THIS WEEKEND Political Gimmicks

By Vincent Ogo

Chaka: Your face gives me the impression that you are still grieving, Ebrima.

Ebrima: Sure. I feel as bad as a student that flunked the most important examination in his life.

Chaka: Come on, boy, don’t let what is happening in your country continue to get the better of you, after all it is the norm in Africa.

Ebrima: Don’t lure me into delving into polemics again today. I’m simply not in the mood.

Chaka: Cut that crap, boy, you’re no laggard at such things. How do we find solutions to the myriad problems besetting our beloved countries and continent if we don’t jaw-jaw?

Ebrima: I’m sick and tired of vituperative political mind-juggling. Men have been doing that even before the days of the Congress System in Europe, without result.   

Chaka: There you go again, you are so devastated with the corruption problem in your country, something that is an African…

Ebrima:  Stop generalising. Corruption and ineptitude are no longer some wholly African malaise. Look at the way countries like Botswana and Rwanda are performing so well economically…

Chaka: Whereas my beloved land of Democratic Kong and big brother Naigara are blundering…

Ebrima: If tiny nations like are getting it right – look at Maurities, look at Cape Verde, look at Seychelles, all economic success stories, but my small Kambi, what do we have? And when we thought we have a new Kambi, after we collectively booted out Mansa Babili, but now look at what has happened. We now have corruption, countless political parties, all waiting to pounce on our meager resources like vultures;

Chaka: Vultures indeed. And don’t forget the vulture is a patient bird.

Ebrima: Every riff-raff now owns a political party

Chaka: But having many political parties is good for democracy.

Ebrima: Cut That Crap, boy. All these people are opportunists. it is just some gimmick to grab their share of the spoils.

Chaka: So?

Ebrima: They are just calculating, watching and waiting, at the opportune time they will align with the president’s party or that of the veteran lawyer’s party depending on who they perceive will win the election.

Chaka: I see….

Ebrima: Yeah, and for that alliance they will be rewarded with a ministerial appointment after the election.

Chaka: Very clever indeed…

Ebrima: You call that cleverness? That is roguish, political brigandage… when they get the appointments they crave, it will become another round of looting…

Chaka: I heard none of the leaders of the mushroom parties that were part of the Coalition that booted out Mansa Babili will ever be poor again.

Ebrima: They will never be poor again.

Chaka:  I heard the executive himself has erected an equally executive mansion in his home village…

Ebrima: That is no longer news.

Chaka: I also heard it is a white house.  So Kambi has its own white house now.

Ebrima: That is no longer news

Chaka: Too bad that the efforts of Kambians in booting out Mansa Babili is being rewarded this way. And too bad that unrepentant supporters of Mansa Bibili are now using the present rot in the country as a political capital.

Ebrima: Let them all go to hell; after all, their darling Mansa Babili himself stole roughly a billion dollars. If half of that money was used for this country, Iwe will be living in a paradise by now

Chaka: But the Mansa’s followers could also argue that certain things happening now wouldn’t have happened during his time in power…

Ebrima: Like?

Chaka: Like way next door neighbour is muscling you now; trying to divert our report trade; the agreement with EU  to fish in Kambian waters…and talking of that agreement, I wonder what happened to the five million European money given for that….

Ebrima: You know who to direct that question to…

Chaka: And all the millions donated to the country to tackle Covid-19 and cushion its effects

Ebrima: You know who to ask…

Chaka: And not talking about the eleven million European Union money meant to resettle and empower returned migrants…

Ebrima: You know who to ask….

Chaka: That money meant for ex-migrants, I heard some people that are now castigating this government and accusing them of corruption got some generous portion of it.

Ebrima: Just as I was saying, opportunists. They are now bad-mouthing the system they were very much part of.

Chaka: And what happened to all Mansa Babili’s sheeps and goats and hens and cattle?

Ebrima: They only swelled some people’s livestock. But I will not mention names.

Chaka: I wonderwhy the masses are allowing those unscrupulous politicians to get away with all these.

Ebrima: There is nothing to wonder about, comrade. Those people simply got wiser. They have realised that all politicians are the same – whether ruling party or opposition, they are all different sides of the same coin playing hanky-panky with the masses. When I say hanky-panky, it means the more you look, the less you see. If those opposition fellows crying foul today ever manage to rig their way to power they will do worse things.

Chaka: You’re right. I now understand why the masses kept their cool. They have decided to let the politicians stew in their own juice – it brings out the flavour.

Ebrima: The flavour means more nauseating corruption in high places; too bad for the country.

Ebrima: The mandarins will always argue that it is a way of preserving sanity in the midst of chaos.

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