Book Title: The Last Bature by Kenneth Ryeland
Part of Series:
Author: Kenneth Ryeland
Number of words (approximately): 102 755
Star Rating (of five): 4
Summary: Nibana has gained its independence from
and the tribal leaders scheme to gain or hold onto power. The few British Policemen try to maintain
order and respect for the law in the face of political intrigue, superpower
scheming and tribal hatred. Britain
- “Comrade Colonel, you now have a basic idea of how the deal with the North Koreans and the Nibanans will be implemented. What I want from you and your people is for Nibana to slip slowly into chaos over the next nine months or so. I want strikes, walkouts, riots, sabotage and mayhem on the streets, though nothing must interfere with the mining operations or the transportation of the material to the docks. Our own people control the ore-ships, so there will be no disruption from that quarter. Whilst the military government is trying to deal with all the chaos, the police will be at full stretch trying to keep control of the streets and we will be moving more of our advisors into prime government positions. By the time they have realised what has happened we will have full control of their country through the local Communist Party of Nibana (CPN). With our infiltration and indoctrination of the military and the civil service we shall control the country no matter what form of government they employ, military or civilian, it will make no difference. Naturally this is a long term plan, Comrade Colonel, but what I need from your agents right away is for them to start spreading rumours about the possibility of someone in the military getting their hands on a ‘secret weapon’. No specifics, just fact mixed with fantasy in the usual way. I especially want to ferment trouble between the Yubas and the Obis. They are at each other’s throats as it is, so it won’t take much to push them over the edge. Don’t forget the Usmars, though. They are still sitting in their region licking their wounds after the recent coup that ousted them. I want unrest in the north too.”
“Comrade Ambassador,” replied the colonel, “I will start my people on this project right away. You have no need to worry. We will deliver Nibana into the hands of our glorious leaders at the Kremlin. Soon the rest of Africa will follow, especially since our infiltration of the African National Congress (ANC) in
is well ahead of schedule. We are
just waiting for the day when, inevitably, the Boer government is ousted by the
pressures on them from the so-called free world. Once the ANC assume power in
that mineral-laden country, everything will be ours. How strange to think,
Comrade Ambassador, that often it is the liberal bleeding-hearts in the West
who do our work for us by insisting on the ridiculous concept of one-man
one-vote, in Africa, of all places. South
“You will no doubt be aware that the next great prize of Africa to turn to us will be Southern Rhodesia; (Now
are working very hard there supporting the so-called freedom fighters with
money and weapons, Comrade Ambassador. Furthermore, our operatives and fellow-travellers
in the British Labour Party are fermenting trouble in the British parliament to
ensure that Zimbabwe Rhodesia is
pushed into declaring unilateral independence from in the not too distant
future. Once the white Rhodesians do that, the freedom fighters will begin
their destruction of the state and we shall have a new ‘friend’ in Britain Africa.”
Both men smiled again and the ambassador walked over to his drinks cabinet and poured two vodka shots. The sound of the bottle and the glasses clinking together nearly deafened the agent on the other end of the very sensitive microphone link.
* * *
Now, almost twelve months on, Nibana’s infrastructure had deteriorated and the Obi-dominated military government’s relations with the civilian population had worsened considerably. Inter-tribal affairs were strained to the limit, strikes and walkouts were commonplace and civil unrest in all the major towns was widespread. Though they
had tied very hard to be the instigators of these difficulties, the Soviets were not the people responsible. The problems were the natural consequences of a corrupt and venal civilian government and an even worse military regime, therefore the backlash from the people was quite normal for Nibana in its post-colonial era. The raids on the national treasury by both the civilian and military governments had left the country bankrupt. Only the oil revenues helped to keep Nibana from collapsing altogether. Furthermore, the Soviets had forgotten, or had never learnt, that every Nibanan, from the head of state to the night soil men – they who collected the buckets of faeces and urine from the township houses every day, for there were no water closets or septic tanks except at the houses of Europeans and rich Nibanans – was a capitalist at heart. Each one dreamt only of personal fortune. Collective activity to ensure the benefit of the village, town or indeed the state was alien and unnatural to them. Every Nibanan, from a very early age, learnt that he must obey his village chief and render to him whatever the chief required, be it food, money or wives. Even to the extent that obeying the chief meant he prospered whilst the village people starved. Slavery, which was rife in Nibana before the British colonised the area and declared it illegal, depended entirely on the greed of the local chiefs and the compliance of the villagers. Without their connivance, the trade could not have flourished as it did. It follows, therefore, that almost every individual Nibanan’s ambition was to live like a chief and to hell with helping anyone else, let alone the country as a whole.
