Today I did my share
In building a nation
I drove a Permanent Secretary
To an importantt urgent function
In fact, to a luncheon at the Vic
The menu reflected its importance
Cold Bell beer with small talk
Then friend chicken with niceties
Wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs
Ice cream to cover the stereotype jokes
Coffee to keep the PS awake on the return journey
I drove the Permanent Secretary back
He yawned many times in the back of the car
Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked me
Did you have any lunch friend?
I replied while looking straight ahead
And secretly smiling at his belated concern
That I had not but was slimming down.
Upon which he said with a seriousness
Which amused me more than it annoyed me
Mwananchi, I too had none!
I attended to the matters of the state
Highly diplomatic duties you know
And friend, it goes against my grain
Causes me stomach ulcers and wind
Ah, he continued, yawning again
The pains we suffer in building the nation.
So the PS had ulcers too?
My ulcers, I think are equally painful
Only they are caused by hunger
Not sumptous lunches!
So two nation builders
Arrived home this evening
With terrible stomach pains
The result of building the nation -
----- Please note that the above poem is by Henry Barlow, not Martha Leah Zesaguli (Nangalama)