• Mambo had been nabbed stealing, only for him to escape under mysterious circumstances
  • To my chagrin, the landlord’s daughter admitted she let him go and led me to where he had fled to
  • When I met him, I felt a punch land on my stomach. Then another and another and then a kick to my legs as I fell to the ground face first

As comprehensive as it is said to be, the problem with the Kenyan National Household Demographic Survey (population census) is that it does not indicate exactly how many idiots we have in the country!

We, thus, have to rely on the popular saying ‘a sucker is born every minute’ for estimates. That number recently went up following Mambo’s escape and my actions that followed!

Few have the capacity to ruin a reputation that is already in tatters, but I managed to do exactly that after I had loudly advertised to have reduced crime in the neighbourhood by nabbing Mambo stealing, only for him to escape under my watch.

But before I could find someone to shift the blame to, the landlord’s daughter admitted she was behind it all one afternoon.

“I am the one who let him go!” Stacy said. I looked at her wondering whether she was joking. But she wasn’t. I was tempted to start a fight but I restrained myself.

Not because I was a gentleman, but because I feared she could wrestle me to the ground and then sit on me!

Knowing she was as heavy as several full bags of yellow maize laced with aflatoxin, it was not hard for me to imagine screaming headlines reading, ‘MALE CARETAKER SUFFOCATED TO DEATH BY EMPLOYER’S DAUGHTER’.

“So why did you free a criminal?” I asked trying not to sound angry, as this could provoke her. At that point Stacy corrected me, saying Mambo had her permission to take the stuff I had found him ‘stealing’.

But because I was biased against him, I had jumped to conclusions causing him trouble over nothing.

 “What do you have against him?” Stacy asked before she went on to accuse me of being driven by jealousy.

“If he had been arrested like you wanted, who would have taken care of his young family?” “Family? I didn’t know he had a family...” I said.

Stacy then showed me a photograph of seven children in tattered clothes and runny noses. I felt guilty.

“But he was stealing all the same...” I countered. “I can direct you to him if you want to apologise...” Stacy offered.

 That’s how, weighed down by guilt, I found myself that evening waiting for Mambo at the matatu stage. The moment he appeared wearing a hoodie, I started apologising profusely.

“Hizi vitu hufanyika!” he said. I was surprised that he could be so unforgiving. Within no time he was offering to buy me a drink.

That was like asking a mosquito whether the government should outlaw mosquito nets - the answer was YES! But after walking a distance without stopping and with the crowds thinning, I became concerned.

“Kwani tunaenda wapi?” I asked. I did not hear Mambo reply, for at that moment I felt a punch land on my stomach.

Then another and another and then a kick to my legs as I fell to the ground face first. “Siku ingine... usijiingize katika mambo yasiyokuhusu... Na mimi sina watoto, jinga hii!” Mambo glared as he took off, leaving me squirming in pain.

As he disappeared, all I could think of was that maybe some medical school somewhere needed a human specimen of stupidity and naivety and it was time to direct that my body be donated for research!