Friday, January 20, 2012

Malicious Allegations

[First published in June 2000, this piece looks at the prospects of getting a court judgement against a government minister]

       Malicious Allegations

All rose as Judge Chibepesho walked solemnly into the court and sat down at the bench.
 ‘This court is hereby convened,’ said the Judge, ‘as a Tribunal on Ministerial Conduct, to hear the case against Mr Newspeak Dimba, Minister for Misconduct.
 ‘Mr Newspeak Dimba, you have been charged with misusing your position as Minister. The facts before this court are that you were appointed in 1991 as the guardian of Ms Zambia, but that you misused your position, and neglected her. How do you plead?’
 ‘I am innocent, M’Lud. I bought Zambia legally during the 1991 elections, paying ten gluders and a bottle of beer. Since then she has been my property, to do with as I please.’
 ‘The law of property cannot take precedence over human rights. Look at the poor wretch,’ said the Judge, pointing to Ms Zambia who sat on the floor, thin and shivering. ‘Is she attending hospital?’
 ‘The poor woman has no money to pay hospital fees.’
 ‘As her guardian, are you not supposed to take care of her health and welfare?’
 ‘Ha!’ snorted the Minister, thrusting forward his fat waistcoat, ‘I made it clear to her from the start that she had to stand on her own feet. I told her plainly that she could expect nothing but self-sacrifice. Now she has the audacity to come here and complain that I never provide for her!’
 ‘So you have refused to take her to hospital?’
 ‘M’Lud, you must understand my predicament. My own children are away at university in America, where I have to pay both school fees and medical expenses. They will need a high standard of education if they are to manage all my property, and take their position in society.’
 And did you manage to provide university education for poor little Zambia?’
 ‘What use would it be to her? What future does she have?’
 ‘Well, you may have a point on that one. But now I must turn to the more serious charge against you. The plaintiff has complained that ever since she came into your house, you have raped her every night.’
 ‘Rape is a foreign word, M’Lud. Foreign to our custom and tradition. As a man, I am entitled to take pleasure in my own property.’
 ‘She claims that you have invited your whole gang of friends to share your pleasure.’
 ‘Really, M’Lud, is it not a basic right that I may share and enjoy my property with my friends? What sort of friend would I be if I did not ask Zambia to entertain my visitors?’
 ‘So it wasn’t rape?’
 ‘We are entitled to take what we have paid for. I refer you, M’Lud, to the Law of Contract.’
 ‘But what about women’s rights? Has Zambia not ratified the Declaration on Equal Rights for Women?’
 ‘Exactly, M’Lud. She was given an equal right to each of us, and we shared her equally amongst ourselves. I am sure the medical evidence will support my claim.’
 ‘So this was more of a business proposition?’
 ‘That’s right, M’Lud. My friends are all foreign investors who have bought shares in Zambia.’
 ‘She also complains you took her house and sold it.’
 ‘It was a government house, M’Lud. If you look at the Contract of Sale drawn up in 1991, you will find that ten gluders and a bottle of beer was the price not only for Zambia herself, but also for her house. This was clearly part of our policy of privatisation.’
 ‘Where exactly is this house situated?’
 ‘Along Corruption Avenue, M’Lud, just behind this High Court. As part of our policy for ensuring the independence of the judiciary, this house is now available to any judge for the price of only five gluders. We are looking for a judicious person of property, wishing to extend their property portfolio. Such a house would undoubtedly be most suitable to a gentleman such as yourself, M’Lud.’
 ‘I have heard enough,’ said Judge Chibepesho, ‘and shall now pronounce judgement.
 I find that Mr Newspeak Dimba, as Minister of Misconduct, has done everything expected of him. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure him that the judiciary supports the principles of the Law of Property, and the policy of privatising government houses, especially those in the vicinity of the High Court. I therefore dismiss all the charges against this Most Honourable Minister.
 ‘As for Zambia, normally I should have sent her to prison for prostituting herself, and for making malicious allegations. But since she is already dying and cannot afford medical attention, and since this is a Christian nation, I shall leave her to the mercy of the Lord. May her soul rest in peace.’

No comments:

Post a Comment