Welcome to Zambia, the real Zimbabwe. We are sure that you have found the people here friendlier than the citizens of any other country you have visited in the world. But don’t be fooled with the smiles you see around you. Away from those who are in the government welcoming party, the rest of the Zambians are devastated by a stubborn epidemic that has ravaged homes. Yes, it is the ‘Zika’ virus.

But unlike the Zika that causes abnormal small heads among the born inhabitants of South America, our Zika virus makes people grow very big headed. It is not mosquito-borne and neither is it sexually transmitted. Our Zika virus is cash-borne. It is wallet-borne in the early stages and becomes trunk-borne when it is being transmitted to the most powerful, like those who work in State House.

Like you have assisted many impoverished people around the world, we need your help in stopping this fast-spreading cash-borne Zika virus. If it is not stopped, it will swallow all the 1,000 elephants you have bought for us. All it will take is one Reed Dance invitation to eSwatini and the elephants will be gone, just like the buffaloes went.

This cash-borne Zika virus first corrupts the moral fibre of fully-grown humans, targeting those in positions of influence, and then paralyses the principle of gratitude and obligation. At this stage, it is almost incurable because people’s heads grow so big, thereby affecting the sense of hearing and sight. This epidemic has brought far-reaching devastation to the people of Zambia, especially now with the influx of our Chinese brothers who seem to know ingenious ways of spreading for a profit.

Out there, you call this disease “corruption”, but here in Zambia, we can’t use that word anyhow because the big-headed cash-borne virus-carriers take offence. They say those who talk about it in public are denting the image of the country, but the carriers and their victims exchange virus ‘notes’ openly without any consequences. So, the citizens have come up with so many ways of referring to this epidemic. Thanks to the Duchess of Sussex, we now have a new name for it; thus, “Zika virus.”

Allow us to reach out and assure her that her travelling fears were not too far-fetched. You see, Mrs Prince, you got everything right apart from the fact that you forgot to specify which Zika virus you were afraid of catching in our country. Your husband had first-hand experience. Soon as he arrived at State House in Zambia, he had no idea that the cash-borne Zika virus was lurking behind him on the red carpet, photo-bombing all the royal pictures. What happened thereafter, we are not permitted to talk about publicly.

Anyway, Mr Prince, we hope that you survived this particular Zika virus. And this adventure must help you better when picking a gift for an African country next time. Our problems are not lack of abundant wildlife. In fact, we have so much variety that the government has decided to kill 2,000 hippos to “curb overpopulation”.

So, thank you for the 1,000 elephants, but the real elephant in the room is the cash-borne Zika virus. You bring us an antidote for this, you will have liberated us from our new colonisers, and we shall sing “God Save the Queen forever!”