Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mobutu Prize


I was just about to turn off the TV news when up came the title of the next film: ‘President Nyamasoya wins prestigious Mobutu Prize at the Annual Awards of Corruption International in Kinshasa.’
‘Ha ha!’ I scoffed. ‘So Dickhead Jelly was right! He did win!’
As we watched, Henry Nglazi appeared on the red carpet outside the Plunderers Palace Hotel in Kinshasa. ‘The royal convoy of King Nyamasoya is arriving now’ announced Nglazi as twenty-four BMW limousines and four buses swept majestically towards the great portico of the Palace Hotel.
‘The poorer the country,’ said Sara, ‘the larger the retinue.’
‘We are expecting,’ said Nglazi, ‘the King to arrive with the Queen, all of his children from various wives, his ministers and advisers, as well as the entire Mama Yenge Dance Troupe.’
As the first car stopped at the red carpet, a uniformed lackey leapt out from the front, scurried round to open the rear door, and then saluted briskly as the huge Nyamasoya made several attempts to roll out of the car. But each time he rolled back in again. Finally he was pulled out by several members of the waiting delegation, and bussled into the hotel.
The next scene opened in the vast ballroom of the Plunderers Palace, where Nglazi informed us that the guests had just finished washing down lobster and ripe pheasant with gallons of French wine.
Now onto the stage climbed the Master of Ceremonies, Kateka Bakalamba, dressed as a large rat. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we now begin the presentation of the Mobutu Prize for Grand Corruption, the much coveted prize for which all Third World leaders have been competing for the past year.
‘As usual the Academy of Distinguished Plunderers has drawn up a list of five nominees, which I shall announce in no particular order.’ As he spoke the spotlight swung to the table of a wizened little thief, sitting next to a woman covered in diamonds. ‘The first nominee is the King of Ethiopia, His Excellency King Haille Gleedie, who sold the entire national food reserve to buy his wife those diamonds.’
‘Hurray!’ shouted the crowd. ‘What courage! What sacrifice!’
‘He is credited,’ said Sara, ‘with single handedly causing the 2009 Ethiopian famine.’
‘Now we have King Zooma of Azania,’ said Kateka, as the spotlightw fell on two bald skulls stuck together. ‘King Zooma is famous for buying twenty FI fighter jets at five million dollars each, for no known reason.’
'Ha ha!’ shouted the crowd. ‘We know the reason!’
‘Next,’ shouted Kateka, as the spotlight illuminated a man entirely covered in a white sheet, ‘we have Prince Abdullah bin Nabiel el Salim al-Din al Ayyubi bin Saud of Arabia, who has successfully rented out his country to America…
‘Booo!’ booed the crowd.
‘…and with the proceeds built a thousand brothels in Las Vegas!’
‘Hurray!’ shouted the crowd.
‘And fourthly,’ announced Kateka, as the spotlight illuminated a grey hairy man in a long green cloak, ‘we have the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, Mr Bribehigh, who used the proceeds from the entire national heroin crop to buy his re-election!’
‘Good investment!’ sang the crowd. ‘What is money for?’
‘And lastly,’ said Kateka, as the small spotlight struggled to illuminate a large rhinoceros, ‘we have the famous King Nyamasoya of Zed, who risked his throne to save the President of this Academy from jail!
‘Hurray!’ shouted the crowd.
‘Our illustrious President Kafupi Mupupu was charged with theft!’
‘Disgraceful!’ shouted the crowd. ‘No respect!’
‘But King Nyamsoya, our fifth nominee, corrupted the judiciary and got him off!’
‘Judges are cheap!’ chanted the crowd.
Now the spotlight returned to Kateka, as he dramatically and slowly drew a card out of a white envelope. ‘And the winner is … King Nyamasoya of the Republic of Zed!’
‘A worthy winner! A true defender of corruption!’ they chanted, as the Great King Nyamsoya was pushed up onto the stage by the entire Mama Yenge ensemble.
‘Speech! Speech!’ bayed the drunken mob of dignatories.
‘I just want to say,’ said King Nyamasoya, ‘that colonialists have tried to impose their oppressive policies of accountability and the rule of law. But in the Kingdom of Zed we have defended our sovereignty! We have defied them by abolishing the rule of law! And next week I shall pass a new law making corruption legal!’
‘Hurray!’ shouted the crowd. ‘Free at last! Free at last!’
‘And now,’ said Kateka, ‘I call upon our dear President Kafupi Mupupu to present our very precious prize, the Long Gold Finger, to King Nyamasoya!’
Now little Kafupi Mupupu climbed onto the stage. But he was not holding any prize, nor did he approach King Nyamasoya. Instead he walked up to Kateka and whispered in his ear. Then Kateka frowned, turned to the crowd, and announced ‘Unfortunately, it seems that the Long Gold Finger has been stolen!’
‘Boooo!’ shouted the crowd.
But as they were booing, there slid onto the stage a thin ghostly figure wearing a leopard skin jacket and leopard skin hat.
‘It’s Sese Sese!’ Sara hissed.
‘I declare,’ said the Ghost of Mobutu, ‘that President Kafupi Mupupu has already taken the prize! Therefore he must be the winner!’
‘Hurray!’ shouted the crowd, as the champagne popped.
‘So it seems,’ I said to Sara, ‘that Nyamsoya didn’t win the prize after all.’
‘Of course not,’ laughed Sara. ‘He can’t compete with Kafupi Mupupu.’
‘That’s what I thought,’ I said. ‘I knew Dickhead Jelly must have got it wrong.’


  1. Ofcourse Nyamasoya cant compete with Kafupi. Kafupi is too clever 4 the big guy.

  2. Chewe Quincy BulayaNovember 16, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    `Unfortunately it seems that the Long Gold Finger has been stolen' ha ha ha. But then again what do you expect in a room full of scounderls, heartless plunderers, international con artists and criminal elements of every shade.