Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sale of Stolen Property

[Back in October 2002, Kalaki had already anticipated the problem of how to sell off Kafupi’s ill-gotten gains]

Spectator Auctions PLC

Sale of Stolen Property

Bankruptcy and Liquidation of Kafupi and Associates

Sheriff’s Sale of Stolen Property





VENUE State House, Plot One, Independence Avenue, Lusaka.

DAY Thursday 3 October 2002

TIME 10.00h



One white leather armchair, too large for six small presidents, but too small for one large president. One purple plastic sofa, suitable for heavy duty encounters, needs new springs. One king size mattress/trampoline, ideal for multi-party sexual athletics.

Clothes and Personal Effects

524 Paris suits, high quality but very small, suitable for pompous pot-bellied dwarf. 4,321 pairs of high heel shoes, all expensive but extremely vulgar, suitable for Emelda Marcos.

728 pairs of sunglasses, exclusive Mafia design, suitable for concealing actual intentions.

545 boxes of artificial finger nails, suitable for long fingers. 176 boxes of finger glue, suitable for enhancing sticky fingers.

Books and Documents

Twenty copies of The Rule of Law by Prof. Muna Ndulo, untouched and still in the original plastic wrapping. One copy of a master’s thesis on democracy, author unknown. One million presidential ballot papers (already marked). Two copies of the Gabon Report, both bloodstained.

Logistical Equipment

Two thousand ballot boxes (already stuffed). Two hundred tin trunks (empty). Ten kilometers of tunnel, with no light at the other end, suitable for use during a popular uprising.

Pick-up Trucks

120 Mazda pick-ups, mysteriously picked up from nowhere, with money picked up from somewhere, and very useful for picking up votes from nowhere.

Other Transport Vehicles

One V-24 fuel injection Jaguar Supercar, one BMW highspeed motorbike, one Challenger speedboat, and one Apache helicopter, all left behind by the Brilliant Mastermind of Top Intelligence when he fled the country in a canoe.

Real Estate

130 huge mansions, built by Malumba and Kachungwa, and situated in Lusaka, Chienge, Chilubi Island and the Bahamas. Particularly suitable for storing girlfriends, concubines, tin trunks, and fugitives from justice. Copies of title deeds can be obtained from Swindle Mulenga and Associates, Photocopiers.

Mine Shaft

One large empty hole in Luanshya, ideal for disposing of rioting copper miners, and any other malcontents and rabble rousers who threaten the property of respectable citizens.

Former Employees of Kafupi

One Chief Justice, quite expensive to bribe, more suitable for judicial systems in Colombia or Nicaragua. One Attorney General, very cheap and nasty, complete with compliant Director of Public Prosecutions. One wooden Vice-President, very durable, but well past sell-by date. One Chief Clerk of the National Assembly, never properly qualified, but very experienced in petty theft and poaching. One Unspeakable Speaker, blind and deaf, notoriously flatulent and completely immune to shame, but still complete with a full set of dangerous teeth. One velvet mango, very smooth on the outside but very rotten on the inside, very experienced in polluting elections.


All bids must be enclosed in dirty envelopes in dirty brown envelopes. However, dirty money should be well laundered. All payment must be in cash, delivered in tin trunks. All cash should be in dollars supplied by the Bank of Zambia. Dollars supplied by former Bank of Zambia Governor Frantic Coma are not legal tender because the ink is known to smudge. In conformity with IMF rules, all payments in kwacha will be treated as worthless paper.


Proceeds from this sale will be used to pay the expenses of the Morleen Mwanamwana Initiative, to send a delegation to Paris to attend the Starving Orphans Charity Ball.


Inspector Kalaki

(Leader of the Task Farce)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vera's Story

[In this piece, first published in February 2003, Vera tells how her beloved Fleddie suddenly became a changed man]

Vera’s Story

I knocked on the front door of the little house in Twapia, and it flew open straight away. ‘Karaki!’ exclaimed Vera, throwing her arms around me. ‘I haven’t seen you since the days of the Gleen Libbon! Come in! With your beard and long shirt and fat belly, I thought it was the Archbishop of Canterbury! What’s been happening to you?’

