The news had just finished when onto the screen leapt the energetic Peggy T Zulu of the Meteorological Department, dangerously packed into a tight jacket and trousers. She immediately began aggressively prodding a rather stagnant map of Zambia, as if she was trying to move it into the Atlantic Ocean.
‘At this time of year we like to give a long-term political weather forecast,’ she began, ‘so that our farmers can take the right decisions on whether to plant their crops, or instead emigrate.’
‘She’s been wearing that same suit for the past ten years,’ Sara scoffed, ‘she looks as if she’s about to burst out of it. ’
‘Inflation has been going at more than ten percent a year,’ I said, ‘I’m surprised the stitches are still holding. But did you hear what she said – a political weather forecast?’
‘Everything is political nowadays,’ laughed Sara. ‘Even the weather.’
‘Look at the mess we have here,’ declared Peggy, as she banged her fist into a confused area of depression over Barotseland. ‘Politics is just like the weather, a mindless sequence of patterns and trends which are completely outside the control of humanity, and best understood by meteorologists rather than political scientists.’
‘Let’s see,’ laughed Sara, ‘if she can predict the unpredictable.’
‘The recent unseasonal flow of hot air from the north,’ said Peggy, pointing menacingly at Mpika, ‘is most unseasonal, and has completely upset our normal weather patterns. This is indicative of a serious change in the political climate. Whereas politicians may imagine that they are rebasing the climate, the sudden and catastrophic oscillations in basic indicators such as political temperature and the confluence of hot air and high pressure around by-elections are strongly indicative of a severe and destructive climate swing, away from the previous regular patterns which brought investor confidence and tourists.’
‘Very good,’ Sara laughed. ‘The investors and tourists can bugger off.’
‘These strange shifts and disturbances are indicative that the political climate has swung out of control in an alarming way. The attempt to rebase the political climate has had the unintended effect of leading to the debasing of politics, with consequent degradation of the political system. This has been particularly noticeable in way the dreaded Shushushu has swept through the bank accounts and telephone records of opposition politicians, also sweeping them away like dry leaves in a typhoon, and leaving the National Assembly as an empty windswept monument to an earlier age when the weather was kinder and more negotiable.
‘The rebasing of the temperature scale from degrees Centigrade to degrees Wynter has frozen all activity in government institutions, especially the judiciary, leaving all judicial decisions to be taken by the very few individuals who understand how Wynter works. Such distortions in the system should have been corrected by the ACC, the Action on Climate Change, but this noble institution has also fallen victim to the dreaded Wynter and is now frozen completely solid.’
‘She’s not telling us anything we don’t know already,’ Sara snarled. ‘Where is the prediction on what happens next?’
‘With the institutions of the state frozen by these changes in the political climate,’ declared Peggy, pointing dramatically to the cold front sweeping in from the Antarctic, ‘the question now is whether there is sufficient institutional structure to hold the nation together, or whether individual provinces will separate from each other as tectonic plates drift apart causing big fissures between one province and another, or whether tsunamis will cause some provinces to float away, or whether a huge volcanic eruption will create a new province in the centre of Central Province.’
‘Would that require the creation of new districts?’ Sara wondered.
‘Following present patterns,’ Peggy continued, ‘I predict a big cloud hanging over State House after Chipolopolo is sent home early from Afcon, causing the team to be rebased in Southampton. This will destroy the last remnants of national unity and cohesion, leaving no political structure to resist the inevitable forces of geological and meteorological change. I therefore confidently predict that within 90 days we shall see an earthquake cause the secession of Barotseland, and Eastern Province becoming part of Malawi, to which it has always belonged, just as Luapula will return to the Congo. Within the same 90 days Cycle Mata will become the king of the new monarchy of Muchingaland, a job for which he is better fitted, and HaHa will become the owner of a large cattle ranch known as Southern Province.’
‘You see,’ laughed Sara. ‘Under this government, things can really change in only 90 days!’
‘Konkola Copper Mines,’ continued Peggy, ‘will be bought by the Chinese, and the Copperbelt will then become a province of China. Due to the freezing of all the water in the Zambezi because of Wynter rebasing, ZESCO power outages will become longer and longer until…’
But suddenly the very lively and entertaining face of Peggy disappeared from the screen, to be replaced by the heavy and wooden features of Kenneth Maduma. ‘Here is a late item of news, just come in. The Minister of Misinformation, the Honourable Komedy Seka Seka, has just announced the suspension of the Director of the Meteorological Department, and the commencement of an investigation by the ACC into allegations that the Department has been publishing false information on climate change.’
‘Oh good,’ laughed Sara. ‘Action on climate change at last!’
Kalaki’s blog is found here