Mm, I say in this village people can really talk. And you know some of them just talk and criticized what they know nothing about. But when it is in their shoes, they will even do worse than what they are criticizing-In fact, they see it as an opportunity to make demands even if that was not the intent of the host. You know, Father, it’s like what James said in your Good Old Book: they are like brut men, they criticized what they don’t know and in what they know they are so corrupt. They fight and war among themselves because of their greed to accomplish their selfish desires.
My son, what’s happening in your village again and who are those talkative?
Oh, you didn’t hear the noise that was around here the other day when they said the big man from our money house decided to have lunch with the Chiefs at the Traditional Council?
Yes, son, I heard something like that but what does this have to do with talkative?
Ooh, it has to do a lot Father. Do you know that many of the people said it was an attempt by the big man from the money house to bribe the chiefs at the Traditional Council to lure them in accepting the ingredients in our national cake and put their thumb print on the paper by force?
You’re joking son? Are they saying that just by accepting someone’s invitation for lunch means you have sold out to the person?
Father, some people in our village interpret things differently, especially when it is not in their favor.
Son, so are they saying that when the Chiefs attend the lunch then it means they have conceded and would eventually backed down on their duty as enshrined in the village oracle?
Father that is the belief of our people and this is why they just criticize anything. But had the situation been in the reverse, they would have done the same thing and even advance demands for themselves. You know the common question around here now: “What is in there for me?”
The thing is Father, people have not reached that point of maturity where a group of people with dissenting views over an issue can meet at such lunch to discuss and leave still maintaining their positions, if one party fails to convince the other.
Now, I remembered when I was in Charlie land, there was an investigation that I did about one of that village’s big mining company. Father, that story had to do with human rights abuses in general –that is besides the locals there being deprived of their lands, they were also being affected by the mining activities with all kinds of water born diseases from pits turned into ponds after the gold ore in that area have been depleted.
The investigation hailed by several civil society groups at the time took one week traveling to the villages that were affected by the mining activities. But there was one thing I did not do why I was going to all these villages. To reached to the company’s headquarters. I decided that I would have done so in the Charlie Land capital.
Father, when I got back to the city, the company had already heard that I visited the place and spent about a week there going from village to village talking to local chiefs and their subjects. So when I contacted them, they said one hour interview was not being fair to them and that they were also willing and ready to host me for one week too to take to their project sites and see what they have also done to counter the claims.
Father, some of the civil society groups upon hearing this started instilling fears in me how it was not safe to be hosted and fed by the company and at the same time being escorting in the villages by same.
But you know it was the wife of one prominent politician who called me and said if you want to be objective, you must give the company the same equal opportunity. She said where you have done the investigation is in the bush and that is where they want you to see their countered action.
She said if you went there and they found a place for you to sleep will you not accept it. If they took care of your hotel bills and provide you with vehicles to go and see what they have done is that a bribe?
Father, what she was simply trying to say was that give them the opportunity to be heard too.
So, if the big man from our village money house had asked the Chiefs from our Traditional Council to discuss with them at lunch is that a sign of compromise? Won’t that be an opportunity to listen to him and make informed decisions about our national cake?