By Roy Clarke
‘Mr Ha Ha,’ said the judge, as he leant towards the accused, ‘you have been charged with landing as mfwiti on the roof the girls’ hostel of Evelyn Horny College. You were found naked in the girls’ shower, thereby causing a great itching of the girls’ private parts and giving all the students such a terrible fright as to cause a massive and simultaneous blocking of all the toilets. What is your explanation for your inexplicable behaviour?’
‘Ha ha ha,’ laughed Ha Ha, ‘I wonder what is the explanation for your inexplicable accusations? I did not arrive by mfwiti, nor was I found naked. I walked fully clothed through the front gate and talked to some of the girls. They told me about the filthy condition of the bathrooms that had caused itching of their private parts.’
‘I’m not sure if you appreciate the seriousness of the charges against you,’ said the judge sternly. ‘You are charged with several counts of witchcraft which were deliberately aimed at bringing this government into disrepute. With your dreadful spells, curses, charms and incantations you have destroyed the students’ itch for education and replaced it with a carnal itch in their private parts.’
‘Nonsense,’ laughed Ha Ha, who was clearly enjoying this moment of fame provided free of charge by the government. ‘The problem of itching was caused by the Minister for Closing Colleges, the notorious Pompous Professor Red Hot Piri-Piri, who got the students into such a red hot rage that they were itching to…’
‘That’s another of the charges against you,’ interrupted the judge. ‘Insulting the minister is bordering on insulting the appointing authority, which is bordering on defamation of the president, which is bordering on contravention of the Section 23 of the Suspension of Free Speech Act of 1893.’
‘This trial is just part of a witch hunt,’ sneered Ha Ha. ‘You are just trying to blame imaginary witches for turning the Patriotic Fanfare into the Pabwato Fiasco!’
‘Ha ha, Mr Ha Ha,’ sneered the judge, ‘suddenly you seem to know a lot about witchcraft! I hope you also know that witchcraft is illegal under Section 257 Paragraph 279 Clause 59 of the Penal Code of 1892. We must observe the Rule of Law.’
‘Yes,’ muttered someone in the crowd, ‘We must observe the Rule of Law!’
‘Where is the Rule of Law?’ said another, as he looked around, and others looked under their seats.’
‘Perhaps the Rule of Law went to the toilet,’ said somebody else.
‘There’s certainly a nasty smell from the somewhere,’ chuckled another.
‘Silence!’ shouted the judge.
‘You are also accused of using your mfwiti to send a platoon of the Punching Fist Militia to Sudan, and then accusing the Perfect Farce of sending them there for military training. This dangerous long distance witchcraft was calculated to make the PF look foolish.’
‘They need no assistance from me,’ laughed Ha Ha. ‘They do it very well all by themselves.’
‘Ha ha ha ha,’ laughed the crowd.
‘You are also accused,’ continued the judge, ‘of putting powerful muti all around the entrance to Collum Mine to prevent it being visited by mine inspectors, thereby causing appalling conditions in the mine. That is how you deliberately caused a riot just to embarrass the government.
‘There is also evidence,’ said the judge, ‘that the same evil muti was used to disorientate the police when they attempted to question you at Lusaka Central Torture Station. This muti caused police to fire tear gas canisters into a closed space, thereby making you entirely responsible for their unprofessional and murderous behaviour.
‘The government’s entire programme of implementing its election promises has had to be suspended in order to counter your relentless programme of subversive anti-government witchcraft. You are therefore also being charged with treason.
‘I now adjourn this case until next month, when you will be found guilty and sentenced. Just count yourself lucky that you live in a democracy where we follow the due process of law.’
Now the judge turned to the Clerk of Court. ‘Is that the last case for this morning?’
‘No, M’Lord,’ answered the Clerk, as a tall bearded man in a long white cassock appeared in the dock. ‘There’s one more.’
‘One more witchcraft?’
‘Even worse,’ answered the Clerk. ‘Christianity!’
The judge looked severely towards the accused. ‘What is your name?’
‘Jesus Christ,’ he replied.
‘Don’t be funny with me,’ snapped the judge. ‘Taking the name of the Lord in vain is an offence under the Ten Commandments Act of 4372BC, Section 5.’
Then he turned to the Clerk. ‘What else has he done?’
‘He announced from his pulpit that the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, contrary to the prophecy in the Gospel according to St Michael.’
‘Verily I say unto you,’ said Jesus, ‘I have never heard of your St Michael, and answer only to the authority of My Father who is in Heaven.’
‘Heresy!’ declared the judge. ‘In our Christian Nation the authority of scripture must be respected! I order him to be deported immediately!’
No sooner had he spoken than Jesus began to rise vertically from the dock. Up he floated, up through the high open window, up and away.
‘That’s witchcraft!’ said the judge, as all eyes were raised to Heaven. ‘I should have given him five years for contravening the Law of Gravity!’
‘Two thousand years we waited for Him to return,’ said a voice from the back, ‘and He didn’t last five minutes.’
‘Silence!’ shouted the judge.