It happened around noon today, as I came from Ginnery Corner, Blantyre. I was day-dreaming- and thinking about the times that were, but never really became; the days that passed, and left no trace- when, suddenly, swift movements of women, mostly old, snapped me out of my reverie.
Women, some of whom old, were scampering in all directions after noticing two police vehicles accompanied by a Blantyre City Asembly Toyota Hilux pick up. The men in uniform joined their civilian counterparts confiscating goods from the women, some of whom invested their blood and souls to raise something in the frame of business.
This happens all the time. Around Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, vendors sell their products with two eyes open: one eye marks the roads leading to theie selling place, while the other watches the food. Life is tough.
When City Assembly officials pounce, often in the company of police officers, some of the vendors manage to 'rescue' some things- but the officers always 'win'.
What is sad about the whole thing is not the fact that these officers are enforcing city By-Laws- though we still need intensive civic edcation drives to drive the message home, the message that selling food and non-food items contravenes city By-Laws.
But our people in the Assemblies have not done that; and yet, they pounce on innocent citizens out to make ends meet. Why not concentrate their energies on criminals roaming free on our streets? Or take time out to look for Mr. Misozi Chanthunya?
What made me sad today, more than any other time before, is the way the concerned officers beat up the vendors, after confiscating their property and thus mainstay in town.
A woman, of at least 50 years, was frogged, and slapped- all in the name of enforcing City By-Laws.
Who made City Assembly and police officers who accompany these people law enforcers and judges at the same time? Where do they get the powers to beat, main, and whip innocent citizens out to better their lives?
It is worth remembering the life in the streets is hard: the cold, the heat, the running. Why 'spice' this up with brutality?
If you feel that your energies are eating you up, why not beat your chest 439 times, and then throw yourselves in a dust bin? Or, even better, demolish the houses you don't even have?
This brutality must come to an end.
Some of these guys, I have seen it countless numbers before, eat the food they confiscate. Some have started businesses out of these poor vendors' sweat.
It is so sad it makes me sick; at the same time, the Blantyre City Assembly officers find the task so sweet it makes their bellies swell.
They call it (this brutality) good nutrition.