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On the set of ‘Uprising 2012’

It was a daring mission; unprecedented in its audacity and ferocity. At 04.37am, the precision missiles were launched from an unpiloted aircraft flying somewhere over the Ozurenje valley. They swiftly streaked through the fading darkness at almost twice the speed of sound over a distance of 1 955 kilometres, across three countries with coordinates homing in on State House in Sakambe. It was the crack of dawn when Sakambe, the capital city of the Warubwa nation reverberated with the sound of explosion. A people betrayed by their leader had mustered deadly resolve to end the suffering inflicted on their nation for decades. The attack, which had taken three months to plan, was complete in seconds.

Within the first hour of the attack, footage of the rubble was all over international television networks. It was a stupendous sight. A crater now filled the space where Pogaze’s official residence once stood. Speculation was rife. Unconfirmed reports stated that Pogaze was not in residence at the time of the missile attack. It was all but spin from a desperate regime trying to buy time. With help on the ground and inside information from disaffected securocrats, Dunga and Hunda had planned it to perfection. There had been no survivors.

The demise of Pogaze, an outcome which for ten years had eluded the opposition Pact for Leadership Accountability (PLA), had been realised. It had taken all of three weeks from the day the plan was hatched to the hour it was executed. Dunga and Hunda watched the footage grim-faced from a resort somewhere in the Maldives.

“Mission accomplished,” said Hunda, surveying the damage as the CNN cameras panned over the presidential estate, catching glimpses of fires and smoke billowing from the ruin of what had been Pogaze’s official residence.

“I fear for Maxwell and the boys,” continued Dunga momentarily, not knowing whether to be jubilant or afraid. Hunda noticed his compatriot was twitching nervously. He suddenly felt the thudding of his own heart. Short of breath, he rushed to the balcony for some air. It was meant to be an exhilarating moment but strangely enough, it felt very ominous. “We had no choice,” he muttered to himself. “Our people had no choice,” he reassured himself.

In a blinding moment of history, these unassuming young agitators born long after the independence of Warubwa, had become the agents of a new destiny for a nation which for four decades had been stripped of its pride and promise, its dignity and honour by a megalomaniac who had ruled with an iron fist, crushing the hopes and dreams of an entire generation.

One of the very last of Africa’s strongmen, Pogaze had presided over the suffering and starvation of millions of his people. During his reign, six million Warubwians had escaped the country in search of opportunity and a better life in neighbouring Zaneo and Uswana, going as far afield as Eumelia across the great treacherous sea. Two and half million more had fallen to the ravages of Aids and a cholera epidemic of horrendous proportions.

At the height of the humanitarian crisis, the health system had all but collapsed with ordinary people not being able to afford basic medical care. The private clinics that remained operational, had resorted to charging exorbitant fees for treatment in a country where foreign currency was a scarce commodity and inflation had reached stratospheric levels, topping 633 000 000 000% in December 2012 according to official statistics.

The fate of any Warubwian born in the country after 1997 was sealed by the evil politics of Pogaze’s regime. Warubwian schools, which for decades had been the envy of most progressive nations in the world, had ceased to function. Young men who under ordinary circumstances could have achieved so much, were now doomed to a life of hassling, crime and desperation. Those who had managed to leave the country before the economic meltdown spawned by the destruction of private property rights in 1999 to 2004, had for a time continued to prop up the nation through remittances of foreign currency to support their relatives back home.

It was all but unsustainable in the end. Something had to give. A discouraged and decimated generation, which knew not the reality of the territory wars, only had Pogaze and his cohorts to blame for their plummeting living standards. Out of this lot of young and angry men hailed Dunga and Hunda. One was a process engineer, and the other, a banker. For years they had agonised over what could have been their destiny in a prosperous and functional Warubwa state. For years they had staked their hopes with Tyson Malembi’s PLA party. It had become clear that the salvation of their country from tyranny would not come through the PLA. With each day that the crisis remain unresolved, it had become clearer, that salvation could only be attained through blood and sacrifice.

Maxwell and the boys, the mercenaries organised by Dunga and Hunda, were by this time onboard a ship sailing off the Nakimbu coast. They were headed for the offshore rigs anchored 13 nautical miles from Ndaluo from where they carried out their day jobs. In a short space of time, they had become renowned for their clandestine military undertakings more than their oil exploration ventures. The latter had become a mere sideshow. The mercenaries were the designated Plan B. Plan A, the unpiloted aircraft had succeeded.

Within minutes of receiving confirmation of the mission’s success, Max and crew had sped through the sand dunes of the Haripari desert in Land Rover SUVs to a boat crew which anxiously awaited their arrival in Travos Bay.

Meanwhile, back in Warubwa, Sakambe, the capital city, was now in the throes of a full-blown state of chaos. Nothing could have prepared the police state for the daring dawn attack. A state of emergency was declared with breathtaking speed. As residents woke up to prepare for the week ahead, they woke up to the extraordinary spectacle of uniformed generals on what should have been the six o’clock news bulletin.

“At twenty to five this morning, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Warubwa, suffered a missile attack, which intelligence reports have since confirmed was launched from a location outside our borders. State House was completely destroyed in the attack. President Pogaze, our commander in chief, was not in residence at the time of attack. Sadly, however, the staff and royal cadres who served at State House have all perished,” a stout, red-eyed army general intoned.

“To the perpetrators of this most grievous act, we say this: we will hunt you down! We will leave no stone unturned until we are satisfied that we have meted out the full measure of our revenge.”

“To all fellow Warubwians, our country is now at war. All movement in and out the country has now ceased until further notice. There shall be no coming or going for the foreseeable future. You are required to comply with the military authority which has now been deployed to safeguard the safety and security of our nation. A further broadcast shall be made when we have fully determined the next steps. Until then, please do not leave your homes.”

After going through the script, one of the supporting actors walked up to the director saying “it might just be a movie now but should some day, life imitate art, the reality could be far worse”.

Six months later, the production was completed. Early that summer, the posters for Uprising 2012 hit the streets carrying this caption:

“When cowards take to the streets of courage and the hungry no longer seek a meal;
when tyranny will not relent and the brave are revealed;
when the exiles refuse to live in shame and those dictatorship has assailed can no longer run and hide…
only then will the House of Ruins be rebuilt!
Uprising 2012, coming soon to a nation near you!”