Government hides the truth

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.
Noam Chomsky

Power is a drug on which the politicians are hooked. They buy it from the voters, using the voters' own money.
Peter Newman


The Mhlako Triumvirate

Saturday, March 26, 2011


You climb into the minibus. It looks OK from the outside. Even the seats are in reasonable shape. But once on the road it becomes obvious that something is wrong. The driver reassures you.
“It’s just come out of the garage. Everything has been sorted out.”
But still, you are a little uneasy. You decide to see how things go. And then you hit the rumble strips at Linthipe Bridge. The driver loses control. The brakes fail. Several die. Others are injured. The driver blames Satanism.
What really happened? What went wrong?
  • The driver was lying. The minibus had not been fixed.
  • The passengers should have told the driver to stop so that they could get off.
  • Satan was nowhere to be seen but someone had to be blamed
Malawi, so we have been told by the driver (himself a former minibus operator), has changed beyond recognition since he took over the wheel. It changed so much for the better in a few short years, changed beyond recognition, that it deserved a new flag showing that the rising sun had reached its zenith, shining benignly over the country.
Was the driver lying? Well, yes! Or he had been misinformed. Much of the apparent rapid growth was based on reports of higher crop yields, especially of maize and cassava. Open market crop prices during many of these apparently bumper years indicated that maize, our national staple, was not abundantly available. The government attempted to suppress the report that would give a lie to the official figures. However, it is now available here.
If basic food production was overstated so too are figures for GDP and growth. And the ‘economic’ miracle, like most miracles, is seen to have been a mirage.
In spite of an excellent crop in the 2009/10 growing season, the daily life of the average Malawian seems not to be improving. Industries are suffering, fuel and forex shortages are affecting all businesses. Businesses are laying off staff. Many companies are finding it difficult to pay their creditors. More and more are selling off non-producing assets such as vehicles and properties to provide operating capital.
And the ‘passengers’ are getting restless. The NGO’s, the churches and business associations are grumbling..These are the Linthipe rumble strips. And already, before the crash, our driver has identified the Devils – the donor partners
When sun has risen and has reached its zenith, there’s only one way for it to go – down into the fading sunset.
I’ve designed the new flag to reflect that situation. 

Gross National Income US$ per capita:                                     166th out of 170 nations
Human Development Index                                                        153rd out of 169 nations
Population below poverty line                     55%                        18th out of 141 nations
Aid as a percentage of GDP                       26.2%                      6th out of 120 nations
Purchasing power parity                                                              143rd out of 229 nations
Purchasing power parity per capita                                              163rd out of 163 nations
Gross National Income per capita             $134.28                     166th out of 170 nations
Household Final Consumption                   $131.467                   132nd out of 136 nations

Clearly we still have a long way to go.

NOTE: Some of the above figures may not be up to date. Any recent improvements will have been slight. They are, though, good indicators of the size of the task that faces our leaders.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


