Why we Will Miss the Chief

We Will Miss the Chief

By Andrew Mibei

The Jubilee government has come in with lots of changes that we Kenyans are yet to come to terms with. Born during Jomo’s time, weaned on ‘maziwa ya Nyayo’ and maturing into Kibaki’s tenure, many Kenyans in this bracket do not understand how two people can decide to share the biggest seat in the land.

The hardest thing to come to terms with is the emasculation and likely disappearance of the chief in Kenya. The chief and the assistant chief are at the tail end of the loathed provincial administration that helped the first two former governments survive opposition.

The chief listened to every conversation and could act on all perceived dissidents instantly and harshly.

Do you know that the chief was once a mobile court? He was up to recently the judge, prosecutor, the police, and the lawyer all rolled into one. He arrested you, prepared a case against you, judged you and sentenced you. The cases that drag on for ages in our courts today are probably as a result of the emasculated chief.

However, the most interesting role that the chief played in meting out justice was that of being a disciplinarian. He gave corporal punishment to errant residents, especially the drunks and wife beaters.

During a ‘trial’, he could ‘sentence’ you to receive six strokes of the cane and you had to go to his office to serve the sentence when you were sober! Who will perform this noble duty now that my chief is disappearing? No wonder strange things are happening today in the village.

Who remembers the chief who refused to sign a university loan form? Sometimes he felt so jealous about university students that he thought it fair to deny them their signature. Of course we manoeuvred them through a little chai that they loved to death and sometimes we made rubber stamps and signed the forms on our own.

The chief once had his own ‘army’ that helped him execute his duties easily. Besides ‘askari kanga’-the Administration police- he also had the ‘Youthwing’, a group of strong ruthless men who usurped the police in the villages in the eighties. If you thought Waiganjo is a creation of the 21st, century ask your chief.


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