Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Handover

[It is just after the election in 2008, and the time has come for Morleen to hand over State House to Thandiwe]

The Handover


My poor Old Sugar has gone to bed and is already snoring, so its time to confide in you, My Dear Diary. When my dear Sugar finally woke up this morning, he was like a dinosaur with a sore head. ‘I’ve been president for over a week,’ he roared. ‘When is that woman going to let me into State House?’

‘Don’t you worry My Darling,’ I said gently, ‘I’ll have a word with Morleen, and find out what’s causing the delay.’ So I gave her a call on my new Blackberry, and she invited me round the next day. ‘I’ve been waiting for your call all week,’ she said, ‘what was the delay?’

‘Shall I bring Old Sugar?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she replied, ‘its better to keep things between the two of us at this stage.’


Dear Diary, Today was so exciting. I’ve been learning all about furniture and the art of government. This morning, before Old Sugar had woken up, Morleen was already taking me on a tour of my new home. ‘You won’t have to change anything,’ she said. ‘Your husband is exactly the same size as the previous president, so everything will fit perfectly.’ ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ I admitted. ‘I’d been wondering why he was chosen.’

‘There were terrible problems previously,’ explained Morleen, ‘when we had to replace a large president with a small one, and after that change the small one with my beloved Muwelewele. You can’t have a huge president balancing on a tiny chair, it lowers the dignity of the presidency, quite apart from the threat to national security.’

‘So we don’t have to bring any of our own things?’ I asked.

‘Good gracious no,’ laughed Morleen. ‘The wardrobe is full of suits that will fit your Sugar Daddy…’

‘I call him my Sugar,’ I corrected her, ‘Not Sugar Daddy.’

‘Oops,’ she said, ‘My mistake. Anyway, your Sugar should be able to step into the same shoes. Its all part of the legacy.’

‘And fit into the same old policies?’ I wondered. ‘Perhaps I should bring him along tomorrow to talk about that?’ ‘Good gracious no,’ she laughed, ‘its better to keep things between the two of us at this stage.’


Dear Diary, this morning I confided my fears to Morleen, about whether my poor Old Sugar could really run the country. ‘On our little farm in Chipata,’ I explained, ‘I used to have to do everything, because he was usually asleep. But if he woke up, I would send him into town to attend party meetings. Otherwise he would hang around the farm and start quarrelling with the workers.’

‘It’s much the same with this job,’ said Morleen. ‘You just take charge, and if he becomes a nuisance, you send him to meetings of SADC or the AU to talk about Darfur or Mugabe. Then, while he’s away, you can continue to govern the country.’

Now she had me really worried. ‘How can I do that?’ I asked her. ‘What if ministers try to interfere?’ But Morleen just laughed. ‘Never talk to a minister, just phone his secretary, and tell her you’ve got instructions from State House. That way, the minister just does as he’s told.’

Oh Dear Diary, I’m really worried that Morleen’s system won’t work for me. Supposing these ministers have ideas of their own? Even worse, supposing my Old Sugar starts to interfere. He could really mess things up.


Dear Diary, I’m feeling more confident today, after Morleen explained everything. ‘These ministers,’ she said, ‘are specially chosen because they have no ideas of their own. They’re all old and dull, and rather sleepy. The only one who understands how a ministry works is the minister’s personal secretary, who has been there for years. So the country is always run by the First Lady and the ministers’ secretaries. It’s women who govern this country. Men just steal and talk.’


Dear Diary, the newspapers are starting to gossip that Old Sugar hasn’t been seen for two weeks, and maybe he’s fallen asleep. So I woke him up early, and took him round to Morleen for the Big Handover. She made him sit on the great throne at the head of the long table. ‘I’ve called your press conference for tomorrow,’ she said, as she put a sheaf of papers in front of him. ‘It will be very simple and straightforward. All you have to do is read out this list of new ministers.’

‘Oh goody,’ yawned Old Sugar. ‘I hope I can get along with all of them.’

‘Just make sure,’ said Morleen sternly, ‘that you don’t lose any of these sheets of paper, or you might end up with more ministers than ministries.’

But my poor Sugar had already fallen asleep. I turned to Morleen and whispered ‘Is it really alright for me to take charge? After all, I haven’t been elected.’

‘Don’t worry,’ snapped Morleen. ‘Nor was he!’

No comments:

Post a Comment