It was reported in the Daily Times of 23rd March that MR. Farook Kali of Suncrest Creameries had been persuaded by a confidence trickster to part with K4 million thinking that the trickster was acting on behalf of senior Government figures including Peter Mutharika, Minister of Education, younger brother of the President and presidential aspirant. Needless to say, spokespersons for the DPP and Peter Mutharika have denied all knowledge and have roundly condemned the perpetrators
I know Mr. Kali and many members of his family. I know them as well-established and reputable people whose businesses have been built up on hard work and application without, apparently, the necessity for bribery. Bribery is a hidden affair. It is only when we notice a rapid and inexplicable rise in wealth or the acquisition of business to the detriment of apparently more worthy operators that we begin to suspect it. Let me say, then, that I do not suspect that the money handed over by Mr. Kali was in any way intended as a bribe. Because the case will no doubt end up in the courts I have not approached Mr. Kali for his story. In fact, the details of the story do not form the subject of this article.
There is always a close linkage between big business and politics. America is a prime example. The cozy relationship of Washington law-makers with the big banks has helped produce the financial mess that America and much of the world is now in.
We can speculate as to why Mr. Kali thought he had to part with so much money. The reason may lie in the poor state of our democracy.
The Asian business community has been the subject of the President’s diversionary tactics, blamed without evidence for the current forex shortage (and not for the first time). As convenient scapegoats, Asians feel insecure. When approached for funding by political parties or individuals in power or who they believe may shortly be in power, they feel that Government agencies may be directed to target them and their businesses or refuse them government business if they do not pay up. With so much at stake, it is difficult to refuse. How many businesses, no matter the race or nationality of the owners, could withstand the full combined assault by the Malawi Revenue Authority, the Fiscal Police, the Immigration Department, Health & Safety inspectors?  What inconvenience and misery, even if there is nothing to hide!
When we look at the composition of Parliament and the hierarchies of the main political parties, the business community is not all that well represented. Between our political parties there is nothing to choose in the way of philosophical differences. There is no party of ‘labour’. There is no party of ‘business’ or ‘free trade’. There is no party of labour because the unions have yet to gain sufficient strength and the support of the working class. There is no party of business because many of those who have the knowledge and ability and who may find themselves in opposition to the government of the day,  fear that they and their businesses, will also be targeted or that they will be excluded from government business.
There are no regulations concerning political party funding. There is nothing wrong with businesses or individuals making contributions in support of politicians and parties who represent their interests or accord to their political views. However, such donations should be made public and hidden contributions should be penalised.
We can only guess at how many businesses are ‘persuaded’ to contribute out of fear; how many contribute out of the hope of favour and how many contribute to the cause that they believe in. It is up to the ‘honest’ fearful ones to stand firm and refuse to give. That will leave mainly the favour seekers. G
There is widespread speculation that inducement (i.e. a bribe) is needed in order to obtain government business. Of course, while a Government is in power it is unlikely with our weak ‘independent’ watchdog organs of government that anything will be revealed or that any high-ranking person with the right contacts will be prosecuted.
There are even wider concerns that monies voted to projects do not end up being spent on the projects or that government facilities do not receive what has been budgeted for them. That raises the spectre of theft and misappropriation by government officials or office holders.
Our donor partners who have invested so much in Malawi over the years for an inadequate return are not blind to these developments. Where the Police are seen as agents of the executive and the rule of law breaks down; where the Constitution is breached by those who swore to uphold it corruption and cronyism will become rampant. Can we blame them for making the statements that they have recently threatening to hold government to its agreed standards as a pre-requisite for continuing budget support?
Malawi, we are in deep trouble.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Now we know it. The Malawi Police Force is Bingu’s private army. Our President appears to be both paranoid and delusional - what a dangerous combination. It is perhaps fortunate that the people of Malawi do not share his delusions.
The delusion is that the power of the president is limitless; that his word is law.
 He is paranoid because he sees enemies everywhere. What he overlooks is the fact that his own actions have made enemies of his former friendsand supporters .
And the latest indications of delusion came from his lips – once again! As reported in the Sunday Times of March 20 at a ceremony to open a new factory he said:
