Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Great Bag of Maize
‘And when,’ I asked, ‘did you first become known as the Great Bag of Maize, or GBM?’
‘Look, Kalaki,’ he chuckled, as his vast belly wobbled around in his huge armchair. ‘I’m in the maize business. The fellows who grow maize become smaller and poorer. But the ones who buy it grow larger and richer.’
‘Sitting here and looking back at those events of two years ago,’ I said, ‘how do you feel about it now? There you were, with all the money you wanted. You’d bought yourself a mansion in Kabungula and a seat in parliament. Then suddenly you were arrested for beating your wife, and people were calling you the Great Bullying Monster. Wasn’t that a Gigantic Big Mistake?’
‘You don’t understand, Kalaki. I was the head of a large family and I had a big business and plenty of money. My next career move was obviously the presidency.’
‘I understand that alright. It’s a natural progression. You’d got plenty of excess cash to buy votes, you naturally want to go for the top job. But my question is, instead of getting yourself on all the front pages for some charitable work, such as distributing peanuts to the orphans of maize farmers who had committed suicide, you managed to get on all the front pages for battering your wife!’
‘Exactly. It was a good career move. You see, people were fed up with lies and hypocrisy. They wanted an honest man as president. God appointed me head of my household in Kabungula. So if my family respect God they must respect me. God has given me the job of maintaining discipline, to ensure that all members of the household are there to serve me and to fear me. When I walk into the house, I don’t expect to hear anybody cough, let alone be cheeky.’
‘But your party, the Putrefaction Front, was in favour of equal rights for women.’
‘The Putrefaction Front!’ shouted GBM, ‘stinks of hypocrisy! They support democracy in public, but they are little kings in their own homes! They beat their wives in private, but denounce wife-beaters in public.’
‘So when you came out of jail, you started your own party?’
‘When I came out of jail, I was a national hero. Within a couple of months, after I had got back into training, I won the vacant All-Africa Wife-Beating Championship (WBC) belt.’
‘You didn’t think of fighting other men?’
‘I am a peaceful man, I’ve always been against fighting, especially other men. We men must unite together, in order to discipline our wives. Only a properly disciplined wife can love her husband. When we have discipline in the home, then we can have discipline in the nation.’
‘So was that when you started your own party?’
‘Yes, that was the beginning of the New PF, the Punching Fist.’ He waved his fist proudly towards the huge French window, through which we could see the grand drive into State House. ‘We won the election easily, only six months after being registered. Velvet Mango devised such a crafty strategy that we didn’t even have to rig. The women’s vote was split between the three other parties, so we won easily.’
As we were talking, a woman with a bandage over her eye hobbled on crutches past the French window. ‘That’s my beloved wife Punchbag,’ said GBM proudly. ‘She’s wearing the latest in First Lady fashion, and many other women are now dressing like her.’
‘And is government now different under the wise guidance of the Punching Fist?’
‘Much the same,’ he laughed. ‘Our discrimination against women is much the same as during the previous government. The only difference is that the previous government claimed that it was struggling to end discrimination, whereas we are honest, and openly support the subordinate position of women in our traditional culture.’
‘And what about other policies?’
‘Our policy is to maintain discipline in the state just as we do in the home. Any critics or protesters are immediately jumped upon by the police, beaten up and thrown into jail.’
‘Isn’t that the same as before?’
‘Exactly. But the previous government claimed it supported freedom of expression and freedom of association. Whereas I am very clear that I am the Father of the Nation, and that anybody who says otherwise should expect to get thumped.’
Just then we heard a huge crash. GBM struggled to heave himself out of his chair. We rushed to the French window, to see that the huge wrought iron gates had been pushed over, and thousands of women were pouring into the garden as the guards scampered.
GBM ran squealing for his life, like a demented hippo, as angry women chased him across the ruins of the golf course. I stood there at the portico, watching the scene. Then towards me came Esther Phiri, punching the air with her red boxing gloves. ‘Thanks for delaying him, Kalaki!’ she said softly as she slipped her strong arm around me and gave me a powerful kiss. ‘I’m giving you a job in my new government. You’re going to be my First Lady!’
‘Not me!’ I shouted, as I jumped on my bicycle. ‘I’m off!’
[Kalaki acknowledges help from several Facebook friends, especially Vincent Sampa for introducing me to Esther, and Anthony Mwanaumo for the WBC]


  1. The article is nice. I mean, very informative. But what I love most is the editorial pic. Meaningful. Lol.

  2. Kalaki...you never cease to amaze me...nice one..the carton is nice too...but who does your cartoons now?

  3. My cartoons are done by Kiss Brian Abraham Aka Kiss!