Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Saviour

The Saviour

I was sitting on the veranda trying to make sense of a Post Editorial when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned round to find the rather ample figure of a man. ‘Hullo Kalaki,’ he said, ‘how’s it going?’

‘Who are you?’ I replied, as I stood up to shake his hand.

‘I’m fine,’ he said.

‘I didn’t say how are you, I said who are you?’

‘I’m Alex,’ he said. ‘I’ve been your good friend for the past year, we chat almost every week on Facebook.’

‘Alex!’ I exclaimed, ‘I thought you lived in cyberspace! Sit down! Have a brandy! Make yourself at home! What brings you here?’

‘I was looking at the question you posted on Facebook this morning,’ he said, ‘asking why these senile old leaders insist on hanging on when the entire country is screaming for them to go.’

‘Then I’m glad you dropped in,’ I said. ‘What’s the answer? I’m supposed to be writing my story tomorrow.’

‘What’s your answer?’ he countered.

‘Nothing very original,’ I admitted. ‘Usual sort of thing. He’s so busy stealing and can’t stop. Got his hand stuck in the till. Wants to completely fill his Swiss bank account before he leaves. Just another fifty million and then he’ll quit!’

‘You mean he has to complete his programme,’ laughed Alex.

‘Exactly,’ I agreed. ‘Also he hasn’t yet identified a country which will provide him with a comfortable exile and protect him from extradition for theft. So far he has visited only 75 countries, and still has to check the other 87 to see if there might be just one that would have him.’

‘Your only problem,’ said Alex, as I refreshed his glass, ‘is that these are not the sort of explanations he can give to the voters.’

‘Well of course not,’ I cackled. ‘He can’t tell them the truth. He has to say he is bringing development, even though the people are getting poorer. He says that he has to continue the fight against corruption, when he’s actually fighting the fight against corruption. He promises a free and fair election, while at the same time training his private militia and subverting the election commission.’

‘Poor old Kalaki,’ sighed Alex. ‘You’re huffing and puffing like an Old Testament Prophet, or like Jesus on a bad day. You’ve been reading too many Post editorials. You view all problems as good versus evil, truth versus lies and God versus the Devil. The world is not that simple!’

‘Is it not? Are we not ruled by crooks who know very well they are crooks, and knowingly lie to us. They say one thing but do another. They are nothing but thieving hypocrites, who claim to be working for our benefit when they are working only for the enrichment of themselves! Is this not the simple truth?’

‘A couple of days ago,’ said Alex, ‘I was watching Mubarak on TV. It was rather sad. He had reduced the entire country to complete chaos, but he announced that he had to stay on to ensure stability. He said he had to do his duty, and that he intended to die in Egypt.’

‘Hah!’ I cackled. ‘There’s a few people who might grant him his wish on that one! And possibly within the next week!’

‘But contrary to your theory, he doesn’t seem to see himself as a crook, but rather as the Saviour of his people.’

‘He can see himself as Count Dracula for all I care!’ I shouted. ‘He’s got to bugger off!’

‘He may be a corrupt liar,’ said Alex calmly, ‘but I think he sees himself as working for the interests of his people.’

‘Poof,’ I said, as I refilled his glass. ‘You’ll need another brandy to argue your way out of that one!’

‘Take our man Nyamasoya,’ said Alex. ‘I think he probably means well. He sees himself and his clique as clinging onto power in order to protect the rest of us from the stink of corruption. If the ruling elite can keep corruption amongst themselves, then they can prevent the rest of us from indulging in bribery, rigging elections, illegal allocation of land, shooting of unarmed protesters, and so on.’

‘Isn’t this what I said! They’re just crooks and thieves!’

‘But I’m suggesting they really have our interests at heart. They know that we Zedians are honest people who can enjoy the simple life. They want to protect us from the stink and corruption of power and wealth. Nyamasoya sees us as our Saviour. By taking all power and wealth to himself, he has also lifted the burden of corruption from the rest of us, and carries it on our behalf, so that we may live in purity and peace!’

‘So he’s not just a simple crook?’

‘Not at all,’ replied Alex. ‘Like all true dictators, he is both imaginative and intelligent, and really believes that he is working for our benefit. He believes God has authorized him to carry all the evils of corruption on his broad shoulders. Believing himself appointed by God, he therefore also believes that he will be judged only by God. It is this theocratic ideology which explains his contempt for any mere Earthly judge or judgement.’

‘So he has God and ideology on his side!’


‘If that’s the case,’ I declared, ‘the problem is more deep rooted than I thought.’

‘Exactly,’ said Alex.

[Special thanks to Alexander Mwalula for his contribution to this story]


  1. but what does zambia have to compare to the muslim brotherhood?