“Once again, let me repeat that the Inspector General works for the Government and I am the Commander in Chief of Police.  If you ask the Inspector General to apologise, you are asking me, the President, to apologise. I want you Malawians to reflect on this: Can a president apologise to an NGO or a university lecturer? What kind of a country is that?”
Mr. President, when people make mistakes, it is expected of them that they will apologise. When public officials, such as the Inspector General of Police, make mistakes it is imperative for the continuance of public confidence in them and their organisation that they not only to apologise for the mistake but also  assure the public or the offended parties that there will be no repeat of the mistake.
You ask what sort of a country is it that demands an apology from a president. Simple – it is the country that we envisaged when we removed the dictatorship of Dr. Banda and his cruel party and state apparatus of oppression - the type of country that we defined in our Constitution.
You are mistaken, Mr. President, to believe that you are Commander-in-Chief of the Police Force (now misnamed ‘Service’). Mr. President, you swore  falsely on the Holy Bible when you took the oath of office. Had you really intended to defend and protect the Constitution you would have noted that the Police is constituted as an “… independent organ of the executive..” The Constitution is to be interpreted in a simple manner. It is clear that the executive has no part to play in its OPERATIONS as defined in Section 153.  And – here’s something that you may not be aware of – there is no mention of a Commander-in-Chief. And you do not have the power to appoint yourself to the non-existent post.
Your reference to a Commander-in-Chief was a Freudian slip. You were obviously confusing the Police with the Army where you are constituted in that capacity. Your error is excusable because both you and your predecessor have suborned the Police Force and turned it into a private army of oppression.
The Police are the second of our constitutionally independent bodies to have been emasculated, the other being the Electoral Commission whose closure is a continuing crime.
Let me remind you, Mr. President, that the presidency operates under very strict constitutional controls. Your word is not law. Your recent pronouncements on things such as pre-conditions for demonstrations are illegal. Laws and regulations have to be effected by due process. Anything that requires your direction has to be formalised by your signature over the official seal. Let us see the paperwork.
At the same ceremony, you are reported to have said that you were waiting for Malawi human rights activists to return from the United Nations, where they went to petition the UN to take action against you and those close to you, so that they should ‘explain’ to you the contents of the petition. Is that the sort of explanation that Mukhito demanded of Blessings Chinsinga? Are you about to repeat the same inexcusable error? Mr. President, no-one need to explain anything to you.Their petition has already been made public. If you missed it, your intelligence service should have it on record or you could ask our representative at the United Nations to brief you. What other explanation could you expect? Or do you want to berate them in one of your famous 'listening' meetings?
What they have done is part of the process of:-
You are accountable to us. We are not accountable to you. We are accountable to the law. Otherwise we are free to conduct our lives in any way we wish without interference from the executive.
You must account to us. Can you explain your apparent sudden rise to wealth? Will you take us on a tour of Ndata Farm?  Can you explain to us how the businesses of those close to you have grown so miraculously? Has a state-owned bank overstretched itself to be accommodating? 
When Malawi chose a multi-party and democratic system it was not like rival supporters of Premiership football teams putting in power their favoured team and the paying scarce money at the gate to watch the players earn K40m per week. But that is what it seems like. Both you and your predecessor wasted no time in embarking on lavish personal housing projects. And we are sitting like the paying spectators expected to cheer you on! We are waiting to find out how your predecessor did it. But would like to know right now how you are managing. Please be kind enough to reassure us that our assets are safe in your hands.
In your paranoia you have been calling out our development partners for undermining your presidency. They are the same partners who assisted our nascent democracy. They are the same partners who are helping us to strengthen that democracy. Now that you have demonstrated to civil society and our development partners that you have no concern for our democracy, for constitutionality or the rule of law, we are happy to learn that those same partners have now resolved to make more funds available to civil society to protect and strengthen our democracy.
The squeeze is on. Civil society, the churches and development partners are putting on the pressure. Eventually, you will be unable to resist. Why is it that dictators believe that they are immune to the inevitable?
I urge you, Mr. President, to sit back and reflect seriously on the path that you have chosen. 
There is time for you to reform and deliver to the owners the nation trhat you promised.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


