The next morning everyone woke up to the reprise of the Zimbi national anthem, whiffling out of their radios. It was repeated again and again. There were puzzled questions on the lips of everyone: What is going on? Is the Head of State dead? Has there been a coup?
Angelina’s husky handsome voice had answered these questions on the dot of seven o’ clock:
‘My fellow Countrywomen and Countrymen, I Ms Angelina Philomena, announce on behalf of the 20,000 strong Zimbi League of Prostitutes that there has been a coup. Let me hasten to say that this is not a military coup. It is a coup by us members of the League of Prostitutes. And as you all know we are civilians and not soldiers. And as a matter of course, we are women. But above all, we are citizens of this country, your compatriots. I do not want to parrot everything the soldiers who had been commandeering power in this country had done to death already. The alibi of corruption, bad government, and the magic wand of messianism they always waved to hoodwink everyone.
‘We the League of Prostitutes have seized power to rid the country of the rapacious soldiers. These unscrupulous men have long deceived us. I do not want to go over the tyrannism of the late Head of State, General Kwabacha, but I shall tell you so much as that we are compiling the list of people he killed during his reign of terror. The list is exhaustive. We have been able to list 30,000 names. We are happy tell you that the dictator is now dead. 186 senior officers have also been killed. These were the worst specimen of men you could find anywhere. They were alike greedy, thieving, licentious and all morally bankrupt. Since the language the soldiers understand is that of force and coercion, I had sent out some of the members of the league to train in the usage of some basic arms, these women have performed remarkably in containing smaller officers and soldiers who wanted to stop us from carrying out what I consider our yeowomen role of unseating the evil junta. But at any rate, the Generals were overcome with something more effective and certain than guns. Let us, in the meantime, call what we did Operation Delilah.
‘In due time we shall make open to everyone how your former leaders and generals met their end, we promise to release the film for general consumption, though the pictures will certainly carry an over-18 warning.
‘I wish to tell everyone to remain cool and calm. We pledge to protect the lives of everyone as best as we can. We are not soldiers, I must repeat, so we do not want anyone to consider this a coup, at least not a military coup... Perhaps a civic coup, if you like. However, we do not intend to hand over power to the so-called civilians anytime soon – they have proved themselves no better than soldiers.
‘While I do not deny that it is democratic and altruistic motives that we had in toppling the late government, I would like to say that we will remain in power for some time. We shall not relinquish power until we are certain most things have been put right. Call it Dictatorship of Prostitutes if you like, but we, the League of Prostitutes, are offering every citizen of Zimbi an ample opportunity to partake of the governing of the country which belongs to us all. We are going to run an open government, with more women playing significant roles than men. We are not anti-men at all, but I believe even men would agree with me that women have not been given enough legroom on the political ground. Now women need more than a footing, more than a foothold. For now, let us consider the body-politic as a political animal with four legs, women being the head and front legs of the quadruped and men taking the hindmost, the rump.
‘Before I end this short speech I wish to tell all doubting Thomases that their ears are not deceiving them, I think we had all better become Mary Magdalenes – I mean in her being more credulous than Thomas Didymus. We members of Zimbi League of Prostitutes, formerly known as Association of Zimbi Prostitutes, have seized power from the military men you all used to know yesterday. I reiterate that we are prostitutes, whores if you please - we do not, and shall not, pretend to being nuns. We are women a lot of people believe are saddled with easy virtue. Which is all very well, our easy virtue has put us in good stead to help get rid of the evil we used to know yesterday. Call us Jezebels if you like, but in a modest way I see myself - as well as my lieutenants - playing the role of the person, or the prostitute, who drops the rope of hope down the slippery wall, the rope my people would use to climb into the snuggery of self-sufficiency and happiness, of freedom and civility.
‘I do not intend to go further than to stress that though we are as proud as ever of what we do, or used to do, for the sake of mere etiquette we would like to be seen, at least for now, as the Amazonian Council. The Council will consist of twelve members, all women of course. Although I envisage some cynics who might describe our government as ‘petticoat,’ that is the only alternative we can provide now. The names of the members will be announced in due course.
The whole country was stunned by this strange takeover of government, and now several months into the pornocratic government there is still some astonishment among the people of the country, and most have now concluded that the prostitutes must have also used witchery as spiritual stilts on which to balance their well-used bodies, which was why they seemed to have stridden into power almost effortlessly.
‘They are witches,’ people now whisper, and for this reason, more than for being admitted whores, the women-rulers do command awe-inducing reverence and even fear. It was the combination of sorcery and sex that they used to wrest power from the soldiers, the word goes round. These speculations are not helped by the decision made by the new women leaders not to release the ‘pictures’ they promised - for ethical reasons.
And there is now a sort of Laputan arguments among the country’s intelligentsia as to whether the time these women ruled should go down in history, or herstory, as gynaecracy, or petticoatery, or pornocracy, or even as pornotopia. The whore-rulers themselves do not mind how they are described in history books, they have come to rid the country of bad military rulers, who were incidentally all men, and that is all there is to it. And more than all, they were women before they were whores, and are still women now. Since they truly do not intend to steal anything while in power, many are still imagining becoming madams when they finally give up power - the Vice Chair of Amazonian Council has indeed expressed this wish.
One tart-tongued social commentator had cracked to his friends when he read about the deputy’s retirement plans: An old soldier never dies, an old vernacular proverb whose profound irony was only too cloudy to the commentator when he dropped the one-liner. A young, daring Zimbi - or Xollywood - filmmaker has also tried her best to capture what might have happened behind closed doors when the ancien régime led by General Kwabacha was toppled. Some of what you have been reading is her imaginative sketch of the event. The picture has not yet been shot, though.