There was a loud hush across the court room as I stepped into the docket to defend myself. I do not remember that last time I smiled, for life had not given me too many chances to do so but here I was smiling sheepishly to the judge as he asked me whether there was anything I had to say before my sentencing since I had opted for no lawyer to defend me during this trail. Aside politicians, lawyers were the next people I loathed with a passion. How they can insist something is white when we all see is as black and still get away with this baffles me. Moreover the more money you have the more convincing your lawyer is and so someone will steal five fingers of plantain and get sentenced to 5 years in prison whilst our politicians steal our monies and go scot free. And so with a little shivery but firm voice these were my words before the sentencing.
‘Your Honor, I can still feel my hand still vibrating from the slap I gave the Member of Parliament on his face that floored him. For some awkward reason the accompanying pain in my knuckles feels sensational. All the anger that has built up within me over the years found an outlet and indeed it was unfortunate that it had to be his face. I can sense the surprise look on your faces but I think it was just the right time to put him in his place. I am old and may not understand your modern ways of life but I will not sit down any longer and see a small boy in the name of politics literally hang the under pants of his mother on a pole, fly it at full mast at the market place with pride, call his father impotent and expect people like me to clap for him. Nonsensical nonsense!! Your honor, pardon my French expression.
Your honor, I have served this country with my sweat and blood. At age 18 I was drafted into the army to go to fight in the world war. My testicles were pinched hard every week for a month to make sure I had no hernia and I was fit for battle before we were shipped of like a tin of sardines. Lives were lost on our way to India by ship and I saw friends’ dead bodies tossed overboard into the sea without paying them homage.
|When we got to India, rumours went round among the Indians that we are cannibals, chop people and have tails So when we went to bathe in the streams, people asked us not to take our pants off in case they would be frightened by our tails. I survived all the derogatory names that came as a result of these rumours. In the Burmese jungle there was something we called tiger leech. It’s very small, very thin. If it gets to your body it sucks your blood and get bigger and bigger. So we used a cigarette end or a match on the under of that thing to take its fangs out. But if you don’t do that, but just pull it off, the fangs will stay within your body, rot in your skin and go bad – very bad.’
If you are in a war you forget everything. There was no time to pray. This jungle war was not a child’s play – it was something very dangerous, I have seen friends and acquaintances die with their intestines gushing out as though we are at an abattoir. I have choked on and somehow lost my sense of smell because of my exposure to the stench of burnt decomposing human flesh and lead that tore ones nose away from the freedom of fresh air. Experiencing war makes you a different person. You leave behind every civilian attitude, every gentle attitude that you ever had. You forgot … everything. After the war, they did not let us come home straight away. They gave us two good months, with money, to go to any part of India. It was something to refresh us, to let us come back to a human being. An action I still up till now do not understand.
Your Honor, when I came back, all the remunerations that were to be paid us were never paid. To make matters worse my wife whom I had married before my enlistment left me for Efo Dzidefo the corn mill operator behind the cathedral because she could not stand my screaming at night due to the nightmares. To make myself employable, I worked as a laborer on farms and paid for numerous private teachers to teach me
I have been called hideous names and hear rumours about myself that I knew nothing of and surprises me like a mouse caught in a trap just because of a bait of roasted fish head yet I have never for once reacted violently towards anyone in this community. But alas, your honor, the actions of the MP over the years has become the blisters on the soles of my feet that had dragged patience off my bed. I have seen governments come and go, I have met minister and MPs from different regimes but honestly speaking, the disrespect of this young man who can be my great grandson not only towards me but towards this entire community stinks like the flatulence of a pregnant woman who has had her fair share of boiled beings with egg and washed it down with a snack of ‘wagashi’ and ‘di na ta’ milkshake. Last election he promised to make sure the local LA school was fixed and stocked with the relevant textbook, he promised to make sure the was a scholarship for brilliant students from this village, he promised to fix the road for us and make sure we had good drinking water if we voted him as our MP. Me I do not trust him oooh because aside all the empty promises all he brought to us solicit for our votes was four bars of key soap. Your honor, four bars of keysoap for a community of four hundred people. After he won the elections, ask him when the last time he came here was or whether we have seen the shadows of his promise?
Now that it is time for another election he rides in his big car into this community that breastfed him into who he is, choking us with clouds of dust and comes blinking like a malfunctioning disco watch to solicit for votes.
Your honor if you are working very hard to look after a lean man who says he is a sickling and this man begins to win snoring contests against the plump you at night, then something is wrong somewhere. I do not regret slapping him. At age 88 there are quite a number of thing I regret in life but not slapping the idiot. In fact, If I get the chance again I will slap him or any other politician that takes the citizenry for granted. I am tired of all this nonsense and so your honor If you will sentence me make sure it is to death because at least there I will have my piece of mind.’