My apologies for not posting this earlier. We had a protracted local electricity fault and a lot of catching up to do when power came back on.
Just a few days ago, I believe it was when Bingu was addressing a passing out parade at the Police school, he chose to say “And in case any of you do not understand English let me say in Chichewa …” He made it quite clear in both languages that Inspector General Mukhito would not apologise to Blessings Chinsinga for calling him out for something he had said in a lecture at Zomba’s Chancellor College.
What the President said in English was clear enough for anyone to understand. And what he said at the Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday, March 6 last, in English only, was absolutely clear to me. And it was equally clear to everyone else that I have spoken to who had heard it. It was clear also to the media who reported that Bingu was inciting the DPP youth wing to ‘protect’ him in the manner of Kamuzu Banda’s dreaded Young Pioneers and Youth League and of the thugs masquerading as Bakili’s UDF Young Democrats. That he chose not to have clarified his meaning by saying it again in Chichewa is an indication that he had no doubt that we would understand him clearly. Let’s face it – he lost it and displayed growing dictatorial intolerance.
On Monday came the damage control with senior government and Party officials stating at a Press conference and on Capital Radio that the President did not mean what he said – or what we believed him to have said. Bingu goofed and his lieutenants realized that. But the damage control did not work. Those who heard Bingu’s words did not accept their spin.
Everything was dying down. We were all waiting for the next Bingu rant. Someone at the top must have told Bingu that the excuses weren’t going down well with a horrified public. So now, in case we did not understand the spin, there is an Official Press Statement telling us independent listeners that we do not understand English and have misunderstood what we were sure were clear references to violent action by the youth against political ‘opponents’.
I find the wording of the Press Statement insulting. It insults my intelligence and it imputes to me an intention to deliberately distort the meaning of what I heard him say. I wrote in my last post about PARANOIA and this is a clear indication that our President is now paranoid. I am, like all Malawians, free to hold my own opinions. My opinions were formed by my clear understanding of what he said. I have no motive to ‘deliberately attach wrong characterizations.’ From the way things have been going recently in his Government who could blame us for characterizing him as a man deliberately inciting his youth because he is intolerant of criticism and stubborn to boot. The behavior of the President in his second term in office has turned me and the millions of other Malawians who voted for him into the disenchanted mass that now believes that he is leading this country to ruin. Three more years is three years too many!
Local readers of our newspapers will have read the full page advert that appeared on 16th March. For the benefit of those who have not had access, the full text is reproduced below. It needs no further comment from me because it quite clearly demonstrates the depths to which we have now sunk. The wording does nothing towards healing the harm of the President’s own words. In fact it reflects very badly on him and the sycophants and self-seekers who surround him.
We can only wonder for how much longer the DPP MPs will allow us to suffer? They should also think of a future without him – and without his personal appointee successor. Time to resign and become independants.
As an indication of how bad things really are, our long term friends from the diplomatic corps felt that they should make the joint statement that appears below. I cannot remember that they ever felt so strongly before that they should feel compelled to make a statement of this nature.
Joint Statement
February 11, 2011
Lilongwe, Malawi
We, the Heads of Mission, representing France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States, share the concerns voiced by many Malawians about certain negative trends in the country.  The passage of the Penal Code Amendments Act has heightened these concerns. We remain deeply committed to Malawi and its people. As partners and friends, we would like to recall that good governance and respect for human rights – including freedom of expression, observance of democratic principles, freedom from discrimination – are the foundation upon which our partnership is built. Because of this enduring commitment to Malawians, it is our responsibility as partners and friends to monitor closely Malawi’s adherence to international standards for protecting its citizens’ rights. We look forward to expanded dialogue with the Government of Malawi about these concerns.

