Our westerly neighbours have always been known for their artistic creativity. Ndombolo? Not only in music, in other sectors, too. So when at home we thought we were going to be crushed under the depression exacted by bombardments of liberties-suppression accusations, one of them has gladly come to our rescue with a welcome distraction of comic relief.
Exactly what we needed for the Christmas festivities. Brethren and sistren, let’s allow ourselves this time to unwind and bask in the glow of the pleasure of savouring a much-needed doze of hilarity extravaganza.
It has been long coming. For, I remember our protagonist that long ago, the early 1960s, as a strapping graduate of Lovanium University who was ready to contributively make his mark in the liberation effort of his people. He may have made a faux pas, God knows it was a tragic one, but that did not stop him from shrugging it off and carrying on with fervour and verve.
But, looking back, maybe that faux pas had dealt a terminal blow to his chances of ever birthing his dream. And so, like a stuck record, the comic song serves us only one verse, repeatedly.
It’s not “I, the president/I shall be”. It’s “I, the president.....I, the president....!” And, even as we talk, if police has not stepped in to interrupt our mirthful show, we may be having two presidents in power concurrently. One who was sworn in last Tuesday, even as he’d been declared a loser and was a wanted man by the other, not yet in power. And the other who was to be sworn in today, by the grace of police, even as he depended solely on the backing of only the voices of his praise-singers. And so the song repeats itself, the more the comical.
But the faux pas, lest we forget. It was in the form of a letter, written to a semi-provincial “emperor” in 1961.
“To Your Emperor Majesty of South Kasai, ‘The Mulokolwe’, I hereby present my highest respect to Your Majesty. Now that the toad has been dealt with, all the effort of our Team remains concentrated on the faith which is reserved for his old collaborators to prevent the sustainability of his work of destruction.....” Signed by – you guessed right (if you did!) – Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba, The Deputy High Commissioner of Justice.
And, indeed, soon after that letter, Patrice Lumumba (the ‘toad’ referred to) and all his collaborators were killed in the most gruesome manner. The author of that heinous execution was a two-headed monster of Western World powers and the forces of a young, bespectacled journalist-lieutenant in the names of Joseph Désiré Mobutu.
Mobutu, later to metamorphose into a kleptomaniac, megalomaniac and other ‘-maniacs’ combined to make an insatiable beast that carried the inexhaustible label of Sese Seko Kuku Nguendu wa Zabanga....ad infinitum.
Of course, all these proved to be ants’ feathers (byoya bya nswa), as they say in Uganda, because when he smelt the whiff of war on the south-easterly winds, he ran off so fast that by the time he reached Rabat, Morocco, the wind had consumed his fat to an extent that he met his demise as a skeletal semblance of his former regal self.
But our Tshisekedi. He and Kuku enjoyed a mixed marriage of acrimonious divorces and erratic reunions that left their subjects dizzied, as they looked to the left on divorce, to the right on reunion, to the left.......almost ad infinitum!
So, in 1980 Tshisekedi was kicked out of government, only to be wooed back with money to “feed his belly” in the middle of the night, in 1991 as prime minister. After one month, it was time for divorce and the fellow sat on his haunches to wait for another premier reunion. It came in April 1992 and this time saw the Christmas of that year but could not go beyond Easter of the following year. The third reunion as prime minister that came in 1997 hardly saw the inside of a week and it seemed to be for quits.
But, lucky son of a gun, it was as well. Else he’d have gone the way of his nemesis, Mobutu, because after one month the swine-snacking Laurent Kabila overthrew the latter’s ravenous regime. Still, that part that he played in the murder of Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, Lumumba, and many other Congolese nationals, saw him stripped of his political rights. But expect the “rightful leader of the DRC” to bounce back. That he did, first under the first elections under Joseph Kabila which he lost, second for these last elections after which he has declared himself “rightful president”.
Tshisekedi for two governments running concurrently? A depressing comedy of errors for our neighbourly brethren and sistren, indeed, but maybe he is thinking of the abundant political space! Our Occidental brethren and sistren must be dancing the Ndombolo in glee. A democratic utopia of equal magnitude it is well-nigh certain they’ve never witnessed!
A utopian democratic republic that has never forced order on its people; no cleanliness; no hygiene; no hospitals/health centres; no near-100% health insurance; no clean, orderly settlement; no free universal education; no unnecessary food security; no national dialogue; no monthly press conferences; no judicial system; no reconciliation attempt; no security; no roads; ad infinitum. In short, a free-for-all. What more can a concerned Occidental rights-defender ask for?
Tshisekedi, we don’t gloat over the wretchedness of others. We talk in jest, remember?
Merry Christmas to everyone!