‘I was impregnated by Milingo,’ I laughed, ‘so I had to join the church! But never mind me, I’ve come to talk to you about your ex, and his present troubles. How did he ever get himself into such a pickle?’

‘It’s a long story,’ she sighed. ‘Come and sit down and I’ll tell you everything.’

‘What puzzles me,’ I said, as we sat down together on the purple plastic sofa, ‘is how we voted for him to bring democracy and end corruption, but he did the opposite. He seemed so straightforward, but now it seems he had his fingers in every till. It’s almost like he turned into another man.’

‘You know, Karaki,’ she said, putting her hand on mine, ‘you seem to have a nose for things. I’ve always said you’re not as silly as you look. Let me tell you what actually happened.

‘It was soon after we first moved into the Presidential Palace. I can still remember that Thursday morning, as if it were yesterday. The place was so huge, and my little Fleddie was so small, and when lunch was ready we couldn’t find him.’

‘But you eventually found him?’

‘Yes, three hours later, in one of the upstairs toilets, reading a book. Do you know that place has thirty-four toilets?’

‘The ruling class need lots of toilets,’ I said. ‘What was he reading?’

‘Humanism Part One,’ laughed Vera. ‘Old Munshumfwa had taken all the other books with him, only Humanism remained, in all the lavatories.’

‘There was a terrible shortage of toilet paper in those days,’ I reminded her. ‘That’s how the Second Republic ended, with Humanism being flushed down the toilet. It was printed on lovely soft paper.’

‘I remember,’ she said wistfully. ‘It was the only thing we liked about Humanism.’

‘So is that what changed him, reading the toilet paper?’

‘No,’ she said, as tears welled into her eyes. ‘It was much worse than that. Two days later he disappeared again, and this time we couldn’t find him at all. We didn’t know what had happened, whether he had fallen into one of the tunnels, or had been blown up the chimney, or had accidentally flushed himself down a toilet. We looked everywhere! My Fleddie was gone! I was tellibly wollied that my lovely tiny littul Fleddie had been eaten by one of the peacocks!’

‘But this wasn’t reported in the papers!’

‘Of course not! Causing public alarm is a climinal offence. We had to keep it quiet!’

‘And was he never found?’

‘Two weeks later he turned up on the doorstep. I opened the door, and there he was! It was him, but at the same time it wasn’t him. Because he was wearing a shiny mafia suit, dark glasses, barbie doll high heels, and speaking with a weird American accent. He had changed tellibly!

‘But I was so pleased to see him, I didn’t even ask why he was dressed like a gangster. I gave him a big kiss and screamed Darling you’re back! Come and have a bounce on the purple plastic sofa! But he seemed to have forgotten everything. He jumped on the sofa and started to trampoline all by himself, until he made this hole with his high heel,’ she said, pointing to the punctured purple plastic right next to where I was sitting. ‘He seemed to have entirely forgotten how we used to bounce together on the purple plastic sofa.’ Tears rolls down her cheeks, as she rummaged in her handbag for a handkerchief. ‘He didn’t seem like the same man at all.’

‘My poor dear Vera,’ I said, as I helped to wipe away her tears.

‘And my Fleddie had always had this delicious littul mole on his lovely littul bum. But when we went to bed,’ she sobbed, ‘there was no spotty on his littul botty! It had gone. Instead the spotty had moved to his…’

‘Don’t upset yourself,’ I said, putting my arm around her, as she wept into my cup of tea. ‘But how could this have happened?’

‘My littul Fleddie Mpundu was a twin. Now the other one, Kafupi, had turned up to take his brother’s place. He has always been a rascal and ne’er-do-well. A former tomato seller and bus conductor! And now my husband!’

‘But why didn’t you refuse?’

‘In my tradition, the brother inherits the widow.’

‘But didn’t people in government notice that this was not the right man?’

‘They didn’t know about the spotty on his botty!’

