Copyright © 2010 Paul Kibe
The small sleepy shopping centre was now bubbling with life and awash with beehive of activities. Women danced and twirled their waists to the beats of the ecstatic drums, jingling their feet to the nervous red dust as their spindly bangling hands jiggled and skirled rhythmically. There was a gleam of madness in their eyes against the setting rays that strayed through the strands of wispy clouds like veins. Their hair billowed in the evening breeze that swirled dry leaves to the turquoise sky before letting them tumble down upon the draught stricken fields. Their voices rose eerily with every beat of the drums.
The crowd that gathered around watched and nodded, sometimes trying hard to imitate their choreographed moves. They were mainly women, little children and one or two men. Most men were having their dance in the small bar facing the dancing square from the hill side. A few of them spilled out of the dimly lit bar holding tin-fulls of chang’aa, in an attempt to glimpse at their benefactor calmly slumped at the podium in a folding chair. Some only made a few steps and toppled to the ground. But even in their drunken stupor, they showered their
mheshimiwa with blessings for remembering their dry throats. Even the ones who could barely open their eyes struggled to register anything to do with Mheshimiwa for posterity…. the Car’s number plate, colour, the clothes he was wearing and pretty much anything!
But conspicuously missing from these impromptu festivities was the local headmaster_ the only challenger to the incumbent in the just concluded parliamentary elections. He could be on his way back home from the counting stations on foot or if he was foolish enough still be scrutinizing the mathematics with the presiding officers. What was important at that moment was that the returning officer was seated next to Mheshimiwa, having declared him the winner.
So Mheshimiwa sat puffed up, waving his fly whisk to this and that. And the dancers would go wild with every whisk, the spectators clapping and following the movements of the whisk with trepidating eyes as if it were a magic wad. And the men drained their tins and asked for more from the drums.
Mheshimiwa Karia Nime was indeed a man to reckon with. In only five years that he had been in the throne, many changes had occurred in the area. The locals had now two cattle dips to call their own, fully stocked with drugs. To an outsider, one would consider this a mediocre project, but not to the residents. On top of freeing their scrawny cows from ticks, people infested with jiggers were now breathing a new lease of life. In fact during the last celebration fiver years ago, it had become difficult to assemble a choir to sing for Mheshimiwa for most women could hardly walk. But today, these same women were fighting to be included in the dance, thanks to Mheshimiwa’s good leadership!
Karia Nime was also a man who believed that one finger cannot crash a louse and that unity is strength. That is why most local churches now adorned a segment of iron sheets on their roofs. Luckily, Mheshimiwa is back and he would certainly shake off the remaining thatches! He also organized many other
harambees to settle maternity bills, cater for school field trips, for funeral arrangements and many more.
Therefore it was indeed a shock when Mwalimu tried to oppose him. In his campaign mwalimu had claimed that Karia Nime was illiterate, corrupt, non visionary and blah blah blah. But sit down and ask yourself, which illiterate man can acquire such wealth and manage it, employing their jobless graduate sons and daughters, even? Is giving out to the less fortunate corruption or philanthropy? Look at the pile of unga and cooking oil that he shall give to their women at the end of this very day! Wont they fart all night long on full stomachs? Look at their happy men sprawling on the ground with thankfulness and contentment. Is this what these literate teachers and their followers call corruption? Is th…
“Mheshimiwa, it is you turn to greet your people in the name of Christ Jesus!” The booming voice of the local priest cut his thoughts short.
“Oiiiyeee!” He thundered, pushing the air with one hand and slashing with the fly whisk with the other. And the crowd bellowed, “Haaaaaaaaah!”
“I am very delighted today.” He started and paused for the crowd to settle. “As you all know now, I am your servant another five years.” More applause. “I wont talk much today because I have to rush the returning officer to the capital to deliver this win to the National board.” The lanky returning officer with a cow_chewed tie rose up and bobbed. He waved the crumpled paper that carried these good news then sat down, clutching it like a clamp between his sweating hands.
“ Top on my development agenda will be to sprinkle this road with murram.” He pointed at the only weather road that joined a tattered tarmac 10 miles on either ends. “This I am sure will reduce incidences of the many fractures that occur to our women in wet seasons when they trip and fall on their way to the market!” There was a prolonged applause and ululations from the women.
“And what about us men?” A drunken youth shouted. And more whistling came from the crowd outside the bar.
“ I will mobilize my colleagues in parliament to support my bill that will allow small scale brewers in the market. This will tremendously lower the exorbitant prices and increase jobs to our youth!” The village now roared with excitement.
“Anyway, I must go now before it is dark. To the women, I brought you something as you can see beside my car. As for the men, quench your thirst to the fullest on my account. Thank you all and God bless you.”
Unga :Maize flour
Chang'aa :Cheap liquor
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