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He lumbered out of the state lodge, staggered towards the massive wooden chair that had been made ready for him, and fell backwards into it. His dishevelled safari suit was unbuttoned, and his huge belly hung over his trousers. In front of him sat all the assembled animals of Mfuwe, waiting for the Great Elephant Muwelewele to begin his Christmas Message.

'Distinguished elephants, honourable hippos, mischievous monkeys, parasitic politicians, bureaucratic buffaloes, and other anonymous animals,' he began, 'I have just returned from one of my very brief visits to Lusaka, in order to be with you at this time of celebration. My message to you is that the last year has been a resounding economic success, and Mfuwe has never been more prosperous!'

'Ee ee eeyee,' squealed the monkeys, dancing around in circles, and waggling their bottoms, each painted with a picture of the Great Elephant.

'When I was elected,' continued Muwelewele, 'I promised that only those constituencies that voted for me would see development. That is why Mfuwe is the only constituency that has seen development.'

'Iwe wakhonza!' shouted the crowd.

'All the humans in the rest of this country refused to vote for me, so they have had no share in our marvellous development!'

'Chabwino!' shouted the crowd.

'It was only you, my friends from the game park, who went out there and brought in twenty-nine percent of the vote. The snakes of the Shushushu slithered into the ballot boxes and stuffed them with votes. The horrible hyenas were our trusted party cadres who chased away the opposition voters. Our reliable rhinos moved the polling stations to unknown places in the forest. And our merry monkeys played hide and seek with the voters cards!'

'Hurray!' laughed the crowd. 'The law of the jungle!'

'So now the MMD is the Movement for Mfuwe Development. All my development programmes are located in Mfuwe, and all my appointments have been from amongst you. The previous government would not put you in government, saying you were just monkeys and crocodiles, who shouldn't be given the vote.'


'But I have changed all that. I have nominated hippos to parliament, and made them my ministers! I have appointed jackals as my district administrators, and put the long-fingered baboons in charge of the treasury. I have put the knock-kneed giraffe in charge of agriculture, the hungry crocodile in charge of child welfare, and the red-lipped snake in charge of legal reform. And best of all, the pythons are now fully employed, squeezing the taxpayers!'

'One family one government!' cheered the crowd. 'One hippo one minister!'

'Our beloved Mfuwe,' said Muwelewele solemnly, 'is now a state within the state. We control everything in the rest of the country. Everything is now run for our benefit. I am pleased to report that the past year has been the best ever. Just as the others are becoming thinner, so we in the game park are becoming fatter. As hospitals fall down in the rest of the country, so we are building veterinary clinics all over Mfuwe.'

'Wehwehweh!' squeeled the baboons, running up to the Great Elephant and showing him their big red bottoms.

'I am truly overwhelmed by this show of affection,' said the Great Muwelewele, holding his handkerchief to his nose.

'Education is another of our great success stories,' continued Muwelewele.

'The heartless humans built schools and universities for themselves, but provided absolutely nothing for the animals in Mfuwe. We are now reversing this situation. By closing these schools we now have the funds to send our monkeys abroad to Harvard. They are studying for MBAs, degrees in Manipulating Budget Allocations.

'Just as employment is falling rapidly amongst the humans, so it is increasing rapidly here in Mfuwe. Just as factories are closing in the remainder of the country, so they are increasing here. I have declared Mfuwe a tax-free zone, and our new manufacturing industry will soon be exporting directly to South Africa. A new bridge across the Luangwa is already under construction for this purpose.'

'Our Saviour,' shouted the crowd. 'A new Saviour is born! A New Deal! A New Direction! Let's roast a few street kids, and have a real feast!'The jumbo glided to a halt at Lusaka International Airport. Out came the Great Leader Muwelewele, lumbering down the steps like an elephant. A reporter managed to thrust a microphone in front of him.

'Your Divine Majesty, how did you enjoy your holiday in Mfuwe?'

'What!' exploded the Great Leader, his face turning purple with rage. 'I was not on holiday! This was a very busy working trip, to look at current economic developments in Mfuwe, which has been privatised. Shoprite has already bought the place, and they are busy putting in an abattoir and meat processing factory. We are already building the bridge across the Luangwa, for direct export of game meat to South Africa!'