Olum: "What is this talk we are hearing about the Americans coming to search for me again?"
Afande Rais President: "Let them come. What is the problem? When Americans come there is money for everybody, you included."



Soldier (Wearing starched well-ironed uniform executes a smart
“Afande Rais President Mweheshimiwa will there be anything
Afande Rais President: “No, that will be all Juma. You may go.”

(The Red Cell Phone rings. Afande Rais President picks up the phone, Waves Jume away): “Olum?”
Olum: “Lamat Cak?”
(The two exchange laughter over the phone)

Afande Rais President: “Olum, no one understands us, eh?”
Olum: “No one. Even my closest people do not understand me.”

Afande Rais President: “It is the same way with me! Even after all these years. We are complex.”
Olum: “Complex?”
Afande Rais President: “That is a good thing.”
Olum: “Yes, complex.”

Afande Rais President: “Twenty-six years!”
Olum: “Twenty-six years for me too.”
Afande Rais President: “We are survivors. Ha,ha,ha,ha!”
Olum: “Survivors! Ho, ho,ho,ho!”

Afande Rais President: “But do you not get tired hiding in the bush all these years knowing many people wish you ill?”
Olum: “Do you not also get tired being president all these years knowing many people wish you ill?”

There is a brief pause. Then suddenly both men burst laughing.

Afande Rais President: “Ha,ha,ha,ha!”
Olum: “Ho,ho,ho,ho!”

Afande Rais President: “I work so hard and yet some of these little people want me to go. They have no vision!”
Olum: “It is the same with me Lamat Cak. It is the same with me. Some
of my men think they can replace me. I had thought Omona understood us.”
Afande Rais President: “Yes, yes, Omona. How long was he with you in the bush?”
Olum: “Twenty-six years, Omona was with me! I had to send him to sleep.”
Afande Rais President: “Yes, I heard.”

Olum: “He was taking this Peace Talks thing seriously!”
Afande Rais President: “Yes. I heard.”
Olum: “He actually thought we were really supposed to surrender. To end everything.”

There is another pause on the line. Again both men burst out laughing.

Afande Rais President: “Ha,ha,ha,ha!”
Olum: “Ho, ho,ho,ho!”
Afande Rais President: “He was very naive.”
There is another pause.
Afande Rais President: “That is a good thing. I mean, it was bad for him.”
Olum: “Yes, very naive.”

Afande Rais President: “You misread him badly, eh, Olum?”
Olum: “You think you know people sometimes. Then they surprise you.”
Afande Rais President: “Even me, sometimes I am still surprised.”
Olum: “But you also had some problems, I hear?”
Afande Rais President: “Yes! A few of my own people also took the Peace Talks seriously.”

Olum: “I like the way you dealt with your people.”
Afande Rais President: “Yes, I had to send one of them away to work overseas. Another one, I made him drink tea.”

Again there is a pause. Again both men burst out laughing.

Afande Rais President: “Ha,ha,ha,ha!”
Olum: “Ho, ho,ho,ho!”

Olum: “Lamat Cak, even here in the bush we have heard about your very
strong tea. I hear people who try it never drink tea again.”
Afande Rais President: “I call it the Final Cup. Ha,ha,ha,ha!”
Olum: “Ho, ho,ho,ho!”

There is a pause.
Olum: “What is this talk we are hearing about the Americans coming to search for me again?”
Afande Rais President: “Let them come. What is the problem? When Americans come there is money for everybody, you included.”
Olum: “But I need better warning….”
There is a pause.
Afande Rais President: “Oh, you are still angry from what happened last
time when America’s former president was leaving office, eh?”

Olum: “Of course! Your called came late. We barely got away.”

Afande Rais President (There is a slight elevation in his tone and hint
of annoyance)
: “Late? You thought I was late? I am General Lamat Cak.
Never late my friend.”
Olum: “You called late on purpose? Why would you ….?”
Afande Rais President: “Think my friend; think. You say you are also a General….”
There is a pause.
Olum: “Ahaaaa! You wanted me to lose some of my men! You thought the
Americans would think there is something funny if me and all my men and
the women and the children escaped. So we had to lose some lives….”
Afande Rais President: “Brilliant, eh? Brilliant, eh?”
Olum: “Super brilliant.”

Afande Rais President: “I am the General of Generals, eh?”
Olum: “Yes, like me.”
Afande Rais President: “Twenty-six years building this country. Now
they want me to go! No gratitude. Where will they find another General
Lamat Cak? They say they will walk to work. They want to drive me from
power. Let them walk until the soles of their shoes wear out!”

Olum: “People like you and I come rarely. So we go rarely. I could be here longer because I am younger….”

Another pause. Afande Rais President liked some of what Olum said; but
he was a sensitive soldier when it came to age. He was about to lose his
temper when there was a knock on the door. Afande Rais President
quickly hides the Red Cell phone inside the top drawer of his desk. Even
his top body guard did not know of the existence of the Red Phone that
had allowed him to speak directly with Olum for years. Likewise, Olum’s
men were not aware of his own Red Cell phone.

Afande Rais President: “Yes, what is it!?”
Juma, the same Soldier wearing the starched well-ironed uniform walks
in and again executes a smart salute: “Afande Rais President
Mweheshimiwa, the Very Important Lady from Washington is calling.”

Afande Rais President (leaps to his feet): “The lady from Washington?
Pumbafu! Idiot! Do not keep her waiting! Bring the phone immediately!”

(Juma the soldier leaves the office to summon Afande Rais President’s
secretary who keeps the Blue Cell Phone reserved for the Big Lady from
Washington. There was also a Gold Cell Phone. That one was meant for the
Big Man himself in Washington. One of these day, Afande Rais President
hoped the Gold phone would also ring. Even just once. If the Big Man did
not win elections, the phone would be reserved for the new Big Man.
There was a very rich man who wanted the Big Man’s job. He heard the Big Man was having money problems for the election. Too bad he could not just order his Central Bank president to release more money like Afande Rais President could do. Afande Rais
President was lost in his train of thoughts when he was startled by a
frantic voice coming from inside his desk drawer. Suddenly, he
remembered Olum. He grabbed the Red Cell phone).

Afande Rais
“Olum, I shall have to call you back. The Big Lady herself
from Washington is calling me. To speak with me from America. From one
General to another, let me call you back!”
(The door opens again and Juma walks in accompanied by the Secretary; he executes a smart salute).

Afande Rais President is on his feet and he snatches the phone from the
: “Madam! Madam! Madam! How are we? How is America!
Ha,ha,ha,ha! How is the Big Man? Ha,ha,ha,ha….”


© 2012 Milton Allimadi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *