Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court
‘I sit here today,’ declared the Judge, ‘to make a decision on an application from the Attorney Degenerate, to register in Zambia the London judgment against Kafupi Mupupu.’
‘Is this the notorious Judge Contempt?’ I whispered in Sara’s ear.
‘Some say his full name is Contemptuous,’ she replied. ‘Others say he is really Contemptible’.
‘First of all,’ declared the judge, ‘I shall call upon the Attorney Degenerate to summarise his arguments in support of his application.’
Up stood a wig and gown, looking more like a penguin. ‘Your horror,’ he began, ‘I stand here on behalf of the good people of Zambia. The London judgment finds that Mupupu, whilst posing as a servant of the people, actually stole fifty million dollars from them, which he used to buy fancy suits and high heeled shoes, only keeping out of jail by bribing the judiciary.’
‘Mmmm,’ an angry murmur rose up from the packed audience.
‘Silence!’ shouted the judge, ‘or I’ll have you all locked up for contempt of court.’
‘That’s why he’s called Judge Contempt,’ whispered Sara.
‘The Foreign Judgments Act,’ continued the Attorney Degenerate, ‘can be used to register the London judgment, and recover the people’s money. Your horror, I rest my case.’
‘Doesn’t he mean “your honour”?’ I wondered.
‘Difficult to say,’ she whispered. ‘People are losing respect for judges.’
‘And now,’ said the judge, ‘I call upon the Defiant Defence to put the case for the Defective Defendant.’
‘Thank you My Lewd,’ said another wig and gown, this one looking more like a huge glass of milk stout. ‘I just rise to point out that my learned colleague the Attorney Degenerate is quite wrong to claim that my client was a servant of the people. As a matter of fact, he was the king. A king is entitled to take money from the people, so that he can live like a king, and have natty suits and lovely little sparkling shoes, as befit a king.
‘Futhermore,’ continued the Defiant Defence, ‘I am entirely puzzled at the constitutional confusion of my learned colleague, when he claims that he is here to represent the people. Was he not appointed by the present king? Did he not swear loyalty to the king?
‘And how will kings ever be able to rule in future, if former kings can be brought to court like common criminals, to have their lawful decisions reconsidered? We are even brought to court to hear tittle tattle about the king buying himself a suit! Is not the king a law unto himself? Is not all law signed into law by the king? Then how does my learned friend come here to misuse his legal training, to misuse the law he got from the king, to try to undermine the very king to whom he swore loyalty! He blatantly abuses his office to represent the people against the king, whilst simultaneously accusing others of corruption. My Lewd, I rest my case.’
The crowd sat there, silent and baffled, scratching their heads. ‘Are we living in a monarchy or a democracy?’ I whispered to Sara.
‘That’s the question,’ she replied, ‘which will be answered here today.’
‘The case now comes to judgment,’ announced the judge. ‘ Firstly, I find the arguments from the defence to be entirely inadequate. The constitution is very clear that the law is made by the people, through their representatives in parliament. Therefore the king is not above the law.
‘But there are also inadequacies in the arguments of the Attorney Degenerate. He claimed that the money in question, purported to be stolen, was used to corrupt the judiciary. But if believed his own claim, then he would not be wasting his time bringing this case to court.’
‘But perhaps he is wasting his time?’ I murmured.
‘That’s another question to be decided today,’ Sara chuckled.
‘Furthermore,’ continued the judge, ‘the Attorney Degenerate has not explained how ten year old suits and shoes can have any present value, bearing in mind that they are now frayed and worn, and only big enough to fit a dwarf. So how is this money to be recovered?
‘More fundamentally, whereas the Attorney Degenerate has correctly cited the Foreign Judgments Act, he has entirely overlooked the relevance of the Importation Act of 1971, which makes no provision for the importation of foreign judgments. The application is therefore denied, and the London judgment cannot be registered.’
‘Booo! Corruption! Bent as a cucumber!’ We all stood up, shouting.
‘Contempt of court!’ squealed the contemptible judge. ‘I sentence you all to ten years in jail!’
But by this time there were bags of rotten eggs and tomatoes being passed down our row, so we all started hurling them at the judge. ‘Sell out! Bought and paid for! Traitor!’
As the judge fled, we all rushed out to the carpark, just in time to catch Judge Contempt scrambling into his limo. More eggs and tomatoes flew. ‘He’s now a rich man!’ somebody shouted. ‘He’s retiring to the Bahamas!’ How we all laughed and cheered!
I turned to Sara. ‘The night is still young, let’s go back in for a drink!’
Everybody was in jovial mood in the Playhouse Bar. ‘That’s the best comedy I’ve seen in years,’ I said to Sara. ‘Participatory theatre! So realistic!’
‘You should go to the real court,’ she laughed. ‘It’s even more ridiculous!’


  1. Yeah this is awesome

  2. You've always been an great writer and great analyst. You have inspired me into writing as well. I have a blog: http://chalochanga.blogspot.com, I would be honoured if you could read some of my writings and pass your comments and even become a follower! I have four followers, you now have 61!!! I want to catch up with you. continue writing!

  3. Its rather sad that the multitude of us zambians adore your work but dont know where to find you .We hardly used to wait for Thursday wen yo article used to appear mupost .Continue yo goodwork and fearlessness.