As for the Russians at the Embassy, they suffered several very serious setbacks. In outlining his plans regarding the uranium mine and the destabilisation of Nibana to the military attaché in his office all those months ago, the Soviet ambassador had unwittingly told the British too. Three months before the Soviets moved into the building that was to be their Embassy, the British high commissioner had arranged for it to be bugged. Several Nibanan operatives working for the British secret service had posed as workmen and planted very sophisticated listening devices all over the building. The British even managed to compromise the so-called secure room. Armed with the details of the Soviet plan, the West African bureau of the British secret service had enacted countermeasures and largely negated the Soviet’s efforts to destabilise the capitalist system in favour of a communist-style government. The British, quite naturally, had to co-operate closely with the Nibanan military in order to thwart the Soviet plan. However, notwithstanding this close co-operation, they did not tell the Nibanans everything of course, especially information relating to the mine and the nuclear device. Nonetheless they were able to persuade the military government to expel most of the spies at the Soviet Embassy and the Russian ‘advisors’ in the various government departments, proscribe the Communist Party of Nibana, imprison its members and generally flush out the ‘lefties’ at the universities and schools. Thus, the secret Soviet plan failed and the British gained immense favour with the Obi-dominated military government, who, in a weak moment of emotion, almost forgave the British for placing the country in the hands of an Usmar civilian government at the time of independence.
The information regarding the uranium mine in the Omdu Hills, however, remained with the British secret service. They were not prepared to say or do anything about it for the moment. The information was to be the ace up their sleeve. Amazingly, the true product of the mine had remained a closely guarded secret thus far, simply because the Eastern Region military governor had decided to pay nominal ‘gold revenues’ to the federal treasury. With money rolling in regularly from the region, the military in Laguna paid little attention to the details of the project. They believed what the regional governor had told them: the mine was simply a marginally profitable gold producer. The revenue smokescreen had worked well and had not cost very much since the ‘gold revenues’ were in fact a minute proportion of the special ‘invisible’ oil revenues that the regional governor had negotiated with the oil companies. The money he received from the North Koreans for the uranium payload shipments paid all the mining expenses and so the whole operation was pretty-well budget neutral.
However, the regional military governor now had a prize that, in his opinion, was more valuable and more significant than all the oil and mineral revenues of Nibana put together. He had a highly portable and powerful nuclear device with which to threaten his brother. -
Structure: The book is correctly structured and reads easily.
Content: In this story of the dissolution of an African country, assisted by the separate interests of
Britain, France, Russia,
North Korea, the United States and , and driven by the
greed and corruption of the local politicians, one of the last British
Policemen works to find a nuclear bomb that is to be used in a coup attempt. South Africa
Reviewer’s Comments: The tone of the book is set in the dedication: ‘For the many subjugated people of
Africa. In the
hope that one day, they may be blessed with honest leaders.’ The author has a good understanding of the
simplistic thinking used by many African politicians to gain control of the
wealth of their nations. His
descriptions explain why so much that happened in Africa
when the colonial powers handed control of the fledgling countries to men whose
only aim was to benefit themselves. If
you wish to understand the mess that Africa
became in the 1960s, you need to read this book.