On being presented with the document that had now assumed a new identity of “the infamous letter”, the only visible evidence of Professor Mpandadzina’s glee was the squinting of his eyes and the almost imperceptible smile in the corners of his lips. The ever-resourceful Nasibeko had produced the letter as evidence during a strongly contested bawo game between the Bigi Kahuna and Abiti Mwenye. The debate that ensued as Bigi Kahuna forced Abiti Mwenye into kutakata once more was as fierce as the bawo game itself, so much so that only the ants and the flies were enjoying their invasion of the sour brew that had been left unattended as both players and spectators got more and more engrossed in the game.
According to Nasibeko, it was not disputed that Amai was still in charge of the mess and the disarray that was sweeping the country. That was well established. For hadn’t Amai herself taken to every anthill, podium and microphone to assure Malawians that she had not resigned and that she was very much in control? What was curious and the cause for heated debate was the existence of the resignation letter. Who had written it, with what intention, and why was there in circulation so many stories regarding its existence? Some sided with Amai’s weak explanation of the existence of the letter, insisting that it was Amai’s detractors that had written it with no other reason other than to claim the coveted title of being the ultimate confusionists- as Amai had called them.
Some pointed to the UDF party operatives aiming to disturb Amai in the belief that disturbing Amai in this way would somehow bring some advantage to their fledgling candidate, Watele Buluzi. There were many theories.
The Chief Mourner observed the debate with undivided interest, and stepped in just as it began to look like Magede si Wandale would come to blows against Patseni Mauka because of the fierceness of their disagreement regarding the letter and its authorship.
It was to the relief of everyone present that the Chief Mourner announced that, with the proliferation of theories and hypotheses, suppositions and assumptions as to what the true story behind Amai’s resignation letter could be, the Bawo Club had, with the help of Gogo Sinsamala, procured the services of that eminent scholar from the University of Mpatse Abwile, Professor Mpandadzina to examine the infamous document, subject is to scholarly scrutiny, end all speculation on the matter and usher in a resemblance of peace, quiet and sanity to the club, as the Bawo Club had suddenly become a melting pot of rumour, conjecture and innuendo ever since Nasibeko produced the letter.
The Chief Mourner had promptly invited the Bigi Kahuna, the Wise One From the East, Dr Alberto Murius, and the media, led by that fearless journalist Patseni Mauka and indeed all Bawo Club members to underline the solemnity of this significant occasion.
* * *
Professor Mpandadzina’s verdict was as powerful as it was surprising. In subjecting the offending document to a series of strenuous scientific tests to get to the bottom of its authorship and all other circumstances surrounding its existence, Professor Mpandadzina had even drafted in the services of a forgery and handwriting expert, the forensic scientist known as Nganga Bulawayo. Mpandadzina was now ready to announce his findings.
“Ladies and gentlemen”, commenced the gifted professor. “After comprehensive and thorough analysis of this document, I can declare to you that the biggest traitors in this saga are a faulty shredder and ESCOM. According to my analysis, the author was none other than Amai herself. In my investigation, I was able to establish that in the heat of the civil servants’ strike and the shortage of drugs in hospitals and all the other pressures of the high office, Amai had indeed made a decision to resign and had written the letter.
“This decision had, however, been rescinded because of the strong resistance from within the administration. Amai had therefore directed that the letter be shredded, and that she would soldier on. Unfortunately, the State House shredder had broken down and repairmen were even that very evening repairing the buggered contraption. Unfortunately, before the machine could be fixed and the document shredded to erase all evidence of Amai’s momentary intention to throw in the towel, ESCOM effected yet another load shedding exercise.
“It was during the ensuing blackout, and while State House technicians were trying to switch on the state house generator that Laughter Kambala, who had obviously been present to give legal advice regarding the resignation, snatched the offending letter and disappeared into the darkness. As for the restoration of power, Amai is still yet to fire the officer responsible as it turned out there was no fuel to run the generator and she was forced to sit in Koloboi-light for some considerable time.
“It was later established by Gogo Sinsamala, disguised as usual as a State House cook, that Kambala had given the letter to Khambi Kathyali,” Continued Professor Mpandadzina. “Kambala used the letter as laverage to repair his broken friendship with Kathyali with whom he had fallen out over their fight s on various issues. Kathyali did not hesitate to leak the letter, as he thought it was a perfect way of piling the heat on Amai and encouraging the apparently already high blood pressure.”
Gogo Sinsamala spoke briefly to support the professor’s report, adding that the search was still underway for the laundry brave enough to take on the unenviable challenge of washing Laughter Kambala’s suits, which were now even more sweaty after it had come to light that he was once again responsible- along with ESCOM and the faulty Shredder, for Amai’s gross embarrassment.