‘But wasn’t Kafupi’s behaviour rather strange, compared to your lovely littul Fleddie?’

‘That wasn’t for them to question. Because of his high office, they just had to obey his instructions, however silly! It’s all explained in the Constootion.’

‘So can Kafupi be held responsible for all his mistakes?’

‘I’m sure he had no idea what he was doing, he was always in a cloud of smoke. He never had any idea where he was, or where the money went, or how many suits he bought.’

‘So how do we prove all this?’

‘He must be taken to court!’

‘For theft?’

‘No, to prove that this is not the real Fleddie!’

‘No spotty on his botty?’

‘Exactly,’ she sobbed, as I tried to console her.


‘What have you been doing today?’ asked Sara, when I finally got home.

‘I’ve just heard a fantastic story from Vera,’ I said, ‘about how her husband completely changed into somebody else!’

‘Huh!’ said Sara. ‘All women have that problem.’

Thursday, June 16, 2011


[By the late 1990s, the MMD government had seriously set about dismantling the system of public social service established during the first and second republics. One of the most serious casualties of this comprehensive policy of national destruction was the national education system, as recorded in this piece from August 1998]


Last Tuesday we were surprised when our son Jumani walked into the house, back from boarding school.

‘I thought you didn’t close until Friday,’ said Sara.

‘That school you sent me to was absolutely terrible,’ he replied, as plonked his hold-all onto the floor, and threw himself into an armchair.

‘It no use just running away,’ said Sara. ‘Sensible people take action to put things right.’

‘You’re so out of date, you two,’ he replied in exasperation. ‘You sound just like my friend Bufundi, who wrote a letter to the Minister. He said that if only the Minister knew what was happening at Njala, he would take action to put things right.

Then Jumani told us his story ...

It was more than a six weeks ago, when Bufundi sent that letter. We were beginning to give up hope of any response when, last Wednesday morning, Bufundi came running down to the river to where we were having our morning wash. ‘The Minister has come!’ he shouted. ‘We’re assembling in the hall!’

We got there just in time, as the Distinguished Honourable General Myanga, Minister of Education and his entire delegation marched into the hall. As he climbed onto the stage, we all cheered and clapped!’

‘I have received a letter from this school,’ announced General Myanga, ‘which has complained about the Headmaster.’

‘Yes!’ we cheered. ‘He’s a thief!’

‘First of all,’ said the General Myanga, ‘I am saddened and upset by your cheers. I am a very humble man, so I become very embarrassed when people cheer my famous wisdom and integrity.’

The hall fell into an uncomfortable silence.

‘Discipline means following the rules,’ began the General. ‘If an army private thinks he wasn’t given enough beans with his nshima, is this a matter which threatens the integrity and sovereignty of the nation! Is he supposed to complain to the General in charge of the Army? No, he should complain to his sergeant, who is the one to deal with such minor matters!’

‘Are we in the army?’ came a voice from the back.

‘Whether we are in the army or in school, the same rule applies. All complaints must follow due process. This is essential to government policy of following the rule of law. Here in school, if you want to write a letter of complaint, you should first give it to your teacher to check the English. If your letter is judged up to standard, your teacher will forward it to the Headteacher.’

‘We have no teachers,’ came a voice from the back.

‘You must understand that government policy is based on equity,’ General Myanga declared loudly and firmly. ‘All the other schools are in the same position. Therefore it would be inequitable, and morally wrong, to favour your school by providing more teachers when other schools are also short.’

‘We’ve no books,’ came another complaint.

‘I have come here to explain the new government policy of decentralisation, where authority over schools has now been localised. The Head should refer any problems to the local District Education Officer. As Minister, I am fully occupied with policy, and matters of international educational development. It is not the job of the Minister to deliver books to schools.’

‘We’ve no food,’ came the same voice from the back.

‘According the government policy of structural adjustment,’ said Myanga, ‘subsidies have been abolished. You are now responsible for feeding yourselves. This government stands for initiative, self-reliance and entrepreneurship. You must understand that government can no longer provide everything. You must learn to help yourselves. Days of spoon feeding are past.’

