The old decrepit judge shuffled into the courtroom, assisted by two
clerks of the court. His black gown was in tatters and yellow
horsehair hung around his creased and wizened face. As the bowed
figure stood before us, we also stood and bowed, and then sat down.
But the judge remained standing in a bowed position. 'What's wrong
with him?' I hissed to Sara. 'He seems to be stuck.'
'That's Justice Nchekeleko,' said Sara, 'he's permanently bent.'
As we were whispering the two clerks of the court gently lifted the
bent judge into his high chair, which perfectly accommodated his bent
'Has he always been bent like that?' I wondered.
'Oh no,' said Sara. 'As a young man he was straight and upright, but
as he got older he became more and more bent.'
The judge was now shuffling some papers with his grotesquely crooked fingers.
'Today,' croaked Justice Nchekeleko, 'has been set aside for delivery
of the judgement in the by-election petition lodged on 25 July
2010 by the late Mr Mulombe Musungulushi…
'2010?' I hissed in Sara's ear. 'That's more than twenty years ago!'
'Justice is a slow business,' Sara whispered. 'In court, people are
not allowed to speak faster than the speed at which the judge can
'With his arthritis,' I whispered, 'I doubt if he could write ten
words in an hour.'
'… the petitioner based his petition on four grounds,' the judge was
now saying. 'Firstly that violence disturbed the election and
prevented some people from voting. Secondly that the opposition party
used underhand tactics. Thirdly that the opposition stole their
election materials. Fourthly that the media were biased against Mr
Musungulushi's party, the Movement for Murdering Democracy.'
'Was that by-election really twenty years ago?' I wondered.
'Oh yes,' she said. 'That was before statutory regulation abolished
TV, and we started attending court cases for our entertainment. You're
getting old my dear, you used to have such a good memory.'
'On the first ground,' said the judge, 'I find as a fact that the
opposition party openly and brazenly used violence in preventing MMD
thugs from cutting off the fingers of opposition voters. Since the
opposition won this by-election by only a hundred votes, this
constitutes clear evidence that MMD would have won if only a few more
fingers had been cut off.
On other hand, it has also to be recorded that the opposition
complained to this court that the police never arrested any MMD thugs.
However, this issue is now moot, having been superseded by the
provisions of the National Unity Constitution of 2025, at Article 102,
which identifies all opposition parties as enemies of the state.
'On the second ground, of underhand tactics, the petitioner has
explained that the MMD gave every voter a bag of sugar on the clear
contractual understanding that they should vote for Mr. Musungulushi.
I find it proven beyond reasonable doubt that opposition leaders urged
voters to ignore these contractual obligations, in clear contravention
of the Law of Contract. However, I will stop short of recommending
legal action to seek damages from the opposition party, since their
leaders are all in indefinite detention on unspecified charges.
'On the third count, of stealing election materials, I find it proven
that opposition cadres invaded the MMD camp and stole a considerable
amount of valuable election material, namely several hundred pangas.
So again, I find in favour of the petitioner.
'Lastly, Mr Musungulushi provided evidence that the Zambia National
Bootlicking Corporation was biased. I find this evidence compelling.
It is clear that ZNBC showed only MMD politicians and thugs, thereby
creating the erroneous impression that MMD was the only party that was
spilling blood. We should here recall that it was this notorious
interference with the political process which caused the subsequent
banning of all TV transmissions, in 2011, under the provisions for
'In the face of such overwhelming evidence I have no choice but to
declare that this petition succeeds, and I declare that the late Mr
Elected Katundu was never elected as MP for Mufumbushi on 29 June
2010. I further declare, on this day 27 May 2031, that Mr Mulombe
Musungulushi shall retroactively and posthumously serve as member of
parliament for Mufumbushi, for the period 29 June 2010 to 1 January
2012, the latter being the date of the royal decree which abolished
'Wow,' I whispered to Sara. 'How could a judge become so bent?'
'Old age,' she sniggered.
'We're also very old, but we're not bent.'
'You don't understand,' she said. 'He's thirty years beyond normal
retiring age. Every two years he needs another renewal of contract.
Fifteen times he's had to bend down, grovel and lick boots. The
humiliation has gradually deformed him physically and morally, as he
bends the law to match the ugly demands of political expediency.'
'So what's his next case?'
'After all these twenty years of the election petition, he can now
finally turn his attention to the registration of the London judgement
against Wabufi Kafupi.'
'Kafupi! Is he still alive, after all these years? What's he doing nowadays?'
'Haven't you heard? He's the new Chief Justice!'