19 November 2006

Captain Solo and General 'Fidy'

Democracy sometimes relies on the complete incompetence of its opponents.
One morning in Lusaka I was woken up by my dad, "Hey, get up there's a coup on." So I woke up, turned on the TV and there was a message flashing saying that the country had been taken over by the military and there was a curfew. Since we lived near the mass media complex (yes there was only one TV channel) we heard what sounded like machine gun fire as well. Rumours abounded that somebody from the military called 'Captain Solo' (no I'm not making this up) had taken over the country. After 3 hours or so the vice-President of Zambia, 'Grey Zulu' (no I'm not making this up either) came on TV, he looked shaken up, white as a ghost, with eyes darting all around, and sweating a flood said, "Don't worry, there was a coup attempt but it has been foiled. The perpetrators have been captured. We are still looking for Captain Solo. The president is safe, you are all safe." Well we didn't feel very safe after watching this guy's performance on TV, but were happy that things seemed to get back to normal. The whole story came out during the next few weeks. Apparently a few army soldiers including Captain Stephen Lungu (aka Captain Solo) had decided to take over the country. Their plan consisted of taking over the Presidential palace (and capturing the president) and also taking over the mass media complex so they could get on radio and TV that a coup had happened. They were able to take over the TV station but not the presidential palace because patriotic elements of the army parked a couple of tanks in front of the president's place. Anyway the loyal troops got to the mass media complex and captured all the guys except Captain Solo. He was later found hiding in a dustbin (garbage can for the Americans). There is an epilogue to this, the coup plotters were all jailed. After a few years a bunch of Ukranians got thrown in jail as well for overflying a sensitive military institution. Then Captain Solo and company were back in the news complaining that the Ukranians were too strong for them and treated them badly and ate all their food and so on. Actually I don't know what happened to them, I think the Ukranians were eventually deported, and the coup people were sentenced to death. I don't know if it was actually carried out.

The other day, in Madagascar, a general called 'Fidy', no relation to 50 cent (pronounced fidy cent in some circles), told the army to take over. The president, who was flying around, had his plane redirected to another airport. Apparently Fidy had some issues with not being able to run for President in the upcoming elections. Anyway the army said, "General Who?" and could not understand why he was telling them to take over so the civvies are still in control.

Lucky for Zambia and Madagascar that these clowns are so incompetent. Imagine if they knew a little bit of what they were doing, we'd have been plunged into warring factions like Somalia and other such tin pot countries.

...in other news 7 days to my thesis due date and 21 days to my defense... woohooo! This place is almost Doctor Warrier's Kraal!


NeelimaP said...

Sometimes being incompeteant is a good thing. History is full of these clowns who don't know what they are doing and what they want except that they want to cause inconvenience.

video said...

Good luck with the defense. After PhD, what's next????

lova said...

" 50 cent" would have been more credible as putchist than Fidy and Solo :)
Bad times ahead for Fidy...probably as bas as Solo's fate. Not to say that the guys in place now are lighting it up either :(

Anonymous said...

The title of the post sounded like that of a comic strip :P
Captain Victory and Galactic Rangers...or something to that effect!

Good luck for the thesis-defence .. (Dr.) Mos :)

Onkar said...

Best of luck for your submission.

Anonymous said...

The coup thing must have been pretty scary at the time. Interesting how it can sound so calm and interesting looking back at it.

Good luck with your defense!!

Mosilager said...

Thanks all... unfortunately I spoke too soon and unavoidable circumstances have dictated the postponement of the defense to early next year.

Anali - it's wasn't so scary actually, was kind of exciting at the time, of course I was too young to understand the implications (violence etc.).

Siddhu said...

Ranjit, that was scary man! Though the story of the President (read PM, in this case) not being allowed to touch down at the airport seems rather familiar. *hint hint - The Good General*

I wonder where General Fiddy got the idea from, then ;)

Mosilager said...

yeah... birds of a feather and all that. but at least mush had the support of the whole army before he made his move... solo and fidy were lone rangers.

Crizzie Criz! said...

Mos, this aint about your post. Just try a malayala blog which i think is incredible. INCREDIBLE, i say. Just thought of you when i saw it some time back. thanks to my memory power, i never got a chance to say till now.


I fell in love with it. Very good chance you might too! You take care!

Anonymous said...

From the title and the pic, i thought the post is a comic strip related one..:)

Anonymous said...

Captain Solo, Grey Zulu, Fidy!
I really thought you were kidding!