Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Who Let the Dogs Out?


Who Let the Dogs Out?

            I was sitting having a peaceful breakfast when Bang Crash through the front door came two large grandsons. ‘Hello Grandpa!’ they laughed, as one ruffled my hair, and the other emptied a pile of cornflakes into a bowl, ‘You’re very lucky this morning, we’ve come to join you for breakfast!’
          ‘Thank you very much,’ I said. ‘But was there no breakfast at No.6?’
          ‘Very sad,’ sighed Khoza. ‘The cupboard is bare.’
          ‘Why’s that?’ I wondered.
          ‘Who knows?’ sneered Kondwa. ‘Perhaps we’ve been affected by the civil war in Syria.’
          ‘Anyway,’ I said, ‘this gives me a chance to have a little talk with both of you. What are you planning to do when you grow up?’
          ‘Is that all you can ever ask?’ laughed Kondwa, as he emptied the bowl of sugar onto his cornflakes. ‘What about you Grandpa? What are you going to do if you ever grow up?’
          I turned away from his insolence. ‘What about you, Khoza?’ I asked. ‘Have you applied to Yunza?’
          ‘Yunza!’ he cackled. ‘Four years of study and then find myself unemployed? Ha! You must be joking!’
          ‘But if we could just find connections in government,’ said Kondwa,  ‘then we could easily…’
          ‘We haven’t got connections in government,’ snapped Khoza. ‘All we’ve got is Grandpa in Watchdog.’
          ‘Just as well,’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t want you getting into wrong company.’
          ‘I’ve already decided what I’m going to do,’ declared Khoza. ‘I’m going to be an entrepreneur. Under the new government policy there’s lots of opportunities for youths like me!’
          ‘Doing what?’ I wondered. ‘Model aeroplanes for Barbie dolls? Curly hair for the Chinese? Mealie meal for Kitwe?’
          ‘Militia,’ said Khoza.
          ‘Militia?’ I said. ‘You mean toy soldiers for apamwamba children?’
          ‘Real soldiers,’ he declared boldly. ‘I’m going to establish my own army with their own lovely crimson uniforms.’
          ‘You’ve been watching too many films about Sierra Leone,’ I laughed. ‘Where will the money come from to pay your soldiers?’
          ‘Poor old Grandpa,' he laughed, 'you’re way out of touch. Nowadays rich politicians have to hire militia to defend themselves from their opponents. So they’ll hire me to them to deal with opposing parties, as well to squash rebellions and splits in their own parties, and also to help them defend their electoral territory during elections. It’s good business!  Militias are the latest thing in politics! Get with it Grandpa!’
          ‘I’m afraid you’ve got it all wrong,’ I said sadly. ‘This present chaos is just a temporary aberration.  The police will soon restore order!’
          ‘The police!’ laughed Khoza. ‘They are just another militia working for the ruling party!’
          ‘If that were true, which it isn’t,’ I snorted, ‘they would nonetheless arrest the opposition party militia and order would be restored!’
          ‘My poor old simple Grandpa,’ sighed Khoza, ‘it’s not that simple. ‘Some of these opposition militia are actually in the pay of the ruling party, working behind enemy lines, to destabilize the opposition. So the police don’t even know who is on which side, or which militia to arrest.’
          ‘So according to you, what is the job of the police?’
          ‘Their only remaining job,’ laughed Khoza, ‘is to use the Public Order Act to arrest ordinary citizens who protest against the party warfare.’
          ‘They’re right to protest!’ I protested.
          ‘Nonsense,’ scoffed Khoza. ‘It’s really nothing to do with party warfare, it’s really about capturing and holding state power. Even if there were no opposition, the ruling party would still need its own militia.’
          ‘Poof,’ I scoffed. ‘Give me an example.’
          ‘Suppose the Asinine Corrupt Commission were asinine enough to try to investigate a government minister for corruption. This would be a direct threat to his power. So he would need his own militia to go in there and sort them out! They would need to feel the firm smack of authority!’
          ‘Didn’t you learn anything in school about the constitution?’ I wondered.
          ‘In school,’ said Khoza slowly, ‘I learnt about the power of the cane and the whip to trample all over our human rights.’
          I turned now towards Kondwa, hoping for a better prospect. ‘What about you, what are you going to do when you leave school? Do you have a better idea?’
          ‘Much better,’ he replied confidently. ‘Khoza wants to work for the upper class. But I want to set up my own business.’
          ‘An independent business?’
          ‘Of course,’ replied Kondwa. ‘I would set up my own militia as a private enterprise, controlled only by myself. Do you know, Grandpa, if I were to set up my own roadblock on the Great East Road, I could collect more money in a morning that you get from your pension in a year.’
          ‘Oh dear,’ I sighed. ‘Do you have no better ambition?’
          ‘I have much bigger ambition,’ replied Kondwa calmly. ‘I shall use my militia to invade and take over the Office of the Chief Registrar, and then use my position to deregister all parties, institutions and authorities. When I have removed everybody else from power, I shall of course automatically take over as president.’
          ‘Does neither of you believe in the rule of law?’ I cried, as tears came to my eyes.
          ‘Look Grandpa,’ said Khoza, putting his arm around me, ‘we young people have to live in the world as we find it, not as you imagine it.’
          Just then Sara came sailing in through the door, then stopped and looked at us. ‘You boys,’ she shouted, ‘have you been upsetting Grandpa again?’
          ‘We were just trying,’ said Khoza, ‘to introduce him to the real world.’
          ‘Well stop it immediately,’ she shouted. ‘He’s far too old for that!’


  

5 comments:

  1. Clear cut Kalaki,

    A rather humorous but adept account of the callous,morally repugnant, insidious and ludicrous system that has robbed both fronts of the Zambian political scene,in recent times.

    Thank you once again for such a concise and robust masterpiece.

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  2. 8/10...love it!!!

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    Replies
    1. What have you done with my other two marks? Have they gone to the dogs?

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  3. Lovely I just hope these bald heads read this. It might change there thoughts.

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