…. The case of the man who was so poor that all he had was money
By “Chief Pilgrim” Canisius Banda
A story is told of one man who sought to govern. He was rustic, a rural man. It is a sad story. The moral of his story should NOT be lost on anyone. The man smelled. There was a repugnance about him. The origins or the motivation of his passion for leadership remain unknown, obscure.
His parentage is a matter of conjecture. But the man was, he existed. He was a beneficiary of the people’s goodwill as they had freely passed on their knowledge to him. But despite his having been educated by the elders, he had begun to claim that he was the smartest in the village.
He had begun to see everyone else as beneath his standing. Like a man in an Ivory Tower, he was aloof. Over time, through trickery, the man had accumulated wealth for himself. Though he had appropriated this wealth from amongst the villagers, it filled him with much pride. He became vain. Though rich, he remained a miserly man.
His major hindrance to ascending to power in the village was this smell of his. It was a very bad smell. The smell was so strong that it was lethal. It was the deadly pungency of this odour of his that repulsed the people. He smelled of tribalism. The people abhorred tribalism.
Every time he attempted to lead them they rejected him, seeing him as anathema to their wellbeing. Every time he followed them for their support, they would scamper, as if from a leper or a confirmed but unquarantined, moving case of coronavirus. They shunned him. Aware of his plight, and giving being our portion and forte, we sought to help him.
This was after he had heard about our powers, and sought our attention. A time came when we visited his house, and offered to stay with him as part of the therapy. We informed him that our remedy for him was going to take a while. We assured him that, nonetheless, it would work.
Expectant, he beamed with joy and happiness, quite like a cancer patient upon hearing of a cure. We told him that our help was at no charge at all; that giving was in our DNA, that all we expected from him was honesty, love and goodwill. And that at no time should he endeavour to deceive the people he sought to lead.
We said to him advising, that when people have secured you, you in turn must secure them. Deodorising him was hard. It was NOT an easy task but in earnest we began our work. You see, our charms have never failed and will never ever fail. Bit by bit we began to deodorise him. Bit by bit he began to learn our ways. And bit by bit his smell lessened.
A time came when he became odorless. He was even heard, in private before family and friends, joyfully acknowledging our talents and skills. It was at this time that out of respect for our Source, we began to burn incense for him. We cloaked him with the finest perfume of servanthood.
Whenever he walked, with us, the people could only pick the incense about him. The perfume. He became attractive. We made him attractive. That is how the people began to follow him. Multitudes followed him. It was as if he had cast a spell on the villagers. His acceptance rate in the village increased. It soared.
We had used a special charm called Chikoka [the magnet] on him. And it worked. Other houses sought our services as we helped him. We declined. We said that we only attended to one house at a time. That was our reason for saying no. We were loyal to him. Loyalty is key to our success.
The man became so popular that the reign of the King at the time was threatened. The King’s hold on power was now slipping. The King became uneasy, started calling us names. Ischariots and all. It became clear in the village that he would be the next ruler.
People began to fervently chant his name, as if delirious, clearly possessed with the spirit of change. Aleisa! Aleisa! They would chant, taunting the reigning King. Alubwela! Alubwela! Soon his popularity got to his head. It blurred his sight and addled his judgement. Soon he forgot the source of his power. He forgot the reason behind his season.
He forgot about us. A time came when he only had disdain for us. We wondered why. We never found the reason why he had begun to pour scorn on us. Some people hinted that it was because we wore rags and were infested with lice. He didn’t see us as his kind, we were told.
He began to associate with new friends, characters of a shady kind. Murderers, thieves, traitors, liars. It appeared to us that those were his kind, after all, birds of the same feather are said to flock together. He trashed us. Soon he began to avoid our company. Soon he didn’t want to be seen in public with us.
As we sacrificed for him, we became a target for mockery. Why do you keep helping such a man? Many, scratching their heads, wondered. Still we stuck with him, selflessly helping him. We are like the sun, you see praised or NOT, we still shine. Treachery was clearly written on the wall. He did NOT keep his side of our agreement.
Betrayal had come. It hurt. But we had 1 Thessalonians 5: 18 with us. Dejected, we still gave thanks! The people witnessed our betrayal. Fear and trepidation gripped them. There was much consternation and disappointment in the land. It was as if the sheepskin had inadvertently fallen off and now they could see the wolf for what it really was. That is how we left. Calamity fell. Upon him, The Wrath had come.
What he didn’t know was that, by rejecting us, our filthy rags and lice and all, he was rejecting the very people he sought to lead. Vox populi vox dei. He was ignorant of that adage that, there is fertiliser/wealth in refuse/garbage. That mkhwani wa pa dzala ndiwo umakhala obililiwila [The vegetable that grows on a dump is the one with the healthiest leaves].
Today, the stench is back. He is smelly again. He is as repugnant as before, if NOT worse. And again, the people are shunning him. The people are saying we would rather starve than be with him. Again he is unattractive. Again he smells. Again he is offensive. The veritable architect of his own destiny, this man.
Though with much money, he remains poor. Rumour has it he has sent his men to look for us. He wants our help again. You see, though with not much money, our capacity to bewitch has no equal. There exist no witches like us. The good kind. Sadly, we do NOT stay in one place for ever. We have souls to save, lives to build, the lost to bewitch. We move.
We are gone now. We have entered another house, as per our calling, extending our support to others. He dug his own grave, this man. Perhaps James 1: 5 might be the guide he now needs.