Because he is perennially high, Harold thinks he is above the law. How else would you explain his decision to disband the Court of Uphill and the Soup-rim Courts, fire the resident judge, who is also the village chief, and appoint one of the most corrupt people in the village in his place?
As elections draw nearer so does the realisation that they could be bungled, and so the need to compromise arbitrators.
In a high-octane meeting in which Harold and I were the sole attendees, the majority of the people from the village agreed that we needed an overhaul of our biggest courts.
We asked around who should head the Judiciary, the third arm of Gitegi’s government which Harold does not treat like an arm but as a crippled limb.
My vote went to Githendu, who was once the watchman at Harold’s church and who was fired for literally sleeping on the job.
Harold’s vote went to me. It was a tie between Githendu and myself. I chose to leave the position to Githendu. However, Harold, always the dictator, decided that because he was absent, Githendu was not qualified.
Soon, Harold had scribbled the initials IP on my bedroom door. For a blessed moment, I thought he meant to add numbers that he would pretend were my internet protocol, but then remembered that Harold has never been good enough at learning new things.
On a quiet evening where Harold and I sat on an imaginary podium in front of an imaginary audience, Harold declared me the President of the Judiciary.
“Why did you write IP on my door?” I enquired He leant in. “This means Injustice Pete. You know why.” Yes, I did. This is Africa and the more influential people you have on your side the higher the chances of winning a competition.
I was later that afternoon supposed to walk around the village announcing that I was the new sheriff in town.
Everyone affiliated to Sue had been thrown out; they could whine at her wine depots and beg from their chairperson. With the church drum, I walked around literally beating my own drum.
I praised Harold, reminding all and sundry that the elections had been free and fair and that in a representative democracy, Harold and Pete were enough to determine who led the village and in what capacity.
I took the long way to the shopping centre and made sure that everyone knew that the courts were about to get better.
But when I got to the pub, I found a crowd standing around a man who was speaking animatedly.
From the crowd’s reactions, I could tell he was telling them something that made them very excited, but I could not hear them clearly.
I struck my drum and they turned. “You will not win this one!” One of the men shouted. “You liar!” “Traitor!” “It is Sue’s!” I did not need to strike the drum again. In the middle of the crowd, I saw a cassock duck.
I later learnt that Harold had, in order to get free beer and perhaps eliminate competition, promised to make Sue the president of the Judiciary.
He had also told them that I was planning to hurt her bid.