Text of Press Statement:
The State House has yet again noted with sadness what is becoming a distressing habit of deliberately attaching wrong characterizations by His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.
The habit is worrisome and distressing because the mischaracterizations are made in the glare of all facts and information that should help any sound critic to correctly project the image of the President and put his remarks in their rightful context.
In calling on the supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party during a mass rally at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Sunday March 6, 2011 to ‘protect’ him from those that disparage his leadership and government, the President has been deliberately misunderstood by some sections of the civil society and the media who have specialized in finding fault with everything he says, to have meant that DPP supporters should physically molest his critics. This is extremely disappointing.
To begin with, His Excellency the President never explicitly used any such words that would be understood or interpreted in their ordinary nature as meaning that he wanted his detractors to be physically assaulted.
His Excellency the State President cannot be accused of giving an implicit instruction either because there is no basis. An implicit interpretation in this regard could only be deduced from the President’s record on the matter he is being accused of. In this regard, it goes without saying that with regard to violence the record of His Excellency the President is, authentic, immaculate and impeccable. His Excellency the President has always advised the DPP Youth never to molest anyone or engage in violent acts that would tarnish the good image of the Party. Therefore, there is no ground for misinterpreting his remarks on the matter in question in the context of whipping up violence against his cynics.
It stands to be clear therefore that what the State President said at the rally had a different meaning away from violence because he has never been associated with it. Those who are familiar with the background, demeanour and character of His Excellency Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika will be the first to testify that he has made intellectual engagement and sound persuasion as the only tools for propounding his ideas. State House challenges any critic to produce evidence that would prove the foregoing characteristics of the State President wrong.
From the above explanation, it is clear to understand that His Excellency the State President meant that the DPP supporters had to deal with his critics in a manner that embraces the ideals that have always guided his manner of propounding his ideas, namely intellectual engagement and sound persuasion.
The word ‘protect’ as used by the State President should not be misunderstood by his critics for purposes of creating a pretext for justifying their calculated treachery of condemning him. If the word is understood generously and alongside the total package of information regarding the character of His Excellency, it is easy to understand that he meant that people will resign to the discipline of silence once they have been supplied with information and clarifications through engagement and discourse.
The State House is surprised that some sections of the general public still need assurance, when it is abundantly obvious that His Excellency the State President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika is a true and practical democrat who swore to defend the Constitution of Malawi and has ensured during his reign that his people enjoy their inherent freedoms on a rostrum that is shared by rights and responsibilities. The civil society does not need to be reminded that the DPP party which the State President founded and leads is truly progressive and democratic.
Signed: Albert Mungomo, State House Press Office, Sanjika Palace, Blantyre, 14th March 2011

