Neither is the money spent on groceries or school fees for the family. The bartender knows immediately the fellow swaggers in that money has walked in because the fixer will have what the youth call ‘swag’ and what the older generation call arrogance.
“Give everybody a round and bring me several,” he shouts at no one in particular and the bartender in general. Immediately, the youngest barmaid is ordered in no uncertain terms to see to the man’s every need until he can drink no more or there is no more money to spend.
If all the bar has is an old hag for a barmaid, well, desperate times call for desperate measures and reinforcements will be called in. The barmaid’s daughter, niece, his neighbour’s daughter...really anyone will do. The idea of the fixer getting bored and moving on to the competition with mheshimiwa’s money cannot be countenanced.
When the fixer gets drunk, any female within reach is fair game. The barmaids serving him have long grown accustomed to the grooves of his rough hands on their backsides, bosoms or wherever else there is some flesh to fondle. And to borrow an unfortunate phrase from a cabinet minister, the women are only too willing to receive the attention because it means drinks and money (and possibly a small contribution from mheshimiwa during the next harambee to raise funds to bury a relative) are afoot.
The fixer gets drunk rapidly and his every sentence is punctuated is with mheshimiwa this, mheshimiwa that. “Mheshimiwa is calling me this afternoon so that we can discuss electricity. Mheshimiwa and me are tight and you know he is very close to Raila, very close...” he announces.
Make no mistake, however. These fixers are no jokers. They know everyone in the village and everyone knows them, which is why politicians deal with them directly. Whenever they’re needed, they’re always ready to spring into action.
An excellent example of their power and perennial usefulness was seen recently when angered villagers in the small township of Ahero near Kisumu ‘spontaneously’ erupted in protests against Miguna Miguna for publishing a tome heavily critical of the Prime Minister.
As brilliantly captured by The Standard’s Nicholas Anyuor:
“Women, youths and the elderly people alike demonstrated along the Kisumu-Nairobi highway, causing a traffic snarl-up for over three hours. Chants, ululations and whistle blowing rent the air as villagers jigged in fits of anger and protest.
“They were not done. Armed with the coffin (to bury Miguna), the demonstrators sang funeral dirges and sounded drums of mourning borrowed from the Luo rituals of death and cleansing and performed routines required in fending off evils that cause death.”
There was obviously nothing spontaneous about this demonstration. Someone had to round up the youths and organise transport for the elderly. Someone had to organise for the coffin to be procured. As you know, demonstrators probably need lunch and bus fare and these had to be facilitated. And above all, the whole shebang had to be coordinated like one big orchestra — which dirges to sing, who will lead the ululations, what route to follow and so on.