They lie through their teeth

HARARE - Ever since the privacy of the phone booth was banished by cell phones nearly two decades ago, many Zimbabweans have been exposed for what they are — liars, and damn good liars they are.

They do so unabashedly.

There are those who lie with a smile on their faces.

They are a little embarrassed perhaps and smile to those listening as if to say: “Allow me the liberty to lie a little in your presence?”

And by smiling back, those listening seem to give the liar a nod.

At the same time,  it’s doubtful whether a frown could stop them.

This usually happens in kombis.

As a minibus pulls out of Chitungwiza’s Makoni Shopping Centre, a man tells someone on the other side of the line “taa pa bridge”  or “We are crossing the Manyame Bridge,” the said bridge was about 10 kilometres ahead at the time of the call.

The dormitory town, Chitungwiza, is 32 kilometres from Harare, the capital, and speeding commuter omnibuses normally take an average 35 minutes to get into town.

The dual carriageway is notorious for accidents which kill dozens every year as drivers compete to beat the kombi owners’ targets  so they can skim off the extra dollars.

And sure enough, the guy on the other side rings again to check what has caused the delay. Characteristically, the man in the kombi has got a ready answer.

“You know Chitungwiza has many road blocks,” he says. “We were stopped by the police on all the four road blocks starting at St Mary’s Police Station, just after the Manyame Bridge as soon as I finished talking to you, at Delport Road, near the airport, and we have now been stopped at the Flyover,” he says with another smile.

The man finally rings back as we approach the Flyover Bridge just before entering Harare, the man in the kombi tells the caller he can see him and he will be with him in a few minutes.

As soon as we get to the Charge Office bus terminus, he disappears into the city to meet his caller whom he has been lying to with a smile.

Some will give the terse answer: “Takutosvika”, (we are almost there) when the kombi is actually pulling out of Makoni Shopping Centre.

Although the cellphone has changed the behaviour of the world’s population, old habits do die hard.

There are those who still shout when answering their cell phones. The way we used to shout when answering landline phones, particularly when answering a long distance call. And they still manage to shout and lie, laughing out loud in the process.

Having asked the driver to reduce the volume on his music system which has been blaring at full blast, playing his favourite Shinsoman dancehall song Hanzi ndakupenga,  the man takes over from the music and continues to lie at full volume.

He informs the caller he is still in Marondera, but not to worry he has the caller’s money. “Yaa kafaifi thaza kako ndinako! Unotonditengerawo doroka nhasi?. (I have your $5 000. But you will have to  buy me a few pints of beer).”

Everybody turns and looks at the man who is shouting at the top of his voice. They must be asking themselves, has he got

$5 000 in his pocket? A few in the kombi shake their heads in disbelief and some even giggle.

The man cuts off and immediately immerses himself  in his newspaper. It looks like lying comes naturally to him.

Then there are the coy — they lie with expressionless faces. This is the type that would strangle their mothers-in-law without an expression on their faces.

They are not moved — not at all. Their voice is a monotone, it has no emotion, but what they are saying they can kill you. You wonder what they are like at home.

When seating next to them you are even afraid to look at them. You don’t know in what mood they are in. They could be seething with anger or bursting with joy. The best thing to do: Let sleeping dogs “lie.”

Some lie softly, usually women, face down and talking slowly and softly, buttering their men with “sweet nothings,” as they say.

You can hardly hear them as they speak in these whispers, but they are lying all the same.

Others pretend theirs is a network problem while cutting off a caller who they presumably don’t want to speak to. “Hallo! Hallo! What are you saying. I can’t hear you. Can you call again, I think the network is bad. I’ll call you back.” Then they hang up on the caller.

Some passengers have killed several people in the short 35-minute journey to Harare.

On a mid-morning trip to Harare, a man suddenly raised his voice and without giving his caller a chance, burst out: “Remember the aunt that I told you was sick last week, she has just passed away. I am on my way to the funeral. I will sort you  out when I return. Bye.”

After a few kilometres his nephew was gone. “He died as I was leaving the house, so I will be out of town for a couple of days.

Things aren’t working out well for me,” he says.  And for good measure, he adds: “This always happens during school fees month, “ and kills off the conservation as well.

The only time a man paid dearly for lying was when someone phoned the Daily News in 2001 on the only cellphone that was available in the newsroom then, a Nokia 5210 indicating there was a bomb in Trustee House. For those who still remember, the 5210 was a heavy item nicknamed “the brick.”

The 13-floor building was emptied quickly as the army bomb disposal squad scoured for the bomb. After a couple of hours, the bomb squad gave the green light to return to the building saying this was a hoax.

As soon as people returned to the newsroom, someone checked on the phone where the threatening phone call had come from.

When they phoned, they discovered the call had originated from the Zanu PF headquarters.

The guy who had made the call was easily traced because he had booked the call through the switchboard.

He may not have been aware that the cellphone would reflect the number he was calling from. He was summarily arrested and was given a lengthy jail term.

How cellphone technology has changed since then.

After exposing so many liars, technology has  saved the day again.

This time with the introduction of WhatsApp, the liars have gone underground again.

They must be happy because it’s now cheaper to lie.

    Comments (1)

    Interesting. But also this cellphone is the best trap to frigging liars. Some adulterers spouses have been spoted at this and that hide-out, and the cheated spouse calls to enquire their better-half's location. The lie "I am home" is obvious-and in that false sense of security, they are followed to the love nest and battered to pulp. You know James Bond-Chuck Norries, the felow who borrows from almost everyone in town and commits himself to drink it all and never paying back? The day he was called on his phone, he lied that he was in Beira'kumabhero, ndiri kuspinner ndaizi kuti ndigokupa ka 5 thaza kako ndadzoka' But him being Hwindi kuMbare Msika, had been phoned by this creditor who saw him on top of the chicken bus carreer, loading all sorts of stuff from hoes to chickens. Wasn't he shocked to alight and find Giant Mhitsa's fists waiting to hammer his lying mouth? I witnessed that one and almost liked the cellphone. You can lie at your own risk!

    Mysorry - 23 September 2014

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