‘We’ve got no spoons!’ shouted the same voice.

‘Look,’ said the Minister, as he looked impatiently at his gold watch, ‘government cannot do everything for you. Government is only one of many stakeholders. We believe in a policy of partnership, a public private partnership, a partnership between the government and the community, between the teachers and the students. All stakeholders must be willing to contribute.’

‘The partnership of the rider and the horse!’ shouted the voice from the back. ‘Which stakeholder bought your new metallic green Landcruiser VX?’

‘What indiscipline!’ screamed Myanga, his eyes bulging. ‘Give me the stick! I’ll deal with him myself!’

But as he leapt from the stage, he slipped. We all gasped as he fell upon the ghastly metal skeleton of the school’s last remaining chair. He staggered to his feet, but a sharp metal prong had punctured his vast wobbly belly.

Pssshhh! We all stood transfixed in fascinated amazement as hot air, steam and yellow puss squirted out of his disgusting belly. Pssshhh! The great fat Minister was going down like a balloon! Smaller and smaller he got! From general down to brigadier. Pssshhh! From brigadier down to colonel. Pssshhh! From colonel down to major. From major down to captain. Pssshhh! From captain down to lieutenant. More and more he shrank. From lieutenant to sergeant. Pssshhh! From sergeant to down to corporal. Pssshhh! From corporal down to private. Pssshhh! Finally, there was nothing there at all. Just an empty suit, a puddle of yellow slime and a nasty smell.

That was when we went on the rampage! We burnt the school to the ground!

‘I don’t get it,’ said Sara. ‘You burnt down the school because the Minister evaporated?’

‘We burnt down the school when we realised there was no hope. We thought the minister would save us, but the minister was just a bag of nasty stinking wind. So there was nobody to save us! There was nothing there! Just hot air, steam and a putrid stink! All our hopes shrank to nothing.’

‘That wasn’t nothing,’ I said. ‘That was government policy.’

Thursday, June 9, 2011


[Back in July 1998 Kalaki wrote this piece giving his considered opinion of the value of donors in general and UNICEF in particular]


Sam and I had managed to use our press cards to squeeze into another Donor Party. We needed it badly, because our salary cheques were late again.

We walked down the gravel drive, towards the bar which had been set up next to the swimming pool. This was the Official Residence of the Country Representative of the Children’s Fund, Mr Drivel McTwaddle.

The lawn was thick with suited gentlemen, washing down prawns with gulps of champagne. Perched on his podium, Drivel McTwaddle was in the middle of his twaddle ...

‘Before I came here to Zambia, I was told awful stories about poverty, squalor and starving children. But now I have seen it for myself,’ he said, looking round at the green rolling lawns and lush palm trees of his Kabulonga mansion, ‘I can see that situation is not as distressing as I had imagined.’

The distinguished guzzling parasites continued to guzzle and prattle, quite ignoring the continuing drivel and twaddle from Mr Drivel McTwaddle. The assembled Volvos and Mercedes glinted in the afternoon sun, as their uniformed chauffeurs stood to attention, awaiting the return of their distinguished employers from their important official guzzling.

‘Look,’ whispered Sam, pointing to hundreds of little heads peering over the distant wall, ‘the poor little orphans think that some of this is for them.’

‘I was sent here from Washington,’ drivelled McTwaddle, ‘to launch the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. So now I am handing over to the Minister, to explain the National Plan of Action which I have given him for his action.’

Up stood a battered ruffian, his huge belly protruding from an Italian suit. It was the dreaded Minister for Youth and Thugs, Mr Witless Hartebeest. ‘We have to be careful when we talk about the Rights of the Child,’ he began. ‘In Washington they talk about Rights, but here we talk about Discipline.’

‘Discipline means beating,’ murmured Sam.

‘In other words,’ continued the Ministerial Thug, ‘individual children have to be controlled, so that they don’t interfere with the rights of their parents and teachers. We have the right to control our children, and teachers must be given the same authority as parents.’

