It was late at night in the kitchen, but the Kitchen Cabinet was still discussing what to do with the country, now that they had accidentally taken control of it. As on previous evenings, the discussion seemed to be going nowhere.
‘The trouble is,’ said Dotty Scotty, ‘people want us to honour our election promises.’
‘That’s not the problem,’ growled the Great Bag of Maize. ‘The problem is that the opposition keeps reminding us of our election promises.’
‘Oh really?’ asked Feckless Shambles. ‘What were our election promises?’
This high level intellectual discussion was suddenly interrupted by Cycle Mata, who had been sitting at the kitchen table playing with his jig-saw of Zambia. ‘I think I’ve got the answer,’ he said, as he moved one of the jig-saw pieces. ‘If I move Northern Province down to Eastern Province then all the Bemba will become farmers.’
‘Hurray,’ they all applauded politely. ‘What a strategist! What a genius! Another Napoleon come to lead us!’
Cycle Mata was so encouraged by such high praise that he now slid Eastern Province to the edge of the table and let it drop down onto the floor. ‘And the Easterners can go down to Matebeleland, where my friend Robber Mugabby will know what to do with them.’
But this remark failed to raise a second round of applause, and the kitchen fell quiet as Axe Chikwale reached for his whisky bottle.
At last the Great Bag broke the silence. ‘What we need is a coup d’etat,’ he declared.
Dotty Scotty opened one eye and scratched his dandruff. ‘My dear fellow, were you ever to consult a dictionary you would discover that coup d’etat means using force to illegally capture state power. It may perhaps have escaped your attention, but we have already captured state power.’
‘Obviously,’ sighed the Great Bag of Maize, with his usual contempt for the limited intelligence of the educated, ‘we shall not be the ones doing it. The coup d’etat will be mounted by the opposition. They have been calling us sleepy fools with no ideas and openly saying that they want to take over the government.’
‘So you want to let them do it?’ asked Dotty Scotty.
The Great Bag slowly leant forward and took a large spoonful of caviar from the bowl in the middle of the table and plastered it onto a huge lump of nshima, which he then shoved into his sloppy cavernous mouth. Finally, after swallowing this generous slice of the national budget, he looked towards Dotty and said sarcastically ‘Rather than waiting for them do it, I thought it might be better to catch them while they are still planning it.’
‘And how are you going to catch them planning it?’ wondered Dotty.
As he spoke, there was a loud snore from under the table, and the Great Bag angrily aimed a kick at the unconscious body of Eager Bungle, Minister for Home Invasions and Fishing Expeditions. ‘He’s been completely drunk,’ shouted the Great Bag of Maize, ‘since we allowed him to confiscate all the tujilijili. If I had his job I would have thrown all these coup plotters in jail months ago!’
This remark seemed to divert Cycle Mata’s interest away from his jig-saw. ‘Great Bag of Maize, I hereby appoint you as Minister of the newly combined Ministry of Patriotic Fighters, Home Invasions and Fishing Expeditions. Eager Bungle now becomes the fourth Deputy Minister in the newly created Ministry of Alcoholic Rehabiliation.’
‘Hurray,’ they all cheered. ‘A new Napoleon to lead us out of national confusion!’
‘Give me another Napoleon tujilijili,’ said a slurred voice from under the table.
‘So what’s your plan?’ Dotty Scotty asked the Great Bag of Maize.
‘Tell us! Tell us!’ said Cycle Mata eagerly. ‘A plan! A plan! My kingdom for a plan!’
‘My plan is simple and three-fold,’ replied the Great Bag. ‘Firstly I shall have my army surround State House to shoot down the Bullet that the coup plotters fired last November in their attempt to assassinate our Beloved Leader.’
‘If it was fired last November, shouldn’t it have arrived by now?’
‘It was very slow moving. Intelligence information is that they used Bullet instead of Boom.’
‘And the second part of the plan?’
‘I shall have my army surround the opposition HQ in Lagos Road, and then send my bombers to destroy the inflammatory material they intended to use against the government.’
‘What inflammatory material is that?’
‘They have stolen medical records showing that three quarters of the Cabinet comes from Kasama.’
‘That information is surely incorrect,’ said Cycle Mata sternly.
‘They deliberately selected that information to mislead the public,’ explained the Great Bag. ‘It so happens that I weigh 750kg, whereas the combined weight of all the others in the Cabinet adds up to only 250kg.’
‘And the third part of your plan?’
‘As the coup plotters flee the bombs, they will be found guilty of attacking us as they hit their heads against our batons and rifle butts.’
‘Very good,’ said Cycle Mata. ‘This will teach the opposition not to tell lies about us.’
The next afternoon the Kitchen Cabinet was sitting around the kitchen table awaiting news of the coup d’etat. Suddenly the Great Bag’s phone rang. ‘Hallo? Hallo? You bombed what? Where? You eedjit, I said Lagos Road, not Lagos. What? Declared war? Oh My God!’
He turned to the others. ‘Nigeria has declared war!’
‘Oh good,’ said Dotty Scotty. ‘This will unite the people against the common enemy, and we shall have to lock up all the subversive elements that might undermine national unity!’