Kalaki’s Korner: Politics of the dead

‘Fantastic!’ I said. ‘Old Robber Mukote has just been re-elected president with sixty-one percent of the vote! A million voters found their names weren’t on the register, but a million who were on the register were already dead! And the African Union says it was a fair result! Ha!’
          ‘Poor Dad,’ laughed Kupela. ‘You’ll never understand it.’
          ‘Of course I can understand it!’ I spluttered. ‘The one thing I can never do is approve it!’
          ‘Oh don’t worry about that,’ laughed Kupela, ‘nobody has asked you to approve it!’
          ‘Look,’ I said, ‘this old man Mukote is about a hundred and ninety years old. He has been president for a hundred and forty years. How can the doddery old fool be governing the country at that age!’
          ‘Dad, you’re  not  in England now. You should know that here in Africa we respect old age. Even you, people respect you, even though you talk rubbish half the time.’
          ‘People may make the mistake of respecting seventy,’ I said, ‘but a hundred and ninety is a much more serious mistake. At that age he should be dead!’
          ‘He is dead,’ declared Kupela. ‘Since you imagine yourself to be a political commentator, I should have thought you would have known that!’
          ‘What! Dead? What nonsense are you talking?’
          ‘I also wonder what nonsense you’re talking,’ laughed Kupela. ‘You say that you understand but don’t approve. But now it seems you don’t understand either. Of course Mukote has been dead for the past hundred years. I thought everybody knew that!’
          ‘What!’ I hooted. ‘Then that only makes it worse! How can they have a dead man governing the country?’
          ‘Here in Africa,’ she replied. ‘People respect their ancestors. In times of trouble they always ask them for advice.’
          ‘But making a dead man president is taking things too far!’
          ‘As a general rule,’ said Koops, ‘the dead are much less dangerous. A dead man has never been convicted of anything in any court!’
          ‘Not true,’ I cackled. ‘Last month a Russian court sentenced a dead man to thirty years in jail for corruption.’
          ‘So now you’re agreeing with me that dead people can be quite active!’
          ‘I didn’t say that!’ I snapped. ‘I just said we shouldn’t have one as president. Where, outside Africa, could such a thing happen?’
          ‘North Korea,’ Kupela responded immediately. ‘After his death in 1994, Kim Il Sung was immediately declared Eternal President. And of course he is still president because eternal goes on forever.’
          ‘What nonsense you talk!’ I scoffed, ‘Kim Jong Un is the President of North Korea.’
          ‘No he’s not,’ said Kupela. ‘He’s the Supreme Commander. But Kim Il Sung is the Father of the Nation and the Eternal President.’
          ‘Let’s get back to Zumbumwe,’ I snapped.
          ‘Good idea,’ laughed Kupela. ‘Because His Excellency the Great Chikolwe President Robber Mukote is the Father of the Nation in Zumbumwe, so he will always be the Eternal President of the Zumbums.’
          ‘What nonsense,’ I laughed. ‘He’s president because he rigged the election. How do you explain the names of a million dead people on the voters register?’
          ‘You really have a problem understanding this, don’t you? Our ancestors are our advisors, and we have to seek their opinion at election time. Here in Africa we have equal rights for the dead, unlike the West where they are forgotten like yesterday’s garbage. Here in Africa we know that if we ignore our ancestors then we shall certainly bring down all sorts of unnatural calamities upon ourselves, as has happened in the West.’
          ‘So Mukote got his majority from the ancestors?’
          ‘Naturally the ancestors tend to vote for one of their own.’
          ‘So how do these ancestors actually reach the polling station and cast their votes?’
          ‘Now that’s a better question,’ said Kupela. ‘I see you’re now trying to understand all this. If you knew more about ancestors, you’d know that the spirits of our ancestors can return to Earth and inhabit the bodies of the living, especially in times of crisis, so that they can give their advice and cast their votes.’
          ‘So does this explain the million names that went missing from the register?’
          ‘Of course it does. Those whose names went missing were not allowed to vote because they had been selected to be inhabited by their ancestors who vote using the bodies of the living. These inhabited people are called the Zumbums, which is why the country is called Zumbumwe.  Here in Zombieland they are called the Zombies.’
          ‘But how does an ancestral leader stay active for a hundred years?’
          ‘There are various ways, even in the West. Like Count Dracula, who ruled Transylvania for a thousand years by sucking blood from the throats of his subjects. This is one way that loyal citizens can keep a dead leader alive.’
          ‘That certainly sounds familiar,’ I admitted. ‘Maybe there’s more to this interpretation of politics than I had realized.’
          ‘Now perhaps you understand why people say that Cycle Mata will win the election in 2021.’
          ‘Now I understand,’ I said. ‘They must have consulted the ancestors! And the ancestors will join the voters! But what happens when he goes to join his ancestors?’
          ‘Then he can rule for a thousand years!’
          ‘But if the ancestors are always in charge,’ I wondered, ‘how shall we ever get new ideas into politics?’
          ‘I don’t know,’ said Kupela. ‘We shall have to ask the ancestors.’

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