By Kasebamashila Kaseba
Cartoon courtesy: Sibeta Mundia
Once upon a time, in the Xambianese year of the Rat and the fifth year of the reign of the Rat as the sixth rat leader and the twentieth year of the reign of the Insect as the twenty-second insect king, the Rat also named Ed Lu or Chwi Chwi and the Insect also similarly named Ed Lu or Ntwi Ntwi agreed to meet at a meeting called an Agreement.
Whereas in the east of the hippo river (kafuwe) it was the year of the Rat of burrows; in the west of the same hippo river all years are years of the Nyambezi’s Insect of the earth.
In that year, it happened the Insect of the sunset direction kingdom summoned and hosted the Rat of the sunrise direction country at the Palace of the Insect after the Rat of The Estate House had summoned the Insect to The Estate House.
In between, apart from a host of their other differences or the meeting, was the history of an “Agreement” observed for only five years to become an “Argument” disputed for the next jubilee of five decades plus one year, that is, 50 years plus one year.
The Insect walked and talked, full of history or stuck in history, tradition, symbolisms of power of his antennae and protocol.
On the contrary, the Rat walked and talked, full of himself, the moment or stuck in the moment, weaponry of power of the tusks and casualness. He was tipsy and tetchy.
Where the Insect seemed regal, sober and even prayerful; the Rat was un-sober and player-ful or restless.
However, both the Insect and the Rat were similarly co-accused by their kinds of betrayal of their kinds, histories, responsibilities and the Agreement.
They met on that basis of being co-accused.
The Insect’s salute of greetings or protocol of clapping, kneeling, squatting, prostrating seemed endless for the Rat yawned, in break of protocol. The insects clapped more than they touched and shook hands.
– Welcome, the Insect finally spoke in a familiar tongue.
– Thank you, Your Majesty.
– Did you see our Road leading here?
– Yes, I did.
– They now call it Treason Road.
– That is sad, Your Majesty.
– Meaning travelers including myself commit treason whenever I travel on that road. Meaning you also committed treason on coming here. There were actually a few other insects already charged and imprisoned for treason in your country before renaming the road or you and your friend came here. If the road leading to my palace is called treason road, does that make my palace, a palace or a prison?
– I hear you, Your Majesty.
– How can the insects, the road to my palace or land itself commit treason against you or your country? How can we be treason insects or a treason land or recently un-parliamentary kingdom? Why is there no one insect or one rat that has committed treason against me but only insects against you? That is rigged treason.
– I will look into that, Your Majesty.
– Why did you plough or dig the road without rehabilitation than plough and plant the rice pads?
– I will talk to the contractor, Your Majesty.
When the Rat thought he was about to be released of the protocol trap; one of courtiers signaled him to read a copy of the BNC ’12 and to walk outside listen to the extraordinary BNC ’20 in full council and session of all the other insects freely speaking treasonous claims.
Another courtier reminded the Rat, the Insect does not negotiate Agreements or Arguments but other insects do. Instead it is treasonous to argue with the Insect.
In the presence of the Insect, one was obliged to only agree. If the Rat wanted to engage the Insect into a negotiation and agreement, he would have to agree with every word of the Insect.
As the Rat walked from the extraordinary BNC ’20, he overheard insects rehearse a familiar song, like his anthem:
Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso (Lord Insect, save the Insects)
O fedise dintwa la matshwenyeh (Put an end to wars of affliction of the warmonger Rat).
When the Rat thought it was treason to plagiarize the Rat anthem like that by the insects, another courtier insect seemingly reading his mind said the east country actually committed treason by plagiarizing the west kingdom’s anthem or the country of rats of Xambie pirated the anthem from the kingdom of Insects of Nyambezi.
Instead of a return walk to the Agreement 1964, the Insect and the Rat walked to the Argument 2020 with the Rat committing treason of arguing with the Insect.