Back to Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
Talks, dialogue, negotiations and GNU - Post June 2008 "elections" - Index of articles
October 27, 2008
The discussions on a
government of national unity (in a country near you) had become
fatally deadlocked. The mediator, an eminent African (name supplied),
came up with an idea, inspired by the current Presidential debates
in USA, which, he believed, would result in a settlement.
First he had to relocate
the three antagonists and frog-march them, if necessary, back to
the negotiating table. Mr Wynken was at home with his family, tucking
into a copious supply of Kentucky Fried Chicken with chips, tomato
sauce, and lashings of coca cola. They were in the lounge watching
a re-run of the American soap, Dallas. Professor Blynken was visiting
at one of his "small houses", a Tuscan-style mansion
with columns made of asbestos sewage pipes, in the City of Kings,
Bulawayo. Comrade Nod, with an entourage of sixty family members,
cronies, and security guards, was spending the weekend at a luxury
hotel in Mauritius.
At last, the antagonists
were reassembled at the table, the one made out of Rhodesian teak
railway sleepers, and the mediator made this proposition: "Boys,
let-s settle it with a debate! You know, like McCaine and
Whatsisname! With the Americans, as with you people, the economy
is the central issue, so let-s have a debate, on TV, boys,
and let the electorate decide who gives the most convincing argument
on restoring your economy. The winner will be allowed to dish out
cabinet posts, including the newly established one, and most coveted,
of Minister of Rural Beauty Pageants." The three antagonists
licked their lips a few times and then decided to go for it.
The people were duly
informed of the live debate and its purposes. Each of the antagonists
would have five minutes to explain his plan to revive the economy.
The winner would be decided by the loudness of applause of an invited
audience: a hundred citizens randomly selected from the general
The cameras rolled and
the debate began. The mediator played the host. Mr Wynken elected
to speak first. "When the paper runs out, all transactions
should be carried out in this country-s most stable commodity:
empties. I propose a currency of coke and fanta bottles in the soft
drinks line, and wine and beer bottles in the hard drinks line.
The scud, as long as it is carefully rinsed, could also be included."
He went on to give numerical values to the various types and colours
of bottles, so, for example, green beer bottles would be more valuable
than brown beer bottles; and family size coke and fanta bottles
would be more valuable than those of standard size. Professor Blynken
pointed out that scuds, by any other name, could not be construed
as bottles. Comrade Nod said that, in any case, Mr Wynken was too
ugly to be a serious contender.
After the applause died
down, the next speaker commenced. It was Professor Blynken. "What
I propose is a logical extension of the current system. Let anyone
who has access to a photocopier and A4 bond paper, copy however
much money he needs for that day-s expenses. To be fair to
the majority who do not have access to modern technology, lower
denominations may be traced or even sketched on any surface that
will carry the image: flat stones, pieces of wood, even banana peels."
Comrade Wynken undermined the argument by jokingly suggesting underwear,
and Comrade Nod wondered if Professor Blynken was too intelligent
to be a serious contender. Professor Blynken received about the
same volume of applause as Mr Wynken.
Finally, it was comrade
Nod-s turn. "The West still negates our sovereignties
by way of control of our resources, in the process making us mere
chattels in out own lands, mere minders of its trans-national interests.
In my own country and other sister states in Southern Africa, the
most visible form of this control has been over land despoiled from
us at the onset of British colonialism.
"That control largely
persists, although it stands firmly challenged in my country, thereby
triggering the current stand-off between us and Britain, supported
by her cousin states, most notably the United States and Australia.
Mr Humpty, Mr Dumpty and now Mr Skippy's sense of human rights precludes
our people's right to their God-given resources, which in their
view must be controlled by their kith and kin. I am termed dictator
because I have rejected this supremacist view and frustrated the
"Let these sinister
governments be told here and now that we will not allow a regime
change authored by outsiders. Mr Humpty and Mr Dumpty have no role
to play in our national affairs. They are mischievous outsiders
and should therefore keep out! The colonial sun set a long time
ago; in 1980 in the case of my dear country, and hence I...ooooooh...we
will never be a colony again. Never!
"We do not deserve
sanctions. We are patriots and we know how to deal with our problems.
We have done so in the past, well before Humpty and Dumpty were
known politically. We have our own regional and continental organizations
"Yes, for us post-colonials,
we still have an aloof immigrant settler landed gentry, all-white,
all-royal, all untouchable, all-western supported, pitted against
a bitter, disinherited, landless, poverty-begrimed, right-less communal
black majority we have vowed to empower...ooooooh... and in the
cause of whom we continue to be vilified, in a country that is ours
and very African and sovereign. Hence, in spite of the present global
milieu of technological sophistication, we remain a modern world
divided by old dichotomies and old asymmetries that make genuine
calls for...er... digital solidarity sound hollow.
"Er... this gathering
is a re-enactment in my view of that togetherness, the partnership,
the co-operation that has seen processes taking place here leading
to a number of our countries attaining their independence. Ooooooh!
I said I will never ever attack an African leader in public, never
ever! In our forum we will tell each other about what we think of
each other. I will get my day!
"Yesterday as we
of my country sought to liberate ourselves and the fight was between
us, the people of my country, and the oppressors, it was the Front
Line States who together with us shaped the struggle that led to
our liberation and independence, therefore...er...pamberi the economy,
pasi the drought, pasi sanctions, pamberi... er... me."
Comrade Nod received
about the same volume of applause as Mr Wynken and Professor Blynken,
so the stalemate continues. Cold comfort for the antagonists and
the mediator in the form of Chivas Regal on the rocks with a splash
of fanta orange.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.