From the Editor’s Keyboard

Tonton Laya meets Titkalilu Kaboosha

9 October 2010 at 03:44 | 292 views

By Gibril Gbanabome Koroma,


Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a living or dead person(s) is therefore purely accidental with no malice or contempt intended.

Tonton Laya meets Titkalilu Kaboosha

It’s a sunny day in one of the famous European capitals. A cool breeze is blowing into the palatial office of Tonton Laya, one of the most powerful men in the world. He has a very important meeting with one of his friends, a dictator that had just been overthrown by a military junta in one of the banana republics and is seeking asylum in a neighbouring country.

Yes, the visitor is here. Tonton’s secretary, Doris, ushers the former president into the office and quickly withraws, leaving the two men to themselves. Tonton rushes forward and wraps his sad-looking friend in a warm embrace, shakes him vigorously and leads him to one of his comfortable chairs.

Tonton: Oh, Tit, how are you, mate? You look like a sick dog.

Titkalilu: Man, I don’t know what to say, my world is right now upside down. I was lucky to escape with my life.

Tonton: But I was told the junta allowed you to escape in your helicopter.

Titkalilu: Yes, but they took all my money. All my dollars and British pounds that I kept at the house.

Tonton: But how did it all happen? Did you not know about the coup?

Titkalilu: Yes, I knew about it three months ago and I was in fact warned three days before it happened. I thought it was all a joke. I never for one minute thought those boys would do a coup like that. I must have been very naive, man. I am sorry. Maybe I should have listened to my wife and not go into politics.

Tonton: Tut, tut, tut. Lordy, lordy, lordy. What a mess. What are we going to do? My government spent too much money to have you elected; what are we going to do?

Titkaliliu: Well, you have to help me reverse the coup.You have to help restore me back to power if you want all those diamonds, gold and iron ore I promised you.

Tonton: Tut, tut, tut; lordy, lordy, lordy. That would not be easy, but I am going to try. Now listen: I would do the best I can and you have to do the same in your part of the world, especially your country. I am going to mount one of the greatest propaganda machines the world has ever seen to restore you to power because a lot of people are going to be killed and a lot of property will be destroyed. There will be a lot of suffering in your country, mate.People will starve because we will block all food supplies. Reversing a coup is never an easy thing: it needs large amounts of money and very powerful propaganda to get the hearts and minds of people around the world who might be horrified by what we are going to do in your country. My CBB, one of the most powerful radio stations in the world, is going to come in handy. But you have to prepare your people from your exile command post. It’s going to be very hard on them.

Titkalilu: Don’t worry about that, man. We have most of the journalists, trade unionists, civil society, doctors, lawyers, professors, nurses, teachers etc in that country on our side; the few that will oppose us will either be jailed, sent into exile or killed when we get back. We will need a powerful radio station to prepare the people and scare opponents. Anybody that opposes us will be called a rebel or collaborator. That will shut most of them up. Our radio station will be set up soon, with your help of course. We shall pump money into the pockets of friendly journalists and promise them scholarships and fat jobs after we get back. We will be reading the names of those that will oppose us on our radio station day and night. It will work, you will see. Very few people will oppose us even if they want to. They will be too scared.

Tonton: I will not be sending my boys to die in your country for your foolishness, but I will send some mercenaries and lots of weapons. Those junta generals will have no fire power to resist that. But we will need local soldiers and militias to be at the forefront, we don’t want too many casualties for my mercenaries, my people here do not like to see too many body bags to restore a foreign dictator like you. Somebody they don’t even know or care about, especially one that practically asked his army to take power by ignoring several warnings and running away at the first gunshot. Crikey!

Titkalilu: You’re being too hard on me. I trusted those boys, but the blame should go to the IMF who asked me to sack many of them and take away their bags of rice. One of my neighbours, a military ruler, is going to help me with some of his soldiers to take most of the fire from the coupists. This is going to work, I tell you.

Tonton: Okay, I will talk to my European and American friends to help provide money, weapons and talk to all the western media barons to help us. This project is more about propaganda than anything else. The Americans and the CBB are very good at psychological warfare. Oh boy, we are going to give hell to that junta. When we finsh with them they would wish they never overhrew you. But you will need to sign off all your minerals to us for at least 20 years. You will give me and my friends in Europe and America the sole authority to mine your gold, diamonds, iron ore etc. You are going to ask for economic sanctions at the UN which we will endorse and support. That way, nobody will come into the country to bother us. We need to get paid, man. Agreed?

Titkalilu: Oh, sure man. Anything you say.But you emphasize money and minerals too much. What about the noble virtues of democracy, good governance, humanitarianism?

Tonton: You talk about democracy when you are in power, not when you are out of power. This is a business arrangement or deal, mate. I restore you back to power, you pay me, okay? Since you don’t have the cash, we will take the diamonds, gold and anything else. Democracy? Ha ha ha. Now I know why you were overthrown; you are so naive. The Saudi Arabians and your friend Gadafiro are not democrats but we do business with them. We even do business with your terrible friend, th the Naijajerian military thug, Abacoos. We buy his oil at very cheap rates. Democracy, my friend, is a word we use to get what we want. Of course when we start the invasion, we are not going to talk about diamonds, we are going to tell the world that we are doing it for democracy and humanity. Beautiful. Do you understand what I am saying?

Titkalilu: Perfectly.

Tontonton Laya: Good, good, good. Lordy, lordy, lordy. What mess. Tut, tut, tut. Let’s go out for lunch. Oh boy, I love the Third World.