Lessons from Salima boy story

There is a video that was doing rounds on social media. It showed a boy being punished after he was found stealing maize in some field.

The boy’s tormenters tied his hands behind his back and he was forced to eat the raw, green maize. He was also forced to eat a raw maize stalk, while some poured water on him with others beating him up.

That video has sparked controversies, since after seeing the boy’s predicament, some made contributions for the boy to buy food and other basic needs, others felt that was promoting thuggery since the boy was nothing but a ‘thief’.

Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) the Jesus Nation leader Shepherd Bushiri took the boy and his mother on a shopping spree where he also promised to pay for the boy’s education.

The boy’s story is gripping. His father abandoned him soon after his birth. And his mother, who has a disability, remarried and has three other children with the new man. From reports, it is said that the stepfather doesn’t provide for the little boy who dropped out of school.

The boy’s story gives us a strong picture of the food situation in the country. Malawians are hungry.

Not so long ago, we saw thousands trying to get free maize from Bushiri. Issues of maize theft are rampant this year. Things are hard.

It is therefore surprising that the government is bent on still playing with maize. While the agriculture committee of Parliament says there is not enough grains of the staple, the government is saying there are 17 000 metric tonnes of maize and 14 000 tonnes of maize flour in the national silos.

Why that maize can’t trickle down to the rural markets remains awakward!

The Salima boy’s story also brings to light how low our society is sinking in the treatment of children suspected to be on the wrong side of the law. Remember the story of that other Mulanje boy whose arms were amputated after some overzealous police officers tied the boy’s hands behind his back nyakula style when he was suspected to have stolen some stuff?

Stories of parents beating up their children beyond measure has made the headlines in recent times.

If we are to find out if a society is compassionate, we certainly must look at how that society treats its children, even those suspected to be wayward.

Look, there must have been better ways to handle the boy’s case instead of this inhumane treatment.

By law, children even when they appear before the child magistrate are never found guilty or not guilty. That is why there is no prison for children, but a safe house where they are reformed. Children are only culpable of committing a crime.

We all remember how a Mulanje boy, Gabriel Kondesi was arrested after he set up a radio station without a licence from the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority. The boy’s ingenuity landed him in jail.

The question some raised then was could there have been no other way to handle the case apart from prosecution? Much as we agree ignorance is no excuse before the law, commonsense and compassionate rules of necessity can be applied in cases like these.

Even more interesting in this case is the fact that the boy’s father deserted him way back. Like we always say, such parents must be sought and brought to book. It is morally wrong to sire children and desert them just like that. It is a child’s right to know both parents and such parents that desert their children must be brought to book.

Dear Diary, it appears the oven is getting hotter as we inch towards the 2025 elections. The pressure could be felt in Parliament where Democratic Progressive Party legislators want other means for the identification of potential voters other than the national ID. The DPP suspects foul play since some people in its perceived stronghold are not getting their IDs.

How all this will end remains to be seen.

And then, it appears the Tonse Alliance is coming to terms with the sad reality that what united them is slowly wading away. They came together to oust DPP and its leader Peter Mutharika. There was no unity in their purpose to make Malawi a better place to live in. That is why the UTM secretary general Patricia Kaliati insists it is Saulos Chilima who will carry the flag for the alliance, while major partner Malawi Congress Party executive maintain Lazarus Chakwera will stand for the party come next year.

The post Lessons from Salima boy story first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post Lessons from Salima boy story appeared first on The Nation Online.