Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Michael the Magician

Michael the Magician

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I asked Thoko. ‘Your mother is very keen that you shouldn’t end up like Grandpa.’
     ‘My dear mother,’ sighed Thoko, ‘is very ambitious on my behalf, so I’ve told her that I’m going to be president one day. So you’d better tell me how it’s done.’
     ‘There are various ways of doing it,’ I said, ‘But it’s generally reckoned that the most fantastic capture of the presidency was achieved by Michael the Magician, who founded the Perfectly Fantastic party, the PF.’
     ‘So how did he do it?’
     ‘He had the advantage of being a highly trained magician, able to completely deceive a large audience, with nobody suspecting that he was cheating.’
     ‘I’m already able to deceive Mummy.’
     ‘Well, that’s a good start. Although I’m told that by the age of three Michael could deceive an entire nursery school. By the time he ran for president he could deceive a crowd of thousands. For example, at a political rally he would call a member of the audience on stage to show everybody that his back pocket was empty. Then he would turn round three times, wave his magic wand, shout Abrakadabraka!  and then the same person would again inspect the same pocket and pull out a million kwacha, as Michael would shout More money in your pocket!’
     ‘But he had put more money in his own pocket,’ laughed Thoko.
     ‘Nobody seemed to notice that,’ I said. ‘Then he would take out a handful of little bits of torn paper from his pocket, and let them flutter down into an empty box, saying Imagine this is the Barotseland Agreement that was torn up by the Mad Munshumfwa! Then he would close the box and shake it, there would be a crack of fire and a puff of smoke, and Michael the Magician would pull a complete document from the box, saying This is how I shall restore the Barotseland Agreement!’
     ‘But how were people so easily deceived?’ Thoko wondered.
     ‘The first rule of the confidence trick,’ I explained, ‘is that you choose things that people really want to believe. His favourite was the two curtain trick. He would pull the curtains back to show a scene of unemployed youths outside a bar, as the crowd would shout We want jobs! Then he would close the curtains and mutter some strange spells and call on his ancestors. When he pulled back the curtains, there was the same gang of youths busy building a house, already up to the wall plate level. How the crowd would cheer! In another version of this trick a policeman with a gun would miraculously turn into a dove sitting on an olive branch. Even more popular was when he would cause a group of Chinese labourers to disappear entirely. The cheers would sometimes last for a full ten minutes, while Michael bowed to the crowd.’
     ‘So he was easily elected president?’ suggested Thoko.
     ‘Of course,’ I replied.
     ‘And did he do well as president?’ she asked doubtfully.
     ‘Of course not,’ I laughed. ‘After six months he had entirely failed to do any of the things he had promised.’
     ‘So did they give him more time?’
     ‘The problem wasn’t more time,’ I explained. ‘The problem was that he was doing the opposite of what he had promised. So they started shouting Where is the money in our pockets? But he would reply First I have to get the money into my pocket, then it can trickle down into your pockets!
     ‘They shouted Where is the Barotseland Agreement? But he replied Where is Barotseland?
     ‘They shouted You said you would chase the Chinese! But he replied I am chasing them from China and more will be arriving tomorrow!
     ‘Then they shouted Where are all the jobs that you promised? But he answered them by saying They have all been given to the Chinese!
     ‘Then the people began to get angry, chanting PF is Perfect Fraud! PF is Perfect Fraud!’
     ‘So did he have to resign?’ wondered Thoko.
     ‘Of course not,’ I laughed. ‘He accused them of treason and sent in the army. Then they chanted You promised no bullets! But he answered I promised no police bullets, but I never said anything about army bullets!’
     ‘But why didn’t he just keep his promises?’ asked Thoko.
     ‘You have a lot to understand about politics, my dear young Thoko.  To become president, of course you have to ask people what they want, and then promise to give them whatever they ask for. But once you have become president, then you have to show them who is in charge! Being president means that you decide for them, not them deciding for you! You have to walk all over them before they start walking all over you! That is what we mean by government in this country! People need to experience the firm smack of authority!’
     ‘But surely, Grandpa, to avoid annoying people too much, couldn’t Michael the Magician have kept just one of his promises?’
     ‘He did,’ I said. ‘He kept his promise to open ten new secondary schools.’
     ‘So at least everybody was pleased with that?’
     ‘No, they were even more annoyed. You see, he went to Botswana and opened ten new schools down there.’
     Tears welled into Thoko’s eyes. ‘When I become president,’ she said, ‘I shall keep all my promises.’
     ‘So you may imagine,’ I said. ‘But it’s never been done before.’ 


  1. Always Amazing from you... I am wondering did you have to get special training to write these...

    1. Certainly not! The secret of writing is to avoid any training.

  2. true the secret of writing is to avoid any training.

  3. hooooo kalaki,ths write up is amazing and its in two fold cos it has talked abt watmagician did 2 his people in his 1st 6 months and it goes on 2 say wat he wl do by the time his term endz...
    am tempted 2 say ths sam kind of kalaki prophecy....

  4. spectacular man.mr can i send one writing about politics?

  5. We shall never see much good from our president ...schools are collasping and children lerning in church buildings !Anyway PF can not delivery and will not improve our lives...


  7. Thus my man. You're super

  8. Kalaki Truly amazing! love your writing, uv made my day.

  9. Amazing but ever so on point

  10. When does a politician begin to lie, the moment they open their mouths.

  11. now no freedom of information bill

  12. If we had grammy awards in Zed, this one would take first prize for being timely and reflecting truth

  13. good man always telling it as it is and happening in our land zambia today.goodwork