The King’s Return to Port Florence
The luxurious bus had stopped briefly at the valley viewpoint. The passengers in first class preferred it here for meal breaks and nap rests in between the journey. It was an exciting time for me, a first timer in this luxurious bus in first class. During the break, the bus served canned beef and canned fish on the lap tables with small wet warm napkins for face and hand cleaning. Wine came in special wine glasses, which I relished then topped it up with a chilled canned beer.
Everything around it was luxurious this bus. The TV that sat on an elegant hoist had a large flat screen. The pictures could not have been clearer than this and our eyes engaged to the full glued all the way. Most men in the bus had massive bellies, fat shinny faces, roundish at the oval chins. The women were more luxurious with golden necklaces and studs of diamonds on their noses that drew attention to self. Their dresses had silk or denim decors and their bangles laced with silver jingled with sounds of belled goats when they moved their arms about in that provocative manner as I could observe.
They all sat in the front, breathing heavily and sweating Ajo had pointed out to me as part of orientation in first class before the bus took off. I wondered why it did not occur to them to put on their personalized air conditioners that bulged at the roof of the bus. An imaginary line like the equator divided them into two halves of class, the middle haves and the lower have-nots. Then progressively the classes lowered to second and third and so did the seats sizes and comfort of the spacing. Even the air became dense, stuffy, and acrid as you moved away from first class.
Ajo my cousin had paid for my ticket in first class just so I could get the hang of it, I mean of first class life. He is a generous man this diminutive business mogul from Kothacha. We sat side-by-side talking in maffled tones as I kept inquiring about one thing or another in the luxurious bus. Later I switched and we talked about our village-Kothacha
Ajo stretched then belched loudly from overfeeding but failed to apologize. “That would not be expected or even necessary in first class,” Ajo said after he sat back and relaxed. Then he added with a slight sheepish chuckle, “You only apologize in first class if you break wind and only when it is loud you know. People pay for these things to relax!” He said this last part of his sentence with defiant twist in his tone as if someone had asked him to explain his misdemeanor in first class.
Ajo moved back and forth uneasily in his luxurious seat. His lips worked tellingly but words did not form. He appeared coy, and lost in thought his face blank and expressionless and so I thought he would perhaps drift off and sleep, but I was wrong on my assessment. He swiftly turned around thereafter and said to me, “Thadayo, tell me about Amollo OKol. Spin me that yarn that you weaved so neatly before the break. It has the ingredients that can easily stir sleep inside watery eyes and bring peace inside weary soul.” Therefore, I resumed the story. The story of Amollo Okol
Amollo Okol had worked with the Indian Coolies in the last mile on the metal snake-that is what the villagers called the railway line when it first hit Port Florence in 1911. The queen had come all the way from England to flag off the first train my father told me. He was there just to see Amollo OKol stand tall towering above the coolies and the rest of all the migrant workers from our village. My father was more than pleased when Okol from Kothacha village was the only black who interpreted the queens English to the audience accurately. Putting the icing on the cake Okol did a dry run on the first train at Port Florence. Imagine, just imagine Amollo Okol allowing the metal snake to slither with ease then jack to a halt to loud cheer from crowd and my father was there just to witness the whole thing. Okol could drive a train.
Okol retired shortly after and retreated to the village much to the disappointment of my father. However, he soon made up for his early retirement. It was such a seamless change over as a power switch between heavy loads of high voltage. “How did he do that? Retirees from Railways often had conflicts. I mean adjustment issues. Not fitting back to reality.” Ojo said in a flat dull voice.
“Okol was different,” I said then continued with the story. When he arrived in the village, our lives became Okol and Okol became our lives. He was the earth around which our world revolved. To cover his back the village provided the axis that allowed him rotate and together we had a small peaceful universe in our village in Kothacha. Whenever there was any medley noise, we would be sure it would be the motorcycle of Okol ferrying merchandise to his shop save for thunder.
Okol was adept at business, exploiting to the full the connections he had made working with the Indians at Port Florence. He had the charm and charisma that watered his young business ideas and it thrived beyond the wildest of dreams, his and ours. Soon Okol had a name, larger than life itself. Our village in Kothacha became synonyms with Okol. At that young age, I was already aware that Okol was the oxygen we breathed. Besides, he had a big heart of a philanthropist.
When Okol distributed free sugar on the dictum of one hut one-kilo plan, we wondered how he would ever make money failing to see his vision. Old women from the village asked in wonderment, “So when does he get time to collect the eggs of white ants. Taste so nice”. Later they began to crave the same sugar to make tea and they looked up to Okol to do the needful. Okol did not disappoint. Not once.
When Okol started stocking matchboxes, it created quite a revolution; the passing of embers from one home to another fizzled out. Akol was changing the village in a way that no one had ever done before. From one home to another and from one thing to the other, everyone adored him. He did honest business met us halfway on prices most of the times. His business empire expanded. The villagers had a saying, “if you do business, do it with the heart and mind of Amollo Okol”
People created a poem to praise Amollo Okol. I recall it now. It went something like this
“You need a sweat scent, burn the woody with a fragrance of Amollo Okol
You have no food; no provisions- open a credit book with Amollo Okol
Your son has a wedding get a gift pack from the shop of Amollo Okol
You are on a journey get a ride from Amollo Okol”
You could say that Okol was our king and we were in a way his subjects.
“So what happened after this empire expanded? Did he open more shops in other markets?” Ajo asked as we approached Port Florence.
“No” I replied then continued, “like good stories with bad endings Okol’s journey ended with a wicked twist at the tail end. Allow me to continue this story on our return journey.”
The luxurious bus ate up tarmac and gobbled the miles. The bus cut through the force of opposing wind with a whiz like a power turbine. Before we could turn and yawn for the second time in this journey, Port Florence was staring at us from the distance of Kano plains. Right before our very eyes, the magnificent red lights in the famous red light street beckoned us. The shiny silvery water surface reflecting with a bewitching elegance in the moonlight teased us. In the horizon where the clouds kissed the lake slightly a color change from greyish pink to yellowish umber signaled the break of dawn. This amazed me as if I had expected the night to continue unchallenged by day. The bus sneaked in Port Florence with the quietness of the night still enveloping it and the chill of break of dawn made our fingers tremble with cold. It was four am, a gloomy Saturday morning in the early part of May.
Ajo accompanied me to the supermarket, the only one that operated 24hours in Port Florence. We needed to have a quick cup of coffee to warm ourselves up before proceeding on our journey to the village. At the entrance, a sentry welcomed us with wide-open arms; a thin cynic smile played on his lips his mouth agape. He said, “My lords, I cannot frisk you for I am not worthy. I cannot put any metal detectors on you. That will be injurious to your reputations and lower your dignity. I have seen you alight from the luxurious bus and that is all I need to know. I am your loyal servant. Just give me ten shilling coin and my soul shall be saved.” He concluded. I looked at his face in awe. He was wearing a beaming smile now with a winner’s confidence, his white big teeth