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Friday, 12 June 2009

A bit of weekend relief...

A comedian's view of our present challenges, as published in Kalaki's Korner (The Post) :

Dear Father…

My Dearest Excellency and Father of the Nation, I am writing to you in your capacity as Father of the Nation to explain to you my own problems as a father. Let me first introduce myself. I am Dr Siphon Mighty, Impermanent Secretary in the Ministry of Death and Destruction. I was given this position by your predecessor so that I could discharge my duty as a father, to find government jobs and contracts for my many useless children, nephews, nieces, orphans and other related hopeless parasites. I am telling you all this, Your Excellency, especially because I know that, as a father yourself, you will understand the necessity of avoiding the embarrassment of one of your family falling into unemployment, as if they belong to the lower classes.

As the Father of the Nation I am sure you will understand my mental agony in being suspended from my lucrative little niche, after my ministry has been accused by the donors of building entertainment facilities instead of medical facilities. I was very surprised to hear all this, Your Excellency Sir, because I had assumed that all was going well at the Ministry of Death and Destruction, although I have rarely had time to visit the place. As you may know, Your Excellency, I am mainly employed as a member of your official delegations, and I am therefore very busy visiting international football matches and Parisian department stores.

I do understand, Most Excellent Father, that you may not have noticed me in a delegation of one hundred and fifty. But I am the one delegated to lick your boots before all public appearances, and to ensure a conventional orientation of your zip.

Imagine my distress, Your Most Excellent Excellency, when - on one of my rare visits to the Ministry of Death and Destruction - I found the place swarming with officials from the All Corrupt Commission, investigating why fifty billion had been spent constructing three luxury brothels, all marvellously furnished and equipped to cater for the high class end of the sex tourism industry.

I need hardly tell you, Your Excellency, that such expenditure was never approved by me. But I do recall, about a year ago, receiving an invoice for the construction of a so-called ‘guest house’, and I immediately marked the invoice IP, and sent it to my undersecretary. You will be aware, Most Excellent Father Sir, that IP is civil service shorthand for Inform Police. But unfortunately the undersecretary took it to mean Immediate Payment.

This undersecretary came to us highly recommended by his father, the Minister for Privatising Education, who had taken the trouble to arrange for his young son to complete a three-week degree course in Australia. I am telling you all this, Your Excellency, especially because I know you understand the problems fathers have in finding employment for their sons.

I am also telling you all this, My Dear Father of the Nation, because I am worried about the potential threat to government policy. I refer here, Your Excellency Sir, to our policy for reducing poverty. The donors want us to put the emphasis on eliminating poverty, whereas the government emphasis has always been on eliminating poor people at our special facility, the Ultimate Termination Hospital (UTH). In order to use up the unnecessary budget for keeping the poor alive, we have always siphoned off excess funds into the building of medical facilities such as private clinics, or training colleges to produce more doctors and nurses for the private clinics. Since all this expenditure was for bona fide medical facilities, the donors never worried that their money was going astray.

I am telling you all this, Most Excellent Father of the Nation, because the recent use of donor funding for building brothels seems to have cast doubt in the donors’ minds concerning whether we are really interested in improving the health of the poor. It is unfortunate that I did not discover this diversion of funds until after three brothels had already been built, and the donors had already found out.

This situation has been aggravated, Your Excellency, by our much publicised, principled and longstanding refusal to pay a living wage to nurses at the UTH. Although the donors claim to have a great humanitarian interest in the welfare of the poor, they have not been able to sympathise with our humanitarian concern that too much professional nursing would have the counterproductive effect of unnecessarily extending the agony of the dying.

It is unfortunate that some politically motivated people are criticising me for the occasional little mistake, instead of looking at all the good I have done over the years, especially in looking after my own family. What worries me most of all, My Dear Father, is that some of the criticism levelled at me could also be visited upon Your Excellency say this, Dear Father of the Nation, because some donors are now willfully misinterpreting your humanitarian gesture in providing a hundred hearses to alleviate the dreadful congestion of corpses in our mortuaries. I am telling you all this, Dear Father, so that you protect me from prosecution. I say this, Most Excellent Father, because there is nothing more agonising, for a dutiful and respectful son, than to be put in a position where he has to reveal all he knows about his Beloved Father.

Your devoted son,

Siphon Mighty.


  1. The donors want us to put the emphasis on eliminating poverty

    Really? Maybe I am confusing the IMF and donors, but the IIMF certainly is not in the business of eliminating poverty.

    And why does Zambia need donors to begin with? It has mines, use them.

  2. C'mon MrK it is just a satirical piece by the ever green Kalaki! You're coming out like those airheads on FOX News who accuse John Stewart or David Letterman of not being 'Fair n Balanced'. Lol!

  3. LOL!

    Yes, it's supposed to be strictly hilarious!

  4. It's a clever bit of writing, I'll give it that for sure. I agree Frank, it does remind me of the nightly ritual of American political satire, but politicians here have to grow very thick skins to begin with. Personally I think that it is pretty healthy in general to laugh at leaders and encourage them to laugh at themselves a bit. It's a part of democracy, that those we elect from amongst ourselves remain like ourselves, they do not ascend to some higher plane of aristocratic existence. Making sure that they can still take a joke is a relatively harmless way of checking that they still think that they are human like the rest of us.


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