Preparing for a family coup

2008-09-01 00:00

I am not a football commentator, a coach or a sangoma but that should not prevent me from presenting my views on the events of the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup.

I predict that in most households there will be coups and counter coups involving the family TV remote control. In our house my wife and six daughters face the danger of finding themselves seated on the opposition benches in our living room while I watch the entire competition.

Having only one TV in my house is giving me sleepless nights. I know that the battle for the remote control will be reminiscent of the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton presidential nomination contest. But knowing that I am a minority in my own house I won’t allow my “Hillary” to call for our “family delegates” to resolve the remote-control battle. I have strong feelings that some of the family are likely to change their tune in favour of my wife and six daughters once they have tasted their breyani.

The other day when I bought our housemaid a chicken take-away, she confessed to me that my wife and six daughters were planning a “Polokwane” to ensure that come 2010 I won’t be the head of the house. Their argument to the “family arbitrators” will be that our only son is old enough to take over the family business and that I should go and manage our family farm in Ilembe at the end of my term in 2009.

I have prepared my defence, stating that I am the only person capable of keeping unity in our family in 2010 and beyond. Should I lose that case, I have another plan. Being not so stupid and not so clever, my plan “B” is to cause a temporary financial crisis that will see the TV being repossessed or unable to tune to “certain” TV channels — except those showing football matches.

And I have made arrangements with my bankers for a loan to pay off my 10-year outstanding lobola balance just to make sure that my in-laws from the Eastern Cape do not arrive in droves during the 2010

Soccer World Cup with demand notes and threats of blacklisting me.

Just like Santana is preparing Bafana Bafana for the big games, I have also started preparing myself.

Being not so stupid and not so clever, I have instructed my lawyer to find a legal loophole in our Constitution and file a court injunction against Eskom, with instructions that for whatever reason, Eskom should not disconnect my lights either for non- payment or for any other reason and that my lawyer should also seek a protection order against the “beast” called power outages for the entire duration of the World Cup.

And I have started feigning sickness at work by coughing continuously whenever we have a staff meeting and so far it’s working wonders. Last week I got a memo from my departmental head asking me to justify why I shouldn’t be sent on compulsory sick leave. I responded by justifying why 2010 would be the ideal time for me to take up the “offer”.

If my sick leave is granted in 2010 I intend to watch all the matches and if my favourite team loses, already I have all the answers as to why a lone striker would have made us win or alternatively give reasons as to why they should have substituted the goalkeeper instead of strengthening the defence.

At the end of the competition I will be back in the office facing my departmental head without any note for my month-long sick leave.

Perhaps I should make an early appointment with the CCMA or hire Fifa boss Sepp

Blatter as my referee to decide whether I qualify for unemployment benefits.

• Tiema Haji M. is a Kenyan journalist based in Durban.

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