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After Quailgate wife demands vetting of our family finances

By By MAFTAH YUSUF | February 1st 2014


After our quail project failed to take off, my wife and I cut our losses and decided to invest in another venture that would guarantee that we would not get thrown out by the landlord.

That was after admitting to ourselves that as the Johnnies come lately we were sitting pretty at the top of the pyramid scheme with no hope of getting back our money.

For a moment there I felt like murdering the thousand-plus quail chicks that we were rearing by bombarding them with their momma’s eggshells.

However, I had to reconsider my plan after Michelle declared that they were very cute. I agreed on condition that she stops feeding me quail egg omelets in the hope that they would make me a better man.

“I’m a fully functional male and shall not be subjected to your schemes to neuter me with mayai za quail. Everything they say about those birds has been one big lie,” I protested.

However, after selling the brood at a throwaway price, our money, including the savings we had after raiding the bank, totaled around 0.12 million, a figure that had a lot in common to the legendary 1.2 trillion-shilling standard gauge railway tender price, but I hope all the similarities ended there.

As the one who wears trousers in my house, I decided that the money would be channeled into repairing ‘HI H8TR’ our matatu, which broke down around the time the government reintroduced the Alcoblow breatherlyser.

“That car of yours is fine, just get a sober driver for it,” Michelle told me when I told her of my plan. “The car’s gearbox needs to be replaced and the tyres are badly worn out,” I reminded her. “Therefore no nagging as I fix our last line of defence against starvation,” I pleaded.

However, as the head girl in my house, she demanded that I procure the services of a mechanic as transparently as possible as she was fed up with domestic corruption.

“Bidding for the job must be competitive as I do not want Kirinyaga Road conmen stealing the steering and other original components of the car,” she warned.

“I also want the ‘REDRUM’ sticker at the back removed. People aren’t exactly stupid and can read the message backwards, you know,” she admonished.

If I don’t watch it, she will enact a Domestic Procurement and Disposal Bill right under my nose.

“I am tired of being listed as a defaulter of loans because of your poor planning. If we do not watch it, we are going to appear in the all-new M-Shwari loan blacklist courtesy of your poor planning,” she said.

Sometimes the woman has a point, the total cost, according to Seki the mechanic was equivalent to our yearly budget. However, her modus operandi meant that Michelle lacked the basic mannerisms of a well-trained wife.

I hooked up with a contractor who assured me that he has branches in over 40 counties in this republic.

As he seemed okay, I gave the guy the job under the watchful eye of Seki.

However, when I got a call that we required additional spares above the ones that were initially quoted, I smelled a rat and a kaleidoscope of Anglo leasing and Goldenberg-type schemes swam through my mind.

I had a feeling that I was getting conned and since this was my last bit of cash, I had to swing into action. Besides, Michelle would accuse me of being part of the corruption.

I would not allow corrupt individuals to derail the project to have my matatu on the road once again.

But these people have a way of dealing with stubborn customers. They simply refuse to put your car back together again and demand payment for consultation.

I had to go back to Michelle, maybe her Chama would be kind enough to loan us some money so that I could finish repairs on my passenger-mobile.

After my long story, she was as doubtful as Nandi Hillls MP Alfred Keter about the standard gauge rail tender. She claimed that the mechanic I had had actually been debarred from practicing by the city of Nairobi for failure to pay newly enacted rates.

“The whole thing should have cost forty thousand instead of 120K and you must have been plotting with that fraudster to ‘eat’,” she accused me.

Just like the standard gauge railway tender, she claimed that the entire process was irregular and should, therefore, be scrapped.

She even went further and declared herself headgirl in charge of the house transport department and just like her colleague in Parliament, Hon Maina Kamanda, she asked for all the conspirators to appear before her for vetting before she even considered getting help from her Chama.

“Wololo, Serikali tafadhali,” I pleaded. “This mechanic is a consultant who charges by the hour and will not appear before yours or anybody else’s committee,” I informed her.

“In that case, there would be no additional money!” I was emphatically informed.

To simplify matters, I took her allegations as a direct challenge to my authority as a husband in the house and remained adamant like the President who declared that the tender would not be cancelled.


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