‘Grandpa,’ said Thoko, ‘I remember how you used to tell us stories when we were young. But even though I’m now grown up, can’t you tell me another one, just like you used to?’
‘Once upon a time, a long time ago in the land of Mfuwe,’ I began, ‘the animals always met around the Watering Hole to lay down the law.’
‘It was their parliament,’ said Nawiti.
‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘But on the day of this story they were meeting as a court.’
‘Oh no Grandpa, you’ve got it all wrong,’ laughed Thoko. ‘Parliament makes the law and the court administers it. We learnt that in Grade Seven.’
‘But Mfuwe was a peculiar place,’ I explained. ‘If a king had done wrong, the case had first to be brought to parliament to remove his immunity from prosecution. So the watering hole had now become a court.’
‘What had the king done wrong?’
‘The problem was with the previous King Nyamasoya, who was an old Dinosaur. Not only that, he was the last Dinosaur left in world. Tourists would come all the way from America and Germany to look at him. So he was collecting all the money from the tourists. The new King Chimbwi was very angry, because nobody ever came to visit him.’
‘I’m not surprised,’ laughed Thoko. ‘I wouldn’t go near a Chimbwi, they’re very dangerous and unpredictable.’
‘They are likely to sneak up behind you and bite your bum,’ I admitted.
‘But half a minute,’ said Thoko, ‘being popular with the tourists can’t be an offence.’
‘Not in law,’ I laughed. ‘But it offended the new King Chimbwi!’
‘So they had to find something Dinosaur had done which offended the law?’
‘Exactly,’ I said.
‘So they had to set up a Kangaroo Court?’
‘You’ve got it in one,’ I said. ‘So King Chimbwi imported a genuine Kangaroo from Australia and made him Speaker. He’d got plenty of experience of being in charge of a Kangaroo Court, but he knew nothing about parliamentary procedure.’
‘A marvellous choice,’ Thoko laughed.
‘Perfect,’ I agreed. ‘So there all the animals were, around the Watering Hole. On one side sat all the animals of the Parasitic Front, the PF.’
‘Were they all parasites?’ laughed Thoko.
‘Not only that,’ I said, ‘but they had many other parasites living off them. And on the other side sat all the animals of Most Miserable Disgruntled, the MMD, who were the sad remains of the former ruling party, the Most Mighty Dictators. In between the two groups, down one end of the Watering Hole. sat the big Kangaroo, trying to look like a Speaker by wearing a silly wig.
‘And so little Kapimbe of the PF rose to address the Watering Hole. Mr Speaker Sir, King Dinosaur is accused of misusing his authority whilst king to trample and destroy a maize field on dates unknown, in a place unknown, in the company of other plunderers also unknown.
‘Hurray shouted all the Parasites, Yes, we saw him do it.’
Then up stood the Elephant Mutanga on the other side, saying This motion cannot pass, the Parasites don’t have a majority!
‘Whereupon Kapimbe paraded ten guinea fowl in front of him, and immediately ten crocodiles swam across the watering hole from the other side and gobbled up the ten guinea fowl.
‘Point of order!’ trumpeted Elephant, Is it in order to eat guinea fowl at this August Watering Hole?
‘Point of order overruled declared the Speaker, There is no mention of guinea fowl on the Order Paper, so that topic cannot be discussed.
‘Point of order, insisted Elephant, The charges against Dinosaur should have been considered by a Select Committee before being brought to the vote.
‘Point of order overruled sneered the Speaker, It cannot be considered by a Select Committee because I never appointed one.
‘Point of information persisted Elephant, the king has royal right of passage from his palace to the river in order to bless the waters. We have no powers to lift immunity in matters where he was performing his official duties, even if he happens to trample all over a maize field, which of course would be illegal if done by anybody else. We can only lift his immunity for an act done in his private capacity.
‘The charge is amended sneered little Kapimbe, Dinosaur is now charged with an offence committed between last year and next year, at a place unknown, where he did steal a bag of groundnuts, of which there is now no trace, from an unknown mouse, now deceased.
‘Yes, Yes, shouted the parasites in unison, We saw him do it! He even murdered the mouse!’
‘Objection!’ shouted the Elephant, We also have to agree that lifting his immunity would not be contrary to the interests of the State!
‘Don’t be silly! laughed the Speaker, as his silly wig flapped around his head in wild mirth, It is very much in our interest! Otherwise we shall all have our bums bitten by King Chimbwi. Objection overruled!
‘Mr Speaker Sir, little Kapimbe groveled, I beg to move the motion to remove the immunity of Dinosaur.
‘I declare the motion passed by a Massive Mindless Majority, declared Kangaroo, And further declare the reputation and independence of this August Watering Hole to have been destroyed forever.’
‘So he had done his job,’ sighed Thoko sadly. ‘What was his next job? Was he then employed to destroy the judiciary?’
‘No,’ I said. ‘A kangaroo from Malawi had already been brought in to do that job.’
‘So all the institutions of the state were destroyed?’
‘Yes,’ I said sadly, ‘Before all this happened, Mfuwe had been a civilized country. But now, as we know, it is just a jungle.’