‘The next item on the agenda this morning,’ said Cycle Mata, as he looked around the cabinet table, ‘is youth policy. Tomorrow is Youth Day, so I want to go to the march past and say something about youth employment policy.’
The Minister for Age and Fat, Chipembele Kambilimbili, turned to the minister next to him, the slack jawed Eager Bungle, Minister for Deceptions and Deportations. ‘What’s a policy?’ whispered Kambilimbili.
‘It’s what every minister should have,’ Bungle smirked, as he pulled his hip flask out of his pocket and took a quick swig.
‘You, Feckless Shambles, wake up!’ shouted Cycle Mata. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be the Minister for Employment?’
Poor old Shambles woke up with a start. ‘What employment? I haven’t been employed for years!’
‘What!’ shouted Cycle Mata angrily, ‘I thought I employed you as my Minister of Employment!’
‘You definitely said Minister of Unemployment,’ retorted Shambles, now waking up and coming to his senses. ‘I’ve even got it on video.’
‘Never mind that!’ shouted Cycle Mata. ‘The question is, does your ministry have a youth employment policy?’
‘I don’t think so,’ said poor old Shambles, scratching his head. ‘I think we only have an unemployment policy.’
‘I distinctly remember,’ said Clueless Cluo, the Minister for Bribing Chiefs, ‘that we agreed on a youth policy at our previous meeting, in October 2011.’
‘Did we? Did we?’ said Cycle Mata eagerly. ‘What did we say?’
‘We agreed to employ all our PF cadres.’
‘I know that! I know that!’ shouted Cycle Mata angrily. ‘But I can’t say that at tomorrow’s Youth Day Parade! Give me a policy quick! What’s the use of having all you ministers if you can’t even give me a policy? You, Dr Phiri-Phiri, aren’t you the Minister of Education?
‘Good gracious no,’ sneered Phiri-Phiri, ‘I’m nothing to do with Education, I’m the Minister for Schools.’
‘Same thing, same thing!’ shouted Michael angrily. ‘Aren’t schools supposed to make youths employable?
‘Not exactly,’ he said. ‘But we can take unemployed youths off the street!’
‘Same thing, same thing,’ said Sata eagerly. ‘How d’you do it?’
‘Well, it’s many years since we got rid of the Grade Seven leaver problem by putting them all into secondary school. A few years later we had the Grade Twelve leaver problem, so we put them all into university. So now we have the university leaver problem, the solution is to put them all into post-graduate school to do PhDs.’
‘What a silly idea!’ shouted Michael. ‘Give them all PhDs and they’ll end up as silly as you!’
‘And would there be room for all the girls?’ wondered Gender Wina.
‘This is Youth Day not Women’s Day!’ shouted Cycle Mata, as Gender hid under the table. ‘We’ve already done Women’s Day!’
‘I’ve been looking at the figures,’ said Dotty Scotty, as he scribbled on his notepad. ‘We’ve got about a million people in work and two million unemployed. Now if people work on average for 30 years, then about 35,000 vacancies will become available every year as people retire. This means that we can employ all the unemployed within a period of only 60 years!’
‘Is that correct?’ asked Cycle Mata, as he turned to Feckless Shambles.
‘Don’t ask me,’ replied poor old Shambles, ‘I always get confused by numbers.’
‘Of course it’s not correct,’ snapped the Minister for Internal Division, Splinter Kapimbe. ‘If it takes 60 years then all he youths will be dead before they ever get employment. And he’s also forgotten about the additional fifteen million people that will have been born in the meantime.’
‘Oh dear,’ said Dotty, scratching his head. ‘I used to be so clever when I was at Cambridge.’
‘I can still do arithmetic,’ chirped up the Minister for Food Shortages, Bald Sichilienge. ‘And I’ve got a simple arithmetical solution to the problem. We already have 350,000 self-employed vendors on the pavement. So if we increase the size of the pavement by a factor of four, we could have another million self-employed.’
‘But then all of the road would be pavement,’ chuckled Dotty, ‘with no space for the traffic.’
‘I’ve got a better idea,’ said Eager Bungle eagerly, as his red eyes lit up, ‘I could create 100,000 jobs by deporting all the Chinese!’
‘They’re the ones that fund the party,’ snapped Splinter Kapimbe.
‘Then how about,’ said Bungle, ‘Creating ten by-elections and recruit 50,000 into the party militia?’
‘We’re already done that!’ hissed Kapimbe.
‘I’ve got it,’ said Kambilimbili, ‘The answer has been staring us in the face! Just as every minister has five deputy ministers, so it should be in the entire economy! Every managing director should have five deputies! Every bus driver must have five deputy drivers! Even a carpenter must have five deputies! Then instead of having one million jobs, we shall have six million jobs!
‘You’ve forgotten one thing,’ chuckled Phiri-Phiri, ‘these deputy ministers don’t have any job, they just have salaries.’
‘I’ve solved the problem,’ laughed Clueless Cluo.
‘Oh?’ said Shambles. ‘What’s the answer?’
‘The answer is that we don’t need a policy anymore, because Our Beloved Excellency has fallen fast asleep.’
‘He was working very late last night,’ explained Kapimbe, ‘examining HaHa’s bank statements.’
‘But he’ll still need a new policy to announce tomorrow,’ said Shambles.
‘He’s completely worn out,’ said Clueless Cluo. ‘Call the nurses to take him back to bed. Dotty Scotty will have to attend the Youth Day celebrations instead.’
‘But he hasn’t got a policy either!’ said Kapimbe.
‘He’ll think of something,’ laughed Clueless. ‘What will you say, Dotty?’
‘I shall announce,’ said Dotty in joyous voice, while raising one wrinkled and wobbly fist into the air, ‘that our New Policy of Full Employment for All Youth will be presented to parliament within the next 90 days!’
Kalaki’s blog is found here