealth is the byword.

History repeats itself. If you are a parent, you are going through the same stress you put your parents through. 

You thought you were very clever. If it is true, that you were actually sly, you now face the same. Under your very roof.

Have a not-so-clever week, folks! – The writer is Special Projects Editor, People Daily