Monday, January 17, 2011

The King's Diary: A New Year

A month ago I posted a link to The Choice by Neema Kwamamlaka, a great tongue-in-cheek story about contemporary Tanzanian politics at the very top level. Then Neema came up with a suggestion: how about if she showed us the King's Diary entries every so often? Brilliant. Would I care to host them on the blog? Um. Does a fat man belch?

TMR is happy to introduce to you The King's Diary. This will be a regular feature (time permitting) of the blog, a column in which His Most Excellently Handsome Highness the unnamed King will let us read his intimate thoughts on the trials and tribulations of governing a poor but pretty country somewhere on the East Coast of Africa. I think that he might even be persuaded to answer a question or two from his loyal subjects in the comments section.

The King’s Diaries by Neema Kwamamlaka

Dear Me,

Now that my new year’s resolution is to act more strategically, I have decided to keep a diary. By putting my thoughts to paper, I may be able to think clearer about what my options are.

What a mess I have landed in. Sure, The King’s Party won the elections hands down. This was expected. But what an operation to clean up now that the campaigns are over: promises made to supporters need to be honoured and the opposition party believes it stands a chance to win the next election. On top of that there are demands for a new constitution. I need to manoeuvre carefully if I want to remain where I am now.

Before I strategize on how to deal with the post-election rigmarole, let’s start with a list of what I want to achieve this year:

  1. 1. Stay in power
  2. 2. Become richer
  3. 3. Become an historical figure, admired by its people.

That was easy. I believe that is about it. Now to work!

Obviously the TKP will need to honour promises made in exchange for votes and money during the election campaign. Shop owners need to get something in return for their support to our candidates. But I doubt whether it is wise to oust hawkers from the Empire of the East. Yes they operate illegally. Most do. And of course, they don’t vote, so they are a sitting duck. In fact they are a better target than the ambulant traders who we kicked around after the last election. That cost the TKP a lot of goodwill. Better not to repeat that.

But traders from the Empire of the East have a powerful ally in their government. I do not want to upset our relations just when we are getting along so well. There must be other ways to reward the shop keepers. What, for instance, if the city’s’ infrastructure is improved by building some flyovers? At present the city seems perpetually stuck in a traffic jam. I should be able to sell this idea to the shop owners and create opportunities to make money on the side at the same time! Moreover, if I tell the city authorities to initially put more pressure on the traders and to almost make their business impossible, maybe I could come to their rescue by agreeing with the Empire of the East to make an end to the harassment of their traders in exchange for the flyovers! Sounds like a plan.

Hurray for myself.

20 January 2011


  1. Nice. :-)
    At last, some competition for the great Adam Lusekelo.

  2. Great piece this is!

    This king, smh x ∞

    While reading this I am reminded of the play "Mfalme Juha" by Farouk Topan :D

  3. Maybe he can share notes with that other king down south who also keeps a diary (thought not very often updated):
    When will the king start taking questions?

  4. @Swahili Street, Joji: Pretty good stuff isn't it? Hoping to go weekly if possible.
    @Jetsetter: Thanks for the link! Let me consult His Highness on the Q&A protocals and get back to you.

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