Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blinker Kapimbe

Blinker Kapimbe

            ‘Come in, come in, Kalaki,’ said the Honorable Blinker Kapimbe, pointing to the chair in front of his desk. ‘Just tell me what’s worrying you, I can explain everything.’
          ‘To start with,’ I said, ‘I see that the notice on your door says Minister of Injustice rather than Minister of Justice.’
          ‘That a legacy from the previous MMD minister,’ he explained. ‘Terrible fellow! Mad as a hatter! I’ve been so busy bringing justice to the entire country that I quite forgot about my own door. But if you’re just doing a national door inspection, perhaps you’d like to move on to the next door and leave me to do my work.’
          ‘There’s just one question I wanted to ask,’ I said. ‘I’ve been wondering about your strategy of increasing your parliamentary majority by giving ministerial jobs to opposition MPs, and causing by-elections.’
          ‘Then you can stop wondering,’ said Blinker. ‘We are building an all inclusive government for national development.’
          ‘Half a minute,’ I said. ‘You invited the notorious Violence Kaponya to be a minister, and now he’s standing for your Paya Farmer party in the Katali by-election. Do you really want Violence in your party?’
          ‘He sat back in his chair, leaning his head towards the rows of law books on the shelves behind him. They looked all very new, as if they’d never been touched. ‘What’s your point?’ he sneered. ‘We got him from the Multi-Murder Disaster party. They’re all violent!’
          ‘My point is,’ I said, ‘the Paya Farmer party is supposed to be opposed to Violence, but now you’ve invited him in.’
          ‘How little you understand politics, Kalaki,’ he laughed. ‘When we were in opposition we were accused of being violent, just as you now accuse the Honorable Kaponya of being violent. This is the nature of politics. Just as politics is partisan, so political violence is also partisan. Violence Kaponya was only violent because he was in the opposition. You’re entirely correct that we are against Violence in the opposition, and that is precisely why we invited him to join the government in order to make Violence legitimate.’
          ‘Violence is legitimate in government?’
          ‘Don’t you understand anything, Kalaki? The police and army use violence to maintain law and order. It is legitimate violence. It is the firm smack of authority. Therefore, once you’re in government, violence becomes legitimate force.’
          ‘I’m so pleased,’ I said, ‘that you have this marvelous project of turning the notorious Violence Kaponya into a useful citizen. But can he really win on the PF ticket? You see, since the voters previously elected him as their MMD candidate, now they see him as a traitor who has deserted them because of being bribed. So how can they be expected to vote for him? They won’t! They despise him!’
          ‘We shall make clear to them that if they don’t vote for him then they will get no development, no farmers’ inputs, no relief food. They will starve to death!’
          ‘But doesn’t the government have a responsibility to look after its people?’
          ‘Of course, but only if the people also show responsibility by voting for the government of the day. Otherwise we shall have no option except to treat them as enemies of the state.’
          ‘But then people might vote for the opposition in the hope of better treatment!’
          ‘Ha ha,’ cackled Kapimbe, ‘That won’t work! Any time any of them wins, we shall appeal and the result will be annulled because of corruption!’
          ‘But even PF candidates can have also their seats annulled because of corruption!’
          ‘Oh no they can’t!’ he shouted. ‘I’ve got that one worked out! We’re the ruling party! If the opposition gives gifts it’s automatically corruption! But the government doesn’t give gifts, it gives legitimate benefits such as food relief, new schools and roads. We provide government services! That’s not corrupton! It’s the benefit of incumbency! It’s legal!’
          ‘Is that what the law says?’
          ‘That’s why we need to control the judiciary! What do you think my job is? I just write the judgment and give it to the judge! The judge gives it to the Electoral Commission! The Commission gives it to the opposition candidates! All suspended! Ah haaah!’ he screamed suddenly like a madman. ‘We must have sanity!’
          ‘Will the judges agree?’
          ‘We’ve given them most agreeable contracts! And they’re all old and senile and know they’d be unemployable anywhere else! They understand that violence comes from the opposition, and that we in government use legitimate force. They understand that corruption comes from the opposition, and we distribute legitimate benefits.’
          ‘But aren’t you the very one who accused the previous government of corruption?’
          ‘Yes, but we shall soon be eliminating any chance of any such charges against us!’
          ‘How will you do that?’ I wondered.
          ‘Ha ha!’ he squealed like a demented rat. ‘We shall be changing the constitution to eliminate the possibility!’
          ‘But how will you do that?’
          ‘Kalaki, can’t you understand anything? We are buying, er, I mean looking for opposition MPs to work with us to unify the nation, so that we can change the constitution.’ He stood to attention and saluted the little flag sitting on his bookshelf. ‘After that there will be only one party! One nation! One fatherland! One people! One blood! One destiny! One leader! Ha ha!’ he squealed, ‘We have worked it all out!’
          ‘We?’ I wondered. ‘Who is we?
          ‘Me!’ he screamed. ‘I am the new leader!’
          Whereupon he started marching up and down his office, saluting the flag, with feet kicking high in an energetic goose-step. He was now in a mindless nationalistic frenzy.

          I crept out of the office, closing the door quietly behind me. ‘Jesus Christ Almighty,’ I muttered to myself, ‘I’d rather have GBM.’

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