‘The hour has come,’ declared the Chairman, as the crowd cheered and gave the one finger salute. ‘We are here at the Rock of Authority to choose a new husband for our dear Mother Mary of Democracy, fondly known to all of us as MMD.’
‘Hurray,’ shouted the crowd, ‘bring on the suitors!’
‘Let me first advise everybody on the sort of husband we are looking for,’ said the Chairman. ‘Mary of Democracy is the Mother of our Great Family who has always guided us. Unfortunately, because of our tradition, she could not be the Father of the Nation, so we have always had to elect a man as to take care or our Mother.’
‘And they always treated her badly!’ shouted a woman from the back.
‘Abash gender violence,’ shouted another.
‘Unfortunately,’ admitted the Chairman, ‘Our Mother has not been fortunate with her husbands. We gave her Kafupi, but she left him after he became the Master of Multi Deceit. She fell in love with the Mighty Muwelewele Democrat, but he was so good he was taken by the Lord. Then came the dreadful Monster of Muddled Depravity, who drove our poor Mother to her grave.’
‘So if she’s dead,’ somebody shouted, ‘why does she need a husband?’
‘Is there no way to escape a husband?’ cried one woman.
‘She is our soul and our spirit,’ explained the Chairman, ‘which lives on. Ours is a matrilineal clan, and all authority is derived from the Founder of the Clan. Any new leader must undergo ritual and symbolic marriage to our Mother who, according to our sacred tradition, founded the Clan in 1991 at the Garden Hotel in Lusaka, where she gave birth to a room full of instant leaders.’
‘Where are they now?’ somebody asked.
‘In jail,’ answered another.
‘Get on with it!’ shouted somebody else. ‘Where are the suitors?’
‘I now call upon the first suitor,’ said the Chairman, ‘to come to the microphone and tell us why he thinks he should be the new husband for our beloved MMD. I give you the first candidate, Mr Fidgit Mutanti.’
Onto the stage climbed a stiff robot of a man, who began to speak in a continuous monotone, while jerking his arms in a strange mechanical manner, and speaking without moving his lips. ‘I am the right man for MMD because I understand economics and supply and demand and fiscal discipline and foreign investment and I have memorized all the IMF guidelines all the way from the contents page to the bibliography and …
‘Get him off!’ shouted the crowd, as they hurled rotten tomatoes, and the robot climbed stiffly down from the stage, never to be seen again.
‘I now call upon Mr Shitulene Musokelela,’ declared the Chairman, as a shifty old bald fellow slid slyly up to the microphone, his eyes looking left and right and up and down. Then he began to mumble into the microphone, saying ‘I have over a thousand bicycles at my farm which will be your reward when you vote for me…’
‘Rotten egg!’ shouted the crowd, as a rotten egg hit Musokelela full in the face. ‘Bring on Mumbo Jumbo!’
A fat greasy little fellow immediately jumped energetically onto the stage and shouted at the crowd. ‘Do you believe in God?’
‘Yes!’ shouted the crowd enthusiastically, ‘Hallelujah!’
‘Do you believe in the resurrection?’
‘Yes!’ they all shouted.
‘And life everlasting?’
‘For ever and ever, Amen,’ chanted the crowd.
‘Then why should you choose one of these dead suitors to marry a dead woman, when you have a live pastor who can resurrect our dear MMD, so we can live together as Father and Mother of the Nation!’
‘Hurray!’ they shouted. ‘Eternal life with Pastor Mumbo Jumbo!’
‘Can he really do resurrections?’ some people asked
‘Oh yes,’ somebody else answered. ‘He has resurrected himself six times already!’
‘Then let him resurrect MMD!’ everybody shouted.
‘By popular acclamation,’ declared the Chairman, ‘Mumbo Jumbo is the winner!’
‘Now I am your leader!’ shouted Mumbo Jumbo. ‘Follow me to the graveyard!’
It was an hour later when Mumbo Jumbo stood by the broken gravestone, pointed to the letters MHSRIP and said ‘Tell me, what do these letters mean?’
‘May Her Soul Rest in Peace,’ chanted the crowd.
‘No!’ shouted Mumbo Jumbo, as he raise his arms to Heaven. ‘You must have faith! These letters mean May Her Self Resurrect in Person! And I call upon the Lord to bring her back to us right now!’
And, sure enough, as he spoke there was a crack of thunder, and the earth in front of the gravestone began to move, and rise up. Then out of the ground rose a thin and ghostly figure, wearing a white shroud on which was written CC in large letters.’
‘CC!’ people asked one another. ‘What can it mean?’
‘Perhaps it means Christ Crucified!’ somebody suggested.
‘Or Christian Country,’ said another.
‘Perhaps it’s our new party slogan,’ shouted another. ‘Corruption Cancelled!’
But another shouted ‘It means that the Christian Coalition has been resurrected!’
And even as he said it, ghostly figures were beginning to rise up from all the graves, as the crowd began to panic, running helter-skelter, over the unkept mounds and broken gravestones, some shouting ‘Judgement Day!’ Others shouting ‘Witchcraft!’
Pastor Mumbo Jumbo was left standing in the gathering gloom, surrounded only by his ghosts. ‘Yes,’ he announced with satisfaction, ‘A marriage in a graveyard. My beloved Christian Coalition is back!’