By Baba Galleh Jallow
His Mouthy Lousy the Poxident, Snooty Largy Dotty Mickey MMM Mouse was at his best of the worst. Dressed in his customary cowhide robes, his iron scarf hung around his neck, his wooden cap on his rugged head, and his iron boots strapped to his flat feet, he had convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet to enlighten them on the history of his personal country and to tell them a thing or two about the so-called Mickey Mouse West whose 400 years of Mickey Mouse colonial rule failed to build even a single Mickey Mouse school or Mickey Mouse hospital. Perched on his throne of human skulls and bones, Mickey Mouse foamed at the mouth as gusts of red fury periodically spurted from his flaring nostrils and filled the room with venomous vapors. Like puppets on an invisible string, the ministers sat in their places and fawned and clapped and boogie-boogied, competing over who was first to hit their palms together at the puppet master’s incoherent rants.
“Four hundred years of Mickey Mouse colonial rule and not a single Mickey Mouse school,” Mickey Mouse breathlessly fumed. “And then after our so-called Mickey Mouse independence, the Mickey Mouse government that took over spent 30 years of Mickey Mouse rule without building a single school or hospital. But then everyone said that government was a Mickey Mouse democracy which practiced Mickey Mouse good governance. Well I must not hear that said and whoever dares to repeat those words will go to hell.” The ministers broke out in rapturous applause with loud cries and shrieks of hear hear how true how true hitting the walls and bouncing off the meeting table, sending sparks of lightning flashes into the air.
Thus encouraged and feeling his head in the imaginary skies, Mickey Mouse dashed on at 100 miles per hour. “I have been president for only twenty years and now everyone sees me on my own TV even in the so-called United Kingdom. I now have my personal university in this country and even the children of Mickey Mouse beggars can go to school free of charge. I have been here for only twenty years and even Mickey Mouse beggars can afford health care free of charge. My hospitals are overflowing with all kinds of medicines and my doctors are more than one thousand in only twenty years. I have my personal radio and everyone hears my voice on the air. And they now come here and try to tell me about Mickey Mouse human rights and Mickey Mouse democracy and Mickey Mouse rule of law. What law? I am the only law and the only human right in my country and if they don’t like it they can go to hell.”
His last words were drowned in an even louder round of rapturous applause with some of the ministers jumping into the air and flinging their caps on the ground. Some rushed to kiss his feet while others swooned with juicy pleasure. A funny noise was heard in the background as Mickey Mouse shifted his weight and tried hard to maintain the severe look on his Mickey Mouse face, his whiskers stiff and unmoving like tiny iron rods. He must not be seen to smile or show any other sign of weakness at this critical moment of history when he had to make it known to those Mickey Mouse whites and their traitorous and unpatriotic Diaspora collaborators that he was not here to stay. He was only here to rectify a corrupt system and step down after a thousand years. Transparency, accountability and probity are his personal Mickey Mouse principles. If they are trying to call him a liar and a hypocrite, he will let them know that lying and hypocrisy is a matter of Mickey Mouse choice and he did not give a hoot. He opened his mouth and let the bombshells fly like potato missiles into the room.
“They issue their so-called Mickey Mouse country reports and say Mickey Mouse killed this man or Mickey Mouse killed that man. They say I perform human sacrifice and that I arrest people without warrant or charges and that I am only pretending to have a cure for HIV/AIDS, impotence, pancreatic cancer, epilepsy and even diabetes, stroke and female infertility. Well if they think I cannot cure Aids or asthma then they should come here and tell me face to face their Mickey Mouse nonsense. Belay belay belay, they would then know that Mickey Mouse is no Mickey Mouse joker. I will cut their heads off and stuff it in their mouths.” The ministers’ applause at the mention of cutting heads was rather subdued and muffled. They knew all about the gruesome tales of head-cutting ascribed to Mickey Mouse and how those who clapped for him after certain gruesome tales often disappeared or were rumored to end up on the menu of his giant crocodiles or dumped into an old well outside his palace walls. They were relieved when Mickey Mouse moved away from all that talk about cutting heads, even Mickey Mouse heads.
