This morning I had nearly finished my breakfast before my dear husband appeared. D’you know why? He was trying to decide which tie to put on. Sometimes he tries on twenty different ties before he comes to a definite decision. He changes his ties even more often than he changes his ministers.
I had nearly finished my toast and marmalade when he finally appeared, flicking specks of invisible dust from his lapel. ‘Good morning, darling,’ I said.
‘If you say so,’ he replied. ‘What’s in the papers this morning?’
‘The Boast has got a long editorial…’
‘That’s nothing new,’ he chuckled, ‘It always has a long editorial. Nobody to edit the editor, that’s the problem.’
‘Ninety days of broken promises.’
‘What did you say dear?’
‘That’s the title of the editorial. Ninety days of broken promises.’
‘Would you mind, my dear,’ he replied, ‘pouring me a cup of tea.’
‘Ninety days of broken promises,’ I repeated, as I poured him a cup to tea.
‘Who’s been breaking their promises?’
‘You, my dearest. He’s talking about you.’
He hung his head for a moment. Then looked up, and looked me straight in the eye. I’m very worried. Everybody will be talking about it.’
‘Talking about what, darling?’
‘This green tie. My mother always told me never to wear green with blue. Does it clash? I had put on the red one, but it seem rather dull. Rather Mwanawasarish. Should I change it before I appear before the cameras?’
My poor darling, I thought. All these years he’s been preparing for this job, but now he’s finally got there, it all seems too much for him. All those years he was out of work, and I was buying him all those suits and ties, so he could parade in front of the mirror, practicing how to look presidential. All those years of practice, but still he can’t quite get it right.
‘Look darling,’ I said slowly, ‘I’m sure you’ll get over your tie problems eventually. But in the meantime, the editor seems to be worried about other things. All those things you promised to do in ninety days, and they just haven’t happened.
‘What is the silly fellow talking about? I’ve appointed ninety commissions to investigate ninety members of the previous government. Already they’ve worked for ninety days and found Dollar Sillier with ninety motorbikes, Shitulene Musokelela with ninety salaries, and Nyamasoya with ninety houses. We even found Awful Litako with ninety billion in his belly after he tried to swallow the evidence. This editor had better shut up, or I’ll come looking for his ninety strange motor vehicles!’
‘But what about the new constitution in ninety days?’
‘No problem there. Within the stipulated ninety days I had appointed a commission of non-experts to make recommendations on the composition of a committee of experts to make recommendations to me personally on a road-map for a constitutional process so that I can, at my sole discretion, put these recommendations before the cabinet who can then, if they so wish, make recommendations to parliament so that parliament can then decide whether or not we should have a referendum so that the people themselves can decide whether or not we should have a new constitution making process which will then…’
But my poor dear husband’s voice tailed off, as his attention seemed to wander. After a long pause, he suddenly said ‘If I’m going to keep this green tie, then I should change into my dark brown suit.’
‘You know best darling,’ I replied. ‘The editor is also raising the question of your directive to authorise street trading, which he says contravenes the law. He is wondering whether the law is still made by act of parliament, or is now being made by decree in State House.’
My dear husband was now looking philosophically at the ceiling. ‘When it comes to wondering, there are so many thinks to wonder about. After my very successful minibus trip in Livingstone, I am now wondering whether to save fuel by travelling by bicycle.’
‘But darling, what about security?’
‘I could still have the six Mercs and twelve motorcycles in front and behind, and a helicopter overhead, in case of any act of subversion by the treasonable chiefs in North Western Province.’
‘But darling,’ I persisted, trying to get him back on track, ‘don’t you need to answer the editor when he complains that you promised people that if they all voted for you then they would all be given jobs.’
‘That’s a deliberate misquote,’ sighed my dear husband. ‘What I actually said was that if they all voted for me then they would all give me a job. I must say I’m so grateful to you, my dear, for looking after me during those long years of unemployment.’
‘Thank you, darling. You know I love you so much. But just one last thing, before you go off and do a bit of hiring and firing, don’t you think you should make some response to these complaints about ninety days of broken promises?’
‘If you like, my dear, I shall appoint a commission of enquiry to investigate which newspapers have been complaining during the past ninety days, and to make recommendations on which editors should be fired.’
‘But before that, darling, don’t forget to change your tie.’
‘Not my tie. My suit. I’m going to change the suit.’
‘Yes, dear. You know best.’