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Harold looking for Valentine's cash, wants money for prayers

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Peter Theuri | February 8th 2021

Since Harold said that his church is a Hollywood theatre, because the walls are built of holy wood, nothing seems to be going well for him.

This is the same man who took Sue out in the night in the new moon, brought her a honeycomb and told her she should never complain about not being taken out on honeymoon again.

After a faction of the church openly resisted Harold’s ambitious plan to force the PPI (Prayer Payment Initiative) on them, he invited a caucus his diehards, a bunch of unapologetic drunkards, for dialogue.

The PPI was launched at Harold’s house some time last year, amid colour and pomp. It was an intiative to bring together Harold and Sue, frenemies for life.

The agreement was that Sue would assume the seat of the church’s foremost elder, and would benefit from proceeds off the offertory basket without needing to send me to pinch some money for her.

But the main agendum of PPI was that the faithful would pay more for prayers. And that these prayers would be mandatory, further increasing their burden while populating Sue’s pillow account.

Harold met at Kiamaina bar, a dingy watering hole where Gitegi gossip mill runs non-stop, part of the church allied to him.

Most of the men who made an appearance do not even know what the PPI is all about, and were there only because Harold promised them a healthy fraction of the loot every Sunday, and the finest wine brewed by Sue, at Sue’s.

Harold accused Ndumia, the assistant pastor, of creating a rift in the church, and the drunk men growled in agreement. “They see me fly and they think I am a sparrow. I want to tell him that I am a big eagle. And I have a big ego. I will not tolerate him demeaning me.”

Harold and his nemesis Ndumia do not see eye to eye, literally. A liar will avoid eye contact by all means. You can imagine what happens when two liars meet.

Harold met Ndumia when they were both summoned by Gitegi Elders’ Association for allegations of inciting violence in the village after an election for the gossip mill’s chairmanship a few years ago.

The chairman of the gossip mill is the most powerful person in the village. This person has special reservations at the mutura hub, can drink as much as they wish on credit, and has the rare honour of having girls throw themselves at his feet.

Harold was fraudulently declared winner of that election. Ndumia disputed the results, and Gitegi erupted in chaos.

Harold stole my red slippers, which he used to beat some of his opponents. The butcher’s knife also vanished, and when Ndumia was caught with it, he said he had bought himself some meat and the butcher had accidentally wrapped the knife along with it. Ndumia claimed he only noticed the knife after he had finished eating his meat.

So, to prevent further unrest in the village, Harold and Ndumia met in the drinking den for three hours and, on the collapsing steps of the bar, shook hands.

Among the matters they discussed was a power-sharing deal where Ndumia, who had only set his foot in church once in his lifetime (when he came to collect a debt from Harold before the offertory was carted away) was to be Harold’s assistant.

As Harold realised last week, January 2021 was the shortest January since The Agrarian Revolution.

He realised he does not have savings that could save his reputation on February 14. If he does not take Sue to the mutura den and buy her a few slices of the hallowed roadside delicacy, he will be in trouble.

Harold has been left with little to do but popularise PPI by any means necessary as a quick fix to his money woes.

Ndumia came out guns blazing, saying the congregation was being exploited.

But what many don’t know is that Ndumia was a proponent of the Prayer Payment Initiative until he realised he would not get anything out of it. That Sue is the primary beneficiary is an open secret.

Ndumia after realising he would be shortchanged is now even using Harold’s favourite bar for his campaigns, where the congregants who are anti-PPI meet every Sunday evening and dilute Harold’s sermon with wine, served by Sue.

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