“Why do you think people now see me on radio and television?” Mickey Mouse asked, tilting his head into the skies, gnashing his teeth and flicking his tongue several times to emphasize his point. “I will tell you why. It is because I don’t accept any Mickey Mouse ignorance because I am not ignorant and I don’t want to hear the word ignorant in my personal country. The only thing that the British left us in this country is their Mickey Mouse English language which we are going to ban in this country very soon. In fact, from now on, no more English in this country and if anyone speaks English I will cut their tongues and I will seal their mouths with hot molten lava. They also left us the neck tie which was meant to make us tame and submissive. I have donkeys and horses and elephants and giraffes and I am an expert in animal husbands and wives. If you tie a rope around an animal’s neck, it will follow you everywhere. And so that is why they want us to wear the neck tie so that they can pull us around and lecture us about Mickey Mouse human rights, Mickey Mouse democracy and Mickey Mouse good governance. They even respect the animals more than they respect us. In fact, from now on, no more English and no more neck ties in this country. And whoever dares to mention the words human rights or democracy will go to hell faster than a horse can run.” Mickey Mouse paused, waiting for the usual applause but only one or two weak claps sounded across the room. In spite of themselves, the ministers were dumbfounded by the idea of banning English and using local languages for governance purposes. Something was just not right about this Mickey Mouse idea. Moreover, most of them were wearing neck ties. Some reached instinctively up to loosen their ties, pull them off their heads and fling them on the floor. Others felt as if they would melt into thin air and were drenched with cold sweat.
Savoring the fear he had just injected into the hearts of his ministers, Mickey Mouse resumed his rant. “The Mickey Mouse west opens its big mouth and tries to lecture me about the independence of the judiciary. Well let me tell them something. There is no independence of the judiciary in my country. If they want to try their Mickey Mouse independence of the judiciary, let them remove one of the wheels from their car and try to drive it at 100 miles per hour. They will then know what their Mickey Mouse independence of the judiciary will do to them.” Happy that the rant has moved away from the thorny issue of banning English and neck ties, the ministers jumped to their feet and gave Mickey Mouse a standing ovation sprinkled with loud shrieks of hear hear truth truth! Mickey Mouse maintained his stony face and stiff whiskers as the applause subsided and the ministers dropped back into their seats like heavy bags of sand.
“They also open their big mouths and call me dictator. Yes, I am proud to be a dictator because I am not a follower. I am a leader and I am a bloody dictator of the developmental kind; the kind that knows everything about development even before they were born. If they don’t like it they can go to hell. And if they are thinking of coming back to colonize us again, I will tell them that will only happen over my dead and rotten body. That’s all I have to say and I want all of you to go back to your offices and work like donkeys. If they think that donkeys are better than us, we will show them we can work as hard as donkeys if not even harder.”
After another round of muted applause, the ministers sat still until His Mouthy Lousy the Poxident, Snooty Largy Dotty Mickey MMM Mousey vacated his seat and disappeared in a huff into his secret door, the one he had built just in case he needed to escape from some Mickey Mouse bandit out to get him. As he scurried away, he cast an angry glance at one of the ministers who did not clap or shout loud enough. A few hours later, the minister was fired, arrested and charged with giving false information to a public official. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor without the possibility of parole.
“…the ministers sat in their places and fawned and clapped and boogie-boogied, competing over who was first to hit their palms together at the puppet master’s incoherent rants.”
“A few hours later, the minister was fired, arrested and charged with giving false information to a public official. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor without the possibility of parole.”
Like Aesop’s fables, your lines trigger an exhorcism in an observer’s mind. Every Gambian has to read them to tune to the music of the day back home. You know Baba, when I was in middle school around 1994, the Daily Observer used to quote Aesop quite often. A quick part of the paper was specifically designed for it called, “Aesop’s Fable of the Day”. And you were, I guess, Editor-in-Chief or one of the editorial luminaries then.
Satirically succinct and relevant to the understanding of the madness of Yahya Jammeh…left me amazed and enlightened…good job!