Reactivated Atcheya!


With Richard Chirombo:

Frank Naligonje, known as Atcheya in the arts circles, knows nothing better than entertaining people.

Of course, he does so at the expense of someone else: Atcheya, former president Bakili Muluzi, kumtunda!


Now, Muluzi being someone who was/is good at joking, Naligonje — Atcheya of the arts stage— could not have settled for a better ‘candidate’.

Just that, in doing what Naligonje jokes at the joker’s expense. A feat.

It could be that, one day while sleeping on a mat— before he graduated to a single bed then double bed— Naligonje dreamt of a land of milk and honey.


Well, as it turned out, whoever appeared in Naligonje’s dream meant to say the ‘[performance] stage’. That is Naligonje’s land of milk and honey.

Naligonje, feeling strongly that he wanted to remain unsullied from problems that come with failure to make ends meet, ‘jumped’ on the back of Atcheya, who, after 2004, retreated to BCA Hill, where he eats gwape meat every now and then.

You see, when he was at Sanjika Palace, Atcheya-the-former-State-president, fell in love with gwape meat, so much so that, every now and then, he would demand “my gwape meat!”

The truth is that Sanjika Palace had loads of such creatures— I mean, gwape— and the staff at Sanjika Palace would immediately rush into the environs – Sanjika premises that is— and jump at the nearest gwape. Ha!Ha !Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!H a!Ha!Ha!

Without doubt, there are people with scars in the hands and legs, apparently after being ‘dribbled’ past by a gwape. Holy gwape! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha! Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!

Well, Atcheya-the-former- State-president still eats gwape.

But, then, Atcheya-the-presidential-mimicker [Naligonje] has turned Atcheya-the-former-State-president’s voice into a kind of money-churning gwape.

Yes, he ‘makes’ money mimicking Atcheya.

Of course, at a cost.

Atcheya-the-presidential-mimicker has learned, the hard way, that it pays to pretend to be Atcheya-the-former-State-president— but only in periods when national elections are not at a stiffing distance.

When elections are around the corner, hokoyo!

That is what Naligonje, also known as Atcheya-the-presidential-mimicker, has learned the hard way.

Well, I met with Naligonje on Saturday. I am talking of the Saturday before the one we will embrace tomorrow.

The scene was Blantyre and Atcheya was smiling.

“Why are you smiling?” I said.

Before he could respond, he said: “Let us take a selfie!”

Well, his mobile gadget’s memory was full. So, we could not take a selfie. Perhaps he was playing games with me!

Whatever! He managed to answer my question: “I have been hibernating,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

To which he responded: “You know we had elections. One would not go around, perhaps in strongholds of other political parties [and not the United Democratic Front, which Atcheya-the-former- State-president represented], and mimic Atcheya. We still have people who believe that we, presidential mimickers, are partisan. Far from it. We are entertainers. So, putting such folks in mind, I could not risk it. Who wants to be ‘smoked out’?”

He then burst into laughter.

He is free now, now that the elections are as dead as May 21 2019.

Free at last! Free at last!

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