Discussion aired on June 13, 2002 on "Explore Africa", a news show that airs on the African cable news network "ACN".
The commentator is Frederick Mkape, the members of the panel are Nestor Steinle a professor of political science at Victoria University in Arusha and Amane Sumaye, an investigative reporter for the newspaper "The Arusha Daily Post".
commentator: Good day to both of you. Today we will discuss the matter of our esteemed Senate President Taka Khumbartha. He is up for election this year for another 8 years in the Imperial Senate. He was elected with just over 95% of the vote in 1994. Many say that had more to do with the wave of anger at the Social Democrats than it did with him and no one expects him to get above 90% this time. In any event, in his 8 years in office and five years as President, he has become one of the most beloved legislative leaders that Africa has ever known.
Citizens say they like him because, unlike most traditional politicians, he says one thing and then does exactly what he says. Other members of congress love him because he is a great unifier, someone who tries to get people to work together for a greater cause.
Upon assuming the presidency, he challenged all members of congress to throw off their habits of pandering to special interests and to earn respect from their constituents by being honorable and by doing things that are best for all of Africa, not just a few big interests. He has single-handedly changed the tone on Capitol Plaza from one of big money, big power to a tone of greater purpose for the greater good. As a result, members of congress feel better about themselves for following his examples and their constituents also have a renewed confidence in their elected leaders.
He has been a great help at pushing through most of the Conservative Party's "Africa 2000" plan for reorganizing and downsizing the federal government and returning power back to the provinces.
He has survived several attempts by his opponents to pull him down, including an attempt to start a sex scandal over his private interactions with the other lions with whom he lives up in Foothills. He has also been dogged by repeated allegations about his past behavior during his years back home in The Pridelands.
Lets start with you, Mr. Steinle, what do you see in his public future, near term.
Steinle: Well, first of all, you know that the ACP has had the majority in both houses of congress since 1994, so you can't give him all of the credit for Africa 2000's success. There is...
Sumaye: Africa 2000's success is due to its overwhelming support by the African people.
Steinle: Well, not everyone accepts all of A2K's tenants. There isnt any doubt that he is very popular. As for his future, I agree with most who say that he won't get 90% or more this time, but I cannot see him losing. He is loved in all of Africa, but nowhere more than in Victoria Province. They'll elect him again, wether it be by 60%, 70% or more, he will win.
commentator: Address the Pridelands issues. He is still chased around by those who accuse him of killing his brother Mufasa and destroying their homeland on what can only be called an evil streak of epic proportions....
Sumaye: .. for which he has received a full exoneration by Imperial Decree
Steinle: Yes, but that decree cannot command people to vote a certain way in the ballot box.
commentator: Yes, but how hard will this hurt him.
Sumaye: Can I step in here.
commentator: go ahead.
Sumaye: Look, this controversy has been around in the public eye almost since he won election in 1994. These events allegedly took place in the early 1990's. He has explained his side of the story and his popularity has not waned. If this was going to hurt him, it would have by now.
commentator: That may be true, but not much was known about this at the time of his last...
Sumaye: ... and not everything is known about it now. All of his accusers are Disney groupies who watched a fabled version of events which none of the writers experienced first hand nor have any of these groupies
Steinle: You have to admit that his explanation is a bit bizzare, though
Sumaye: ... not if its the truth.
Steinle: Oh come on! His explanation is basically that "The devil made me do it".
commentator: Ok, but The Emperor has exonerated him and has decreed that Taka's version is actually the truth - what do you make of that?
Steinle: I still don't know... commentator: Do you doubts The Emperor's judgement or veracity?
Steinle: No, no, of course not. I'm just not ...
Steinle: I'm just not qualified to comment on it.
Sumaye: Look, unless you are able to see into the spiritual world, you cannot say anything except that you aren't qualified to judge the truth of his statements. If you consult the shamen of the Pridelands, they will tell you that Aheiu sends a "purgement" every 500 years or so in which he lets a demon rule for 4 years and annihilate most life there. This is a cleansing that is required. According to the legends, this recent calamity occurred almost exactly on schedule. Also, people who knew him in his younger life say he was just like he is now. How is it possible that he would be one way back then, completely change into an evil person, and then suddenly just snap out of it?
Steinle: Most people will find it hard to beleive his claim that he was possesed and enslaved by an evil demon.
Sumaye: But his numbers.. his numbers show that they don't hold it against him.
commentator: OK, what about the sex scandal?
Sumaye: No scandal. Again, the most important group of people in his re-election bid are his constituents in VP. VP has the largest population of iCat lions in the world. People know that iCat lions groups are very sexually active, males have sex with all of the lionesses and lionesses mess around with all of the males. Sex for them is like shaking hands...
commentator: But will it hurt him.
Sumaye: No, and his steady, unwavering position has been to say that he doesn't give anyone a right to pry into his private life and if they don't like that, they can vote for someone else. I think his constituents admire him for that since this is how each of them would like to be treated - to be left alone in their private life, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else.
commentator: Even if he has produced cubs with multiple lionesses? I hear he has 31 children.
Sumaye: Look, he is a lion. Its normal for them. I think that this is the point. He isn't doing anything wrong or immoral for his species. People understand this and just don't care. In fact, they get angry when the opposition tries to bring it up.
Steinle: Look, I agree that the sex thing is a non-issue and yes SD's look bad when they try to pry into his private life. In the end, none of this will phase him. He is perceived to be a great leader and people will vote based on that. He will be re-elected.
Sumaye: Well, I guess Nestor and I agree on that point.
commentator: So no impact from either scandal?
Sumaye: No, and you should also remember that he has children still living in the Pridelands, so there may be some communication there some reconciliation...
commentator: Yes, you know Nala Queen of Pride Rock is his daughter and his son Kovu is the mate of King Simba's oldest daughter.
Sumaye: Yes, this is true, as for other information, its hard to verify what is going on in the Pridelands since its isolated and hard to get to due to federal restrictions on travel there. This is why its so absurd for these people... who want to accuse him of all sorts of crimes .. based on a Disney cartoon .. written
Steinle: He has admitted that he has done certain things.
Sumaye: No he hasnt. He has said that he was enslaved by the demon Aheiu sent to carry out the purgement..
Steinle: Fine, fine. We wont get anywhere with that one.
commentator: Gentlemen, our time is up. Looks like you both agree he will be re-elected handily. Thats all the time we have. Thanks for tuning in. Come back and visit with us tommorrow. Same time, same place.