Monday, September 28, 2020

Letter to Old Man.

Copy: Grace Morgan

I must say it’s been some time since I wrote. In between, so much has happened. If I recall, my last letter to you was after the first election when the results took forever before being released.
Watching on my television, it was the most bizarre election I had ever witnessed. It was not the first time the country had had elections.

On previous occasions, the results had been swift in coming, handing you a massive victory. I keep a safe distance from politics but in my own quiet way, I follow the game.

Now when the delay in results dragged into the third week, I knew something fishy was cooking. I agreed with those who said you had lost badly.
As you are aware every household in this country employs a citizen of your country. I have done my part as well. The lady who cooks for me had gone home to vote. On her return, she was beaming and telling me that it was all over. She told me you were history. Poor lady, she imagined you accepting defeat and, as all elderly Africans do, moving down to the village for the remainder of your days.

There, you would enjoy the respect of the villagers and lounge all day long at the local court, dispensing wisdom and flogging the village rogues. My mates, who feed families back in your country by sleeping with the Zimbo girls here, also reported that their regulars returned with news of your imminent defeat.
Everyone was fantasising about your defeat. For my part, I imagined you on a plane to The Hague where a cell next to Charles Taylor would be ready for your trial.

Hey on second thoughts, I think the thought of being neighbours with Mr Taylor is the cause of all the trouble. But a man must be given due credit. You have always been sharp. You know that being granted immunity from prosecution is not worth the piece of paper it is written on. You saw what happened to Taylor.

But back to the present. You lost the elections fair and square. Instead of conceding, your henchmen came up with an ingenious scheme to buy you time in office. The moment it was announced that no one had scored a majority, my funny ideas of watching the execution on television dissipated in smoke. I guess I am now stuck with watching my Saddam videos until the hanging of the next dictator.

When your boys said there would be a rerun, I knew you were not going anywhere. But I couldn’t understand. I don’t understand African democracy. Why bother having elections when you are clear you will not accept an outcome not in your favour?
You did not need elections. After all, you stated that there was no way you were going to budge for that railway shunter.

I watched as countries mounted observer missions and spent time and resources to go and monitor the whole thing. Why bother when the incumbent won’t accept defeat? I couldn’t blame the railway shunter when he pulled out of the re-run.

I am sure you were particularly upset when he started carrying himself like a president. He came here and I liked him. For his limited education, he is not a bad chap. I admire people who speak good English. When it comes to the language, even without seven degrees to his name, he gives you a run for your money. Coming to think of it, why do you hate the owners of the English language so much when you evidently derive great pleasure from speaking their lingo?
Anyway, as the railway shunter waltzed around like a real president, I was already thinking he would need an image makeover.

For starters he needs a bit of plastic surgery to sort out that face. We don’t want him having dinner with the queen sporting that face. Then he ought to shed a few kilos and he will look the part. I haven’t seen his wife. I am not sure he has one.
Anyway ever since you crowned yourself president in the one man election, things are heating up. To begin with, no one recognises your position. I mean even small countries in your neighbourhood who used to sob and hide when you so much as glanced at them have boldly declared that you are pretending to be president. I mean such cheek coming from a little country like this one. This goes on to show how low you have sank. The mighty have fallen.

What is the point being president if no one recognises you as one? At your inauguration, there was not a single guest from the outside world. That surely cannot be nice. To add salt to injury, the owners of the language you love so much also decided to cancel your knighthood. No more dinners with the queen. It’s quite sad. I don’t know how it will end. But something tells me it’s all going to end up in tears. For dictators like you it never ends in smiles. Never. It always ends up in tears.

Right now big countries want to impose sanctions. Apparently you won’t be allowed to travel anywhere. All those foreign fanatics who cheer and lap up your rhetoric will never see you in action again. Pity about the excellent English because your only audience will be the ululating, illiterate and thin peasants at village rallies.

Like I said, I doubt if you will be able to hold out until the end of the year. There is no way. That brings up the question of what happens to Pretty Face.

I must say she is still dazzling. That woman’s daughter was made on a different planet. You will remember that just before the one man election Pretty Face stated that she won’t be leaving state house, even if you were to lose. I agree with her. She is so stunning she belongs only to state house. That then gives us a solution as to what to do with her when you finally go on trial. I mean if Pretty Face so desperately wants to remain, then the railway shunter could find her already in residence. As I say, I don’t know if he has a wife. That being the case, when he becomes president, he can find a wife who knows her way around the place waiting for him.

She would not be the first woman to marry two presidents in succession. If you know Graca, it has happened before.

And when Pretty Face marries her second president, her new name will have a rather nice ring to it: Grace Tsvangirai!

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.