Don't hold back, eat those last-minute campaign freebies

Being a patriotic Kenyan, this week finds me in the village in readiness for the elections. It’s also not lost on me that the last week of the campaign is when the politicians go on a spending spree, showering voters with last-minute goodies.

I saunter to my uncle’s place and find him enjoying a steaming plate of githeri spiced with a wedge of avocado, a gleaming machete stuck in the wet loam under him. With him is Kamaley, my cousin who always gets an emergency of a kafije when he spots me. Aunty is knitting a flowery kiondo, a gospel hymn playing on her mouth.

After the usual salaams, uncle poses, ‘Son of Njambi, why have you come to the village so early for the elections?’ I am the type that can read letters while they are in the envelope so I had foreseen that question. I start on a long-winded tirade on how we should elect leaders who understand their people’s needs and so on.

Soon, we are at Giceeris place, the ancient pub in our village that faces the church in an unending moral duel. One of the guys vying for MCA seat storms in, his well-tended kitambi leading the way. He is no longer the scraggy fellow in hand-me-down coats he was five years ago. Instead, he wears a fitting suit, carries a shiny walking stick and has three flashy phones that won’t stop ringing. Beside him is a bevvy of hangers-on who adoringly call him ‘Mhesh’ every two minutes.

Mhesh throws us several rounds as he talks of his agenda for our ward for the next five years. To show him that I went to university to read serious books, I pen a few things that I would like him to consider in the next administration. As I hand the note to him, he asks me to hand it to his PA (an excited chap barely out of his teens). This fellow can’t read, uncle tells me under his breath.

Mhesh then orders some chicken tumbukiza for us and we know it’s our time to eat. Giceeri, the barmaid, eats half of it when it’s cooking and finally brings us a chicken that doesn’t have a gizzard, has one wing and one drumstick.

When the time to pay comes, Mhesh and his bevvy of hangers-on are nowhere to be seen. We are left with a huge bill to settle and Giceeri decrees that if it’s not paid promptly, it will accumulate interest daily. We have been conned clean.

Since I am broke for the rest of the days, I visit my aunt with some city friends who are looking for kiondos. After buying the kiondos, they dive into politics, heaping praises on their preferred presidential candidate. All this while, aunty is knitting silently, a wry smile playing on her lips.

When they are gone, I ask aunty for my cut upon which she tells me curtly: If I knew those city friends of yours belong to that candidate, I would not have sold them my kiondos! Whatever last-minute campaign freebies come your way this weekend, eat them to your full, cautiously. But let no one make you be in bad books with your kinsmen.

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By Associated Press 48 minutes ago
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