New Year Resolutions
New Year Resolutions
Constable Chilufya sat motionless at his massive desk, admiring the huge picture of his own stern face on the opposite wall. Suddenly this famous man of action leapt into action, as he firmly and resolutely pressed one of the buttons on his desk.
Almost immediately there was a timid knock on the huge mukwa door, and then, as the door slowly creaked open, there appeared the figure of a trembling adviser, the hapless Mr Wobbly Wamwenso, Presidential Adviser for Inadvertently Amusing Announcements.
‘You’re late!’ shouted Chilufya, ‘You should have been here three minutes ago with your proposed draft of my Ten New Year Resolutions.’
‘Sorry Your Excellency. Here they are Your Excellency,’ squealed Wobbly Wamwenso, as he quickly traversed the acre of excellent Persian carpet in front of His Excellency’s excellent desk. His wobbly knees knocked together loudly, and his hand shook as he offered Chilufya a fluttering sheet of paper, and tried not to piddle on the Persian carpet.
‘What!’ roared Chilufya. ‘Only one miserable page! You’re supposed to have been working on this since the end of September! Is that all you can produce! Let me have a look!’ he snarled as he snatched the sheet of paper and looked at it. ‘What! Only ten resolutions! The nation expects a lot more promises from a man of my enormous promise! Sit down!’
Poor little Wamwenso had to kneel down on the carpet because Chilufya’s huge throne was the only chair in the room.
Now Chilufya began to read in a loud derisive tone. ‘First Resolution: I shall continue the war against corruption. Is that all you can say?’ roared Chilufya. ‘Which corruption? Corruption is everywhere! What you should have said is that I shall continue the fight against corruption in the previous government.’
‘What about corruption in this government?’ whimpered Wamwenso.
‘That’s the job of the next government,’ shouted Chilufya. 'Now the Second Resolution: I shall introduce the new constitution within 90 days. Within 90 days of what? What you mean is that I shall introduce the new constitution within 90 days of my retirement!
‘The next one is even worse! I shall introduce the windfall tax. Windfall tax? What is this, you miserable halfwit?’
‘I’ve no idea, Your Excellency. I just read about it in the newspaper.’
‘You idiot, you mean the rainfall tax. The revenue collected from this tax will be invested in the Meteorological Department to enable them to plan and implement a programme of increased rainfall in future.
‘And the next one, I shall increase the number of women in my cabinet? Can’t you even finish a sentence? I shall increase the number of women … provided that they promise not to provoke gender violence by talking about gender equality.’
‘My apologies, Your Excellency, I foolishly overlooked your abhorrence of gender violence.’
‘And even more foolish is the Fifth Resolution: I shall uphold the rule of law. You mean uphold the rule of law by telling the police who to arrest and by instructing the judges on which ones are guilty.
‘Sorry, I overlooked that bit.’
‘As a man of action I need to say how I am going to implement my promises. Now look at the next one: I promise to protect the security of the nation. You have completely omitted to say by putting the Shushushu to spy on all the opposition members of parliament who are undermining the security of the nation by criticizing the government.
‘And the Seventh is even worse. I shall ensure full employment for all. All of whom? All the unemployed? We can’t possibly employ all these lazy people! I can only promise full employment to the Chinese because they work hard and bring development.’
‘Development, yes Your Excellency, sorry Your Excellency, I’d forgotten about that.’
‘Sorry is not good enough, you dunderhead,’ Chilufya shouted angrily. ‘You’re incompetent! Useless! You’re fired, with immediate effect!’
Poor Wobbly Wamwenso turned and made his wobbly way towards the door, leaving behind a wet patch on the Persian carpet.
He had nearly reached the door when he heard another coarse shout from the Mighty Chilufya: ‘Wait a minute, I have just seen your Eighth Resolution: I solemnly promise that I shall implement all of my New Year Resolutions, subject to my presidential discretion on whether to take action or not. Perhaps you’re not quite as stupid as I had thought. Come back here!’
Wobbly Wamwenso came wobbling back to the same damp spot on the carpet that he had left only a minute earlier. ‘I hereby revoke your dismissal,’ declared Chilufya, ‘and you are hereby re-appointed as a Senior Presidential Adviser, with immediate effect!
‘And now,’ continued Chilufya, ‘Let us look more calmly at New Year Resolution Number Nine. I promise to remain steadfast in all my decisions and never to flip-flop or U-turn.’
Constable Chilufya stood there silent, slowly turning purple in the face. Finally he exploded with a scream. ‘Get out you cheeky chakolwa! Get out! You’re fired! With immediate effect!’
Chilufya was still trying to calm himself down when the First Lady put her head round the door. ‘I’ve got The Boast on the phone asking for your New Year Resolutions. What shall I tell them?
‘Tell them,’ replied Chilufya, ‘that I have only one resolution. I have resolved to give jobs to everybody.’
‘Yes, dear, if you say so.’
Now Chilufya was again alone in his office. ‘That’s right,’ he growled at the closed door, ‘I have resolved to give jobs to everybody … except presidential advisers!’