By Jack Mureithi

Bwana Baraza, habari yako?  (How are you?)” The gentleman on the other end of the line spoke gently.

Baraza could hear chicken in the background. He imagined him sidestepping chicken poop as he scattered maize seeds at them.

They were happy chicken — no day went by without them being fed. The gentleman, his landlord, did not keep chicken for agricultural purposes but rather as pets, you see.

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His daughter once made the mistake of assuming they were for eating and cooked a sumptuous dinner for the family. It was meant as a surprise.

Unfortunately, she was sent away to boarding school the following term where she could think about the need to respect other people’s property.

“Bwana Baraza, I told you that I am having a project, which I would like to finish. When am I getting the rent?”

The project in question was a young schoolteacher in the city who had recently caught his eye.

“Mzee, I would never want your project to fail on my account. However, I had a financial catastrophe recently and I promise to sort you out very soon,” he replied calmly.

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Baraza knew that whenever the mzee was hanging out with his chickens, he was not in a bad mood at all.

The mzee on his part knew that the financial catastrophe that Baraza was referring to was the holiday season.

He looked at his possessions. What could he pawn at the loan shark and get survival money?

His TV was out of the question, since like the typical Kenyan, he was addicted to the news and elections were round the corner. 

The radio was also out of the question since he would be unable to unwind with a glass of whisky and music in the evenings.

The whisky was out of the question now, but music was essential in his life. His laptop was also out of the question since he would have no means to keep track of his work.

Well, no one ever got anywhere by feeling sorry for themselves.

He knew he had to get off his behind and get moving if he was going to resolve his problems.

Just then the news service he subscribed to texted a sensational story into his inbox: A man had been arrested for posing as a ‘fake’ senior police officer.

Not only that, the alleged conman had infected the police top brass with enough confidence to dispatch him to look into the Baragoi massacre of over 40 police officers.

The history books will thus record that when the Kenya Police Service needed to avenge their brothers, they dispatched a ‘fake’ officer in a second-hand helicopter to what the media would call a ‘hotspot’.

Baraza was aghast. That ‘fake’ cop needed to be named man of the year!

That’s exactly the kind of chutzpah and machismo Baraza needed right now if he was to get out of his financial crisis.

He picked up his phone decisively and called Morara, his buddy in procurement. It was time to move.

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