‘They walk around with sticks and whips,’ whispered Sam.

‘That is why we have introduced our National Plan for Children, which is based on a strategy of Discipline and Obedience. That is what we mean by education. Children need to learn at a young age to do as they are told without questioning authority.’

‘Essential when selling daughters,’ chuckled Sam.

‘The previous government made the mistake of giving children free education and health care. This was state interference, which undermined the traditional role and authority of parents. Our National Plan for Children is therefore based on restoring the authority of parents over their children. By restoring fees, we have restored the value of education and health care. Now these basic rights will be properly appreciated.’

‘The children are dying like flies,’ said Sam.

‘We are humbly grateful for your eloquent and illuminating explanation, Mr Minister,’ prattled McTwaddle, as he stood up to lead a round of applause. ‘And allow me take advantage of this august gathering to reveal that Zambia is the first country in the world to have a National Plan for Children. I can also reveal to you that Washington is very pleased.’ But the crowd ignored him. They were too busy gossiping to each other.

‘Look,’ said Sam, ‘some of the kids have got over the wall.’

‘It has always been the policy of the Children’s Fund to support government,’ gabbled McTwaddle. ‘In this case, the government has been doing so much that it has been difficult for us to see where to spend our Fund.

‘So we have been able to invest in a new fleet of Volvos in order to ease the transport problems of our expatriate experts, who have to decide your development priorities. And we have also bought new Landcruisers for our programme officers, who have to travel the country ensuring that all funds are dispersed according to the rules set in Washington.’

‘Misplaced expenditure,’ laughed Sam. ‘He should have spent more on razor wire for his wall, the kids are now coming over! We’d better move to higher ground!’

Despite the invasion, McTwaddle seemed not to see the danger. As the security guards brought out their whips, he waffled on regardless. ‘With parents now responsible for protecting their children from all diseases, it was difficult for us to identify a project. But then we received instructions from Washington to put all our money into a campaign to eliminate polio, which hasn’t been seen in this country for the past ten years. I am pleased to inform you that our campaign slogan is Bye Bye Polio!

But McTwaddle was now twaddling to himself, for his distinguished guests were now fleeing to their limousines.

Sam and I stuffed our pockets with prawns and quickly made it to the gate. As soon as we reached safety we turned back to look. The first battalion of raggamuffin invaders had thrown McTwaddle into the pool. The second battalion were pushing his Volvo in after him. The third battalion was making short work of the strawberries and prawns. ‘Most extraordinary,’ I said, as we surveyed the scene of mayhem and destruction. ‘Such direct social action usually comes from university students!’

‘The trickle down effect is finally working!’ laughed Sam. ‘The children have finally got a share of the Children’s Fund!’

Above the sound of splintering windscreens, we heard the chorus of the joyful kids ... ‘Bye Bye Polio! ... Bye Bye Volvo! ... Bye Bye Twaddle!’

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Funeral

[In this piece, first published on 21st May 2009, Kalaki finds himself at a very entertaining funeral]

The Funeral

As I walked in to breakfast I found Sara dressed in a headscarf, black blouse and chitenge. ‘Oh no,’ I said, ‘don’t say you’ve found another funeral.’

‘Its part of the natural cycle,’ said Sara. ‘Now we’re getting older, more of our friends are popping off. It’s just a matter of time before it’s our turn. You should come along, these funerals are always entertaining. You’ll be able to meet all your old friends, and say goodbye to them before it’s their turn.’

‘I’ll just wait for my own funeral, and see them all there. Mine is going to be the most entertaining of them all. I’ve already got it planned. I’ve written a splendid eulogy, describing my life as a complete failure. It will reduce everybody to tears. Even those who didn’t like me will finally feel sorry for me.’

‘Dear dear,’ said Sara, ‘you’ve no idea how to write a eulogy. You have to make the life of the departed sound wonderful and marvellously successful, irrespective of how disastrous it was. It is all done by the simple formula of praise by omission.

‘So how would you do a eulogy for somebody like me?’

