According to the Oxford Advanced Dictionary, satire is "an attack on foolish or wicked behaviour, by making fun of it, often through the use of sarcasm and parody (amusing imitations presented in an exaggerated way)." In Zambia, the British-born Roy Clarke is reportedly one of the best satirists the country has fielded recently.
The only trouble, it seems is that Clarke, a white man of foreign origin, has stepped hard on the toes of some very sensitive government officials--mainly home affairs minister Lt-Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha and his permanent secretary Peter Mumba, whom it seems, are not going to allow the happy-go-lucky sexagenarian scribe to bite off more than he can chew. They are gunning for his deportation from Zambia.
As we went to press, The Zambia High Court had granted Clarke a reprieve against his deportation, allowing him to come out of "hiding" until his case is heard again before Judge Philip Musonda, whose decision will finally seal Clarke's fate at a date yet to be set.
Clarke's deportation was first announced on 5 January this year. Five days later, Zambia's National Mirror newspaper reported the "disappearance" of Roy's wife, Sarah, a gender and feminist activist. "We do not know where our mother has hidden," Clarke's children moaned "and she obviously vanished from home because her life is at risk".
On 6 January, Shikapwasha told Zambia's Post newspaper: "We will eventually get him [Roy Clarke] because he cannot hide forever in a small country like Zambia. Mr. Clarke will not have more than 24 hours in this country. He does not need to be in Zambia where he considers us to be animals. Therefore the word is deportation."
At the heart of the matter is the New Year's Day article entiltled "Mfuwe", which Clarke wrote in the "The Spectator", his weekly political column in the independent Post newspaper--the country's most widely read independent daily edited by Fred Mmembe, himself no stranger to confrontation with Zambian authorities who have taken him to court on countless times for defamation.
Pretending to be writing from Mfuwe--Zambia's magnificent game and safari park situated in the Eastern province--Clarke used animal characters--elephant. monkeys, giraffes and baboons--in a satirical commentary akin to the country's current economic, social and political circumstances. Poking fun at the "Great Elephant" (widely identified as President Levy Mwanawasa), Clarke wrote: "He lumbered out of the...