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Dispatch from Kenia and a declaration of war on the Equator

By | April 6th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Peter Kimani

This is an advance copy of the diplomatic cable that WikiLeaks will intercept in the future, dispatched by the British High Commissioner in Nairobi reporting to his bosses at Whitehall, London, the bar brawl somewhere in Nanyuki, pitting Scottish and Irish soldiers.

I should have started this communiquÈ with deep felicitations from Kenia, but I’m constrained because I am not sanguine. As a matter of fact, I have summoned my energies to convey a deeply troubling tragedy that unfolded in our midst.

Don’t be alarmed at the semantic, "tragedy," nobody died, but the consequences were quite tragic on our collective dignity that was cultivated over a period of three score and ten.

I shall attempt to reconstruct the events of April 1, 2012, which, by strange coincidence of history, fell on April Fools’ Day, in a place near the Equator, on the fringes of the township of N-neri where the Queen ascended the throne three score ago.

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inebriated soldiers

It so happened that our soldiers, who have been in Kenia on joint training mission completed their drill and decided to retire to a tavern for refreshments.

In Kenian parlance, the tavern was where folks here call minimum staggering distance, meaning inebriated soldiers could have passed water from the tavern’s balcony by accurately aiming at the urinals in their barracks.

But what all the 24 soldiers interviewed consistently told, and what was corroborated by native staff at the tavern is that soldiers from Scotland and Ireland got into a loud argument, each group accusing the other of acting like matatu drivers.

I should say matatu driver is a loaded term in Kenia. It alludes to a crop of young tribesmen, poorly schooled and utterly uncultured, who arrive in large cities to take up jobs as drivers in the unregulated and hugely chaotic public transportation sector.

social deviance

A majority of them drink and smoke heavily, particularly native weed called bangi. It is reportedly milder than opium but much cheaper and readily available on the black market. The generally corrupt Kenian police are said to be complicit in this illicit trade.

Further matatu drivers are reputed for their womanising, their prey of choice being schoolgirls motivated by free rides and meals. That may sound like nothing but it is adequate inducement for a population that lives on less than a pound a day.

The matatu drivers are known to abhor personal hygiene, even after their nocturnal activities with the schoolgirls. This confluence of social deviance hints at the enormous emotional freight attached to the word matatu driver. The altercation between Irish and Scottish soldiers, a majority of them villagers travelling abroad for the first time, degenerated in a brawl that revealed unparalleled idiocy. They hurled bottles, seats and tables, and when those were finished, hurled punches at each other. When they were spent, some decided to hurl others downstairs. The episode has attracted the attention of the salacious-minded native Press, which thankfully, appear fixated on the role of local call girls in inciting the fight. This has offered reprieve and drew attention away from the War of Three Nations in which Ireland, Scotland and England fought like the village idiots we once were. The soldiers’ fight is symptomatic of the deeper tensions that Whitehall should arbitrate sooner than later. I shall keep my ear to the ground in the event of aftershocks that could be as catastrophic as the seismic shifts that the fight occasioned on the Equator.

Eugene Wamalwa got the accent, what he needs is art of parrotology

One critic, quite unkindly, equates him to a village girl inundated with marriage proposals, while another simply thinks he is a political pawn created by PNU elements to scuttle Tinga’s potential votes in Western Kenya.

But Eugene Ludovic Wamalwa, the political minnow recently appointed Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister regards himself as "a simple boy from Saboti." This self-image is important – it explains that clipped accent as a gimmick of self-elevation, especially if one aspires to live in that fabled House on the Hill – apparently without paying rent.

Yet, this is an over-simplification of things; the "boy" in Eugene’s self-definition is a political identity: his departed elder brother was named "Kijana" to distinguish him from their father, who served in the colonial senate in the last century, and Eugene looks up to their legacy for his own survival.

For now, Eugene is doing more than just surviving; he is thriving. He is now the Justice minister, thrusting him on the cusps of national prominence, even credibility.

sound clever

One can say Eugene has the right head – judging by his shock of black hair that reflects his age – as opposed to Wiper and Tinga’s who "paint" their grey hair black. Now what Eugene must do is to master the rules of parrotology. He must not sound clever, by quoting legal statutes to justify his keeping Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto from the clutches of Ocampo and company. He should simply tell Ocampo there is a new man at Sheria House, and only takes instructions from his clients.

Free ‘mwananchi’ guide to lawyers adverts, now and in the future

Lawyers have been given the power to read and write notices advertising their services. This is a mwananchi guide on how to interpret the adverts:

No deposit needed: It simply means the lawyer will deposit whatever settlement you receive in a claim and run.

Specialty in motor vehicle insurance claims: I’m an ambulance chaser, and you will chase after me for the rest of your life to get your money.

inherit spouse

Expert in arbitration and family law: Give me the power of attorney to run your home, and I shall inherit your spouse.

Long experience in conveyance: Possesses rich array of River Road contacts to produce property documents with better quality, and efficiency than those procured from Nyayo House. The fakes really look genuine like those from Syokimau.

justice on wheels

Specialty in property development: Your money is our property. Why buy a house while all you do is to sleep in? The house shall go to the highest bidder, and I will feel nothing. If you have a problem, you can go to court, or hang.

Specialists in car imports: Now that’s what we mean by justice on wheels. You have to keep chasing for your logbook – if you get the car at all.


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