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LEGISLATING GENEROSITY

Check dark side of generosity

Political generosity exploits impoverished masses.

In Summary

• Dearth of law is not the hurdle in the fight against corruption.

• The challenge is the gullibility of wananchi.

Suba South MP John Mbadi wants to legislate generosity. Under the 'Mbadi Law', generous State officers would declare the sources of their kindness if they donate Sh100,000 or more at a harambee.

Some have said it's legislative noise. But the Mbadi attempt to control generosity may spawn new ways of beating the law. The generous, especially of a political hue, know how to cut corners.

Dearth of law is not the hurdle in the fight against corruption. The challenge is the gullibility of wananchi. Even if the Mbadi noise passes through Parliament, it won't stop the generous from spreading proceeds of impunity. They will donate through proxies. The people, riding on low civic education, will still cheer their favourite thief.

Mr Generous could assemble 50 supporters. He will give Sh75,000 to each, to contribute on his behalf. If 10 of them contribute Sh50,000 each, Mr Generous would have contributed Sh500,000 without breaking the 'Mbadi Law'.

Mental slavery is the worst form of slavery. It gives you the illusion of freedom, makes you trust, love and defend your oppressor while making an enemy of those who are trying to free you or open your eyes
Miss Fiyah

Generosity that thrives on impunity is bribery. Political generosity exploits impoverished masses. The poor have been brainwashed to believe the thief who shares the loot with them is the people's thief.

You have heard it said that so and so may be a thief, but he is generous. He shares the proceeds of corruption with his victims. The victims will seek to protect their thief from the wrath of those who seek accountability. This snaky one sheds crocodile tears. He spites those who don't give as generously, and as often, as he does.

Anonymous quote-maker Miss Fiyah captures this transfer of aggression. "Mental slavery is the worst form of slavery. It gives you the illusion of freedom, makes you trust, love and defend your oppressor while making an enemy of those who are trying to free you or open your eyes!"

There was once a popular butchery at Soko Rambira, a small town near Lake Victoria. The butchery always had fresh cuts of beef - juicer than others in the neighbourhood.

The butcher gave the impression he was always the first to collect stock from the public slaughterhouse. His butchery was always the first to open for business. Often, it was the last to close for the day.

The butcher never ran out of stock. Gullible consumers assumed discipline made his business tick. He never closed, even on Sunday. He had assistants to run the shop while he went for a church service. People had to eat, and his employees needed wages. He had a good cause to work 24-7.

 

Beefeaters loved the shop. The owner, a faithful of a local Catholic congregation, tithed in style, and contributed generously to church development.

The butcher never saw a villager he did not want to exchange niceties with. The weather, the harvest, and neighbourhood gossip found a home in him. Sometimes he dribbled politics with market runabouts. Sometimes the needy got a free ka-quarter after village banter.

You have heard it said that so and so may be a thief, but he is generous. He shares the proceeds of corruption with his victims. The victims will seek to protect their thief from the wrath of those who seek accountability.

But it was not the humane touch of the butcher's persona that enticed consumers. There was something charming: He sold beef at half the market prices.

People wondered how he made profits by selling beef at 50 per cent less the price in other butcheries. His stock always had public health inspection stamps. His beef wasn't fake. His stock wasn't stale, but his take was far less.

Other butchers envied his generosity. But soon he was smoked out. The man had a private slaughterhouse in his large, fenced farm. He also kept duplicate public health stamps. Public health inspectors were always given a regular cut.

Stock theft soared in neighbouring villages, as his generosity grew. On one rainy day, cattle raiders were traced to his farm, where five bulls were being delivered.

A farmer across the ridge had lost many bulls over time. He was suspicious. Now and then there was a smoking gun. He unloosed vigilantes to trail a suspicious truck. The canter always had mooing sounds. There was always something like a stampede – of sturdy animals struggling for space.

Signs of something clandestine littered Mr Generous' compound. When the news spread, Mr Generous fled. His butchery was burnt down. His slaughterhouse was destroyed. The 40 days had arrived for Mr Generous.