One thing I like about Law is the use of Latin phrases; which when the lawyer speaks in the presence of ignorant fellows, he gets respect even if he/she has said nothing comprehensive. I think that is the only thing I like about this profession, no wonder I chose Accounting (or is it that Accounting chose me?). At least with Accounting the only thing to remember is the Accounting Equation: Assets=Capital+Liabilities (A=C+L) and I do not need to quote a case to justify a problem for instance
“In the case of XYZ Co. Ltd where the balance sheet did not balance, the accountant ‘cooked’ the balancing figure by reducing assets depreciation…..”
Some items like a sales agreement should just be drafted and made simple; X has agreed to buy a house from Y at Kshs.xxx payable by this date vide cheque/cash. You get a four page document which has confusing paragraphs: Whence therefore in case of default herein the vendor (a definition of vendor is given here) guided by article 2a part V of the Properties Act in which case the property (then define property here) herein at the possession of the Buyer (then define the buyer here) is not fully paid therefore ownership has not been fully transferred; in the case of …….. By the time you finish reading that paragraph, you need someone to tell you what it means. Then you have to read and get the meaning of the remaining ten or so paragraphs before you get the confidence to append your signature.
As I was growing up, there used to be one mass in the course of the year said in Latin; the Saint Peter and Paul mass. And all of us would attend this mass in the parish church – I never attended one because of the distance to the Parish HQ. It must have been interesting. Am not sure whether the homily was also delivered in Latin? Anyone? Those were the days when I used to be an altar-boy, then gradually graduated to choir. I honestly do not know what happened from there up to today. I guess I shall have to retrace my footsteps.
The person who came up with this phrase; Quid pro Quo meant that you get an equivalent exchange value for your commodity in any transaction, that the transaction would be fair to both parties. That’s why the scholars went farther and gave the translation to ‘Scratch my back I scratch yours’ such that everyone gets a scratch eh, assuming that both parties had a flea biting them at the same time and at the same spot on their backs literally speaking.
What we have done in our society is that we have massacred the translation to:
‘Scratch my wallet I scratch your tender award’ or
‘Scratch my wallet I scratch your promotion’ or
‘Scratch my wallet I scratch your appointment’ or
‘Scratch my sexual needs I scratch your promotion/good grades’
Thus we have turned into a greedy society. We work less and expect to rake in millions at the end of the day. And if we do not get the millions, we steal. Hell, we are ready to kill even ourselves in order to get even that which we did not contribute towards its creation; herein referred to as inheritance. And this has also brought in crumbling economies where due to greediness, banks are willing to give out money they do not have to buy items which are not needed by the borrowers.
We spend all our times and energies chasing after material wealth and forget about our families, and this, in my opinion has contributed to raising children who have no values in life. And when they start showing signs of defiance, we as parents blame the teachers and the internet; seriously? These kids will always look up to the parents for guidance so if the parents are not there they shall look up to the next available option, which might not be the best option.
Due to our greediness, we take away guard rails on the bridge and sell the metal as scrap. Yet when our uncles and aunties become victims of accident on the same bridge, we protest, and demand that the rails be re-installed. Then we steal them again. And we also do not spare the electricity pylons and the transformers. Then the transformer oil finds itself on our plate of chips, and when we become sick we demand that the medical bill be paid by the state.
Then we produce half-baked professionals and the economy seems to stagnate. And we ask ourselves why, and then we seem to be going in rounds, without knowing where our destination is. And then we produce more of the ‘professionals’ to continue choking the economy farther, and they become more than ready to bend the rules to accommodate anyone or any idea. And we wonder why the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) seem to be unachievable across the world.
We have to rethink the application of this ‘quid pro quo’ phrase in our practical living lest we lose both the sky and the ground. Am just saying….