It would be superfluous of me to comment. I think intelligent readers will pick up the flaws in the argument – that is if they bothered to read this to the end. I wonder whether Mr. Mungomo gets paid by the word. Someone should tell him that sometimes silence is the best defence! If he were working for me I would have fired him for this. But maybe his boss thinks it’s great.

In the above press release you may have noted that we are about to get a new definition of ‘protect’. That is not all that worrying because if he issues a completely new dictionary we will be able to translate all of his words using his own definitions and work out for ourselves what he really means! Unfortunately, one gets the impression that the definitions will change according to his particular needs.

What is very worrying is that Bingu has just announced that he will set up a committee to redefine ‘academic freedom’ because the University lecturers are refusing to go to class until such time as they get an assurance that their academic freedom will not be abused. Someone should tell the President that the concept of academic freedom is widely understood and where there is a dispute over interpretation there is sure to be a large body of case law that will clarify the issue. One of the other two arms of government, the judiciary, has that task.
In a future blog, when I get some time, I will endeavour to make my own suggestions as to how the new Bingu Dictionary will redefine our freedoms – to suit himself, since Mr. Mungomo has painted such a good picture of him (not one that I recognize!) In the meantime I would welcome suggestions from readers as to how they, if they were Bingu, would redefine them.

Monday, March 14, 2011


When we puzzle over the strange behavior of our President and his Government it may help us to keep in mind the word ‘PARANOIA’.
Paranoia is an unfounded or exaggerated distrust of others, sometimes reaching delusional proportions. Paranoid individuals constantly suspect the motives of those around them, and believe that certain individuals, or people in general, are "out to get them."
Persons with paranoid personality disorder tend to be self-centered, self-important, defensive, and emotionally distant. Their paranoia manifests itself in constant suspicions rather than full-blown delusions. The disorder often impedes social and personal relationships.
Paranoia is also a possible side effect of drug use and abuse (for example, alcohol)
Symptoms of paranoid personality disorder:
  • suspicious; unfounded suspicions; believes others are plotting against him/her
  • preoccupied with unsupported doubts about friends or associates
  • reluctant to confide in others due to a fear that information may be used against him/her
  • reads negative meanings into innocuous remarks
  • bears grudges
  • perceives attacks on his/her reputation that are not clear to others, and is quick to counterattack
  • maintains unfounded suspicions regarding the fidelity of a spouse or significant other
You may or may not recognize anyone you know but there are worrying signs that our big man has ‘lost it’.
I would hesitate to say that it is a contagious disease but it seems to affect our politicians past and present at all levels in the hierarchy.
For the first five years of Bingu’s presidency our civil society watchdogs went to sleep. These organisations – the NGOs and the faith-based bodies - were indispensible to him in exerting pressure on an opposition controlled Parliament to pass necessary measures such as the annual budget. Now, with a large majority, he has caused ‘his’ Parliament to pass many laws which appear to be contrary to our Constitution designed only to enslave and oppress us. Civil society has now woken up to the dangers of a Bingu out of control.
It is common knowledge that many of our NGOs have been financed for many years fully or in part by our partners with the UK, EU, USA and Norway as the principle donorss. Most of their funding to our ‘watchdogs’ is to help strengthen governance, human rights and the rule of law. And there is a very good reason why they should consider this so important.
We often compare the progress made by other countries which at the time of our liberation 47 years ago were at similar levels of development and wealth (rather, poverty) as ourselves. Yet they have prospered beyond all expectations. Malawi remains very close to the bottom of the heap when measured by the Human Development Index. Click to see the full index here .  Korea was  nowhere, Malaysia was languishing in Equatorial slumber. 
The 2010 position was: 
In the Very High category               position   12 – Korea (UK 26)
In the High category                       position   57 – Malaysia
In the Medium category                  position   98 – Botswana
                                                      position 110 – South Africa
In the Low category                        position 153 – Malawi
                                                      position 155 – Afghanistan
                                                      Bottom  169 -  Zimbabwe            
It may be thought that differences of potential were caused by factors such as ease of access to the sea, possession of adequate natural resources, educational levels, policy choices and geographical features. In a study carried out many years ago by the respected UK Economist magazine it was found that the main common success factor was adherence to the rule of law/good governance. With this knowledge in mind our partners have invested money in us by strengthening this area of our public life. Without a stable base the resources invested by the same partners in other areas – including budget support (a gift of cash) – such as infrastructure, education, health and power will not have been as effective as they could have been.
In Malawi the rule of law is not fully established. Good governance is at a low point. We remain poor. So much for our being a ‘developed’ country worthy of a new flag and a full sun. The sun shines only on the elite.
Our NGOs and other bodies have now begun to speak out, as they should, at the erosion of our rights and liberties. Our paranoid leaders are now convinced that the same funds given to the NGOs, once so helpful to them, are being given for the sole reason of overthrowing the current regime. Yet they are doing what they have been doing all these years – acting as our watchdogs. Government has no evidence of a link with the allocation of funds to our NGOs and a concerted effort to overthrow it. Our President and Government appear to be incapable of analyzing the issues over which these bodies are acting. The paranoids, convinced like religious zealots of the absolute right of their actions and reactions, are no longer amenable to dispassionate analysis or reason.
What has changed? 
Only you, Mr. President. Only you!
You, Mr President, are the cause of your own problems. The economy is going downhill fast. There is confusion in your rudderless Government.There is ever more evidence of public dissatisfaction with your leadership, your style, your actions, your public pronouncements, the actions of your Police Force. The Malawian public is close to saying enough is enough. What remains to be decided is what is to be done about it.
You have made enemies of business, academia, students, NGOs, donor agencies and millions of your people.
If nothing changes, if you cannot realize the error of your ways and change them, Malawi as a nation is doomed. You will have condemned us to many more decades of ‘catch-up’ in a difficult and rapidly changing world that may no longer have the scope to pander to your follies for very much longer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


'Birds of a feather flock together' means that like associates with like. Pigs with pigs. Drinkers with drinkers.Thieves with thieves. If we don't know too much about a person we should look at their chosen company.
As a little light relief for Sunday here's the Famous Pig Song - the lesson is quite clear. If you don't want your companion's character to reflect badly on you - walk away.

