Torn Apart: BOYD PHIRI
WE’VE often heard that politics are dirty, but if what we have heard in the past few days about newspaper and tissue is anything to go by, politics are becoming dirtier.
In case you are wondering where all this is coming from, Roan member of Parliament Chishimba Kambwili recently came under criticism for claiming that PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri was once so poor that he bought her toilet tissue after he found pieces of newspaper in her toilet.
The whole revelation has angered people in the hood who contend that if Mr Kambwili genuinely meant to help Mrs Phiri and her family, he should not have decided to talk about their toilet matters in public, whatever the provocation.
But it’s good that Mr Kambwili has since apologised for his disparaging remarks against Mrs Phiri.
Nonetheless, a little bit of educative humour to the whole issue won’t be bad to calm the nerves.
Newspapers and tissues had fewer problems with politicians in the past until Mr Kambwili lost his cool to use them in his tirade towards his fellow politician.
Who, for example, would guess that one day he would talk about pieces of newspaper and claim they were exhibits of poverty in Mrs Phiri’s household?
I mean, why did he praise tissue paper and let it roll down into the political arena disregarding the importance of a newspaper which provides people in the hood with news?
Of course, no-one is born with a tissue in the hand, although I have heard that some people are born with a silver spoon in the mouth.
But to say that only poor people are born with pieces of newspaper in their hands is like reducing the whole poverty datum-line into a toilet matter.
For many years a newspaper has had a noble reputation as a source of news for both the rich and the poor, whether it is read as stale news in privacy or not.
Besides, some people in the hood have learnt new words like poverty datum-line through the newspaper, even if the word may be split into two pieces of paper.
But this is not to say that the role of a tissue, two-ply or one layer thick, is not a noble one.
In fact, a toilet tissue is one of life’s most useful papers, although its existence is now being discussed in politics to separate the rich and the poor.
It is sad to note that paper can now divide people, which in the past was least discussed.
Needless to say, some of my relatives in the village are concerned that they would now stop asking me to send them old newspapers lest they are misunderstood to be very poor.
They fear that if pieces of newspaper are found in their homes, which they use to roll tobacco, someone would buy them tissue instead.
As chain smokers in the village would tell you, none of them uses tissue to roll tobacco. They would rather use dry maize husks which they soften using saliva than use tissue paper.
Obviously, no-one wants to be segregated because of their interest in a newspaper, whether intact or in pieces.
People in the hood would argue that it is economical to use pieces of newspaper as an alternative to tissue.
It would not be surprising to hear that they find Mr Kambwili’s statement demeaning to the entire populace, which is used to hearing the sound of newspaper being torn into pieces in most toilets.
They contend that it is not unusual to find a heap of pieces of paper or the entire broadsheet newspaper in a toilet at a local pub, let alone pit latrines in people’s homesteads.
In other words they are saying that no-one should bring politics into their toilet matters.
As much as rich people would want to publicise their generosity to poor people in the hood, they should not embarrass them by talking about what they gave to their toilet business. Otherwise this would make politics dirtier.
Let’s respect one another whatever we do in our lives. After all, the Bible says blessed is the hand that giveth, than the one that taketh.