Relax, have a banana!

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All the signs of a banana republic are there. And they are being confirmed on a daily basis.

First, the prime minister closes parliament and takes the key with him on a trip to Africa at a time when it has just opened after an election held at the beginning of November. He adds a layer by pompously declaring, without blinking, that he does not want parliament to sit in his absence. Period. Forget the constitution, forget all the urgent issues. Forget all the challenges the country is facing. Take another holiday after a holiday. The deputy prime minister, or even number three in government in case the latter is absent, cannot be trusted with chairing parliamentary debates. When the owner of the country is not around, he keeps all his belongings under lock and key until he comes back. End of the conversation. Move on, nothing to see here!

Notice that there is not a whimper of protest from those whose dignity must have been hit by such a decision. They are happy to grit their teeth and swallow their pride to keep all the trappings and comforts of power. As for the other MPs, please don’t disturb them. They are very busy getting used to the new cars they rushed to acquire and making sure that those who paid for them recognise their personalised licence plates as they are driven to the tramway station for a photo op and picked up at the other end in time to display their fake modesty on their Facebook pages!

Then the newly-nominated and party man president, a ceremonious rubber stamp post with no power or any urgent responsibilities, has already fallen into the trap of some notorious politicians. He moves around with such security detail that you’d think the whole world is out to get him. Every trip he undertakes looks as if he was heading for the most urgent meeting to decide the fate of the country. Sirens at full blast, cars preceding and following the cortege and motorcycle cops zooming past at full speed and clearing the road of all unimportant motorists for the great passage of the super gods. This is at times done with no consideration for the safety of other less important motorists. 

“When decorum and a sense of reality have been consumed by huge egos, we are indeed knee-deep in a banana republic.”

We knew it was only a question of time before a serious accident happened. And lo and behold, this week, a police rider clearing the road for the president and an innocent car driver were involved in a serious accident and both are in hospital, with the cop having incurred serious injuries. You will however be pleased to know that the president has reached home safe and sound, did not have to put up with any traffic jams and may have saved a few minutes thanks to the good efforts of the guy now fighting for his life in hospital. 

While this is going on, there is nothing to worry about. The coronavirus is never going to get to our shores as we have super humans dealing with it in the most professional way and the impact this will have on the world economy will not make a dent in ours; no more nominations of incompetent, partisan cronies and turncoats at the heads of our supposedly independent institutions with astounding salaries and scrumptious fringe benefits; drugs have been exterminated and everything we hear from those in the field are lies by anti-patriots; this week, no one died of an overdose; all the death peddlers have been annihilated merely through stating and repeating on the MBC channel the intention of doing so; women are not being beaten and killed on a daily basis in front of onlookers; our public debt is not alarming; there is no problem with the law and order situation; our economy is better than it has ever been under any government; our parastatal bodies have not registered a debt of more than Rs30 billion…

All is well, I am telling you! As long as those in power are treating the country as if it were their own private property, what is there to moan about?

When decorum and a sense of reality have been consumed by huge egos, we are indeed knee-deep in a banana republic.

For more views and in-depth analysis of current issues, Weekly magazine (Price: Rs 25) or subscribe to Weekly for Rs110 a month. (Free delivery to your doorstep). Email us on: [email protected]

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