The Famous Pig Song
(Clarke Van Ness, music by F. Henri Klickmann)

 'Twas an evening in October, I'll confess I wasn't sober,
 I was carting home a load with manly pride,
 When my feet began to stutter and I fell into the gutter,
 And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
 Then I lay there in the gutter and my heart was all a-flutter,
 Till a lady, passing by, did chance to say:
 "You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses,"
 Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.

     Walked away, walked away,
     He was really too particular to stay.
     "You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses,"
     Then the pig got up and slowly walked away.

 Then I heard a gentle mooing, it was like a pigeon cooing,
 As a home returning cow stopped in her stride,
 And her eyes were big and gentle; her expression sentimental,
 As she curtsied low and sat down by my side.
 Then I saw her eyelids flutter and a tear fell in the gutter,
 As the owner of the cow did loudly say:
 "Leave that brute this moment, Sonja, or your milk will curdle on ya,"
 Then the cow got up and slowly walked away.

     Walked away, walked away,
     She was really too particular to stay.
     "Leave that brute this moment, Sonja, or your milk will curdle on ya,"
     Then the cow got up and slowly walked away.

 Then the moon began to shine in that old gutter I reclined in,
 Thinking of the weakness of the human race,
 When a dog sat down beside me, and I thought he came to chide me,
 Till he gently licked the stubble on my face.
 In the gutter, still reclining, I began "Sweet Adeline-ing,"
 While the dog raised up his head to loudly bay;
 Then his mistress said, "Come, Fido, that disgusting man may bite you,"
 Then the dog got up and slowly walked away.

     Walked away, walked away,
     He was really too particular to stay.
     Then his mistress said, "Come, Fido, that disgusting man may bite you,"
     Then the dog got up and slowly walked away.

 Down the street there came a clatter, and a gentle pitter-patter,
 As a pair of goats along the gutter ran;
 And it seemed that Billy knew me, for he quickly drew up to me,
 While his wife munched on an empty sardine can.
 Then again my pulse did flutter, and my heart was soft as butter;
 Till the Nanny goat, unto her mate, did say:
 "William dear, your social status don't include men such as that is,"
 Then the goat got up and slowly walked away.

     Walked away, walked away,
     He was really too particular to stay.
     "William dear, your social status don't include men such as that is,"
     Then the goat got up and slowly walked away.

 Then I started in to mutter and I rose up from the gutter,
 Then I sadly went about my lonely way;
 I was weary, sick and busted; I was really quite disgusted,
 And I vowed to sign the pledge that very day.
 For each humble, lowly creature, a great lesson he can teach ya,
 Like the one learned while I in the gutter lay;
 In the tavern, do not tarry, when you've got all you can carry,
 But take up your load and slowly walk away.

     Walk away, walk away,
     For the "Horrors" is an awful price to pay,
     In the tavern, do not tarry, when you've got all you can carry,
     But take up your load and slowly walk away.

 Now lately I've been thinking that I will quit my drinking.
 I'm going to leave off whiskey, beer and grog,
 For there's no consolation, but only aggravation,
 You can't even find friendship with a hog.

 (Alternate last stanza)
 I began to scratch the gravel, on my all fours I did travel,
 I rambled down the road the best I could.
 When I awoke next morning, just as the day was dawning,
 I was in a hog pen away out in the woods.
 Then the hogs began to grumble, I started and I stumbled,
 I fell right in their midst and there I lay.
 Then one by one they started, till all the herd departed,
 Yes, every hog got up and walked away.

     Walked away, etc.