‘We would probably say that you were always a person of great potential. You could have had a great sense of purpose had it not been for your philosophical attitude, but your lack of material achievement was compensated by your energetic zest for the pleasures of life, which was admired by all, and your great wisdom was always seen in your brilliant hindsight. You might well have realised your full potential if only you had managed to linger on for another year or so, and in that sense your departure is a great loss to us all.’

‘Excellent!’ I said, as I reached for the toast. ‘I hadn’t realised you had such a high opinion of me.’

‘I don’t,’ she laughed. ‘I was just trying to think how we might gloss over the more embarrassing aspects. But if you’re really going to write the script for your own funeral service, you need more experience. Let’s go to the church together, so that you can see how to do things properly. Go and put on your oldest shabbiest jacket, then you can come along.’

‘I’ve only got one jacket,’ I said.

‘That’s the one I meant,’ she replied.

And so it was that, only an hour later, we were sitting on a hard bench, called a penance, in the Cathedral of St Ignominious, waiting for the entertainment to begin.

‘Oh, by the way,’ I whispered to Sara, ‘I forgot to ask. Whose funeral is it?’

‘Poor old Apa Mwamba.’

‘Apa Mwamba? Who was he?’

‘You know,’ said Sara. ‘He was that character invented by Yuss. He used to appear in The Post every week. He was called Apam for short.’

‘Oh yes,’ I said. ‘Now I remember. Any friend of Yuss must be a friend of mine. How did he die? Did he have a socially acceptable excuse?’

‘He was lost without Yuss,’ explained Sara. ‘After Yuss died, he just faded away.’

‘How long had you known him?’

‘Since Yunza,’ she replied. ‘His wife’s younger sister was in the same class as me.’

‘Good gracious,’ I said. ‘I hadn’t realised he was so close to us. It’s just as well we came along to pay our respects.’

‘By now the Guest of Honour was arriving, carried to the front of the aisle in a huge wooden casket. ‘Oh dear,’ said Sara, ‘he must have shrunk terribly.’

‘How can you know that? We haven’t yet had a peep at the corpse.’

‘Its an inverse ratio,’ she said sadly. ‘The smaller the corpse, the larger the coffin.’

Before long we came to the bit I had been waiting for. A priest came to the lectern and said ‘At this point in the service, it is my duty to say a few words in praise of the life of our dear departed, Apam Mwamba.’

‘Why not a member of the family to say a few words?’ I whispered to Sara.

‘Only priests are allowed to tell lies in church,’ she explained.

‘We are saying farewell today,’ began the priest, ‘to a devout Christian who always gave generously to this Church….’

But then I heard a woman’s voice behind me whispering ‘He thought he could buy himself a place in Heaven…’

‘He was a humble citizen, always ready to listen to others…’

‘He ruled his house like a king, and nobody dared to contradict him…’

And so the eulogy proceeded, with every claim by the priest being greeted with a whispered commentary from the pew behind...

‘He was always faithful to his wife of forty years…’

‘and also faithful to his many mistresses…’

‘a wife who never left his side…’

‘whenever she attempted to escape, he always dragged her back…’

‘he was lucky to have an educated wife who gave her life for him…’

‘after he had successfully destroyed her career…’

‘so let this be an example to others of a truly Christian marriage…’

where the husband beats the shit out of his wife on a regular basis…’

‘a husband who paid tribute to his wife by building a large mansion…’

so that her screams could not be heard by the neighbours…’

‘unfortunately she cannot speak today, she is overcome by emotion…’

‘and unwilling to perjure herself in the sight of the Lord…’

‘So, finally today, I ask you all to look after his widow.’

’By standing aside while his relatives to strip her naked.’

‘And so we commit his soul to the Lord.’

‘Mother Mary will kick him downstairs.’

‘Amen,’ said the priest.

Violent men,’ said the voice behind.


‘Is that what you want for your funeral?’ asked Sara, as we left the church.

‘When my time comes,’ I said, ‘Just skip the service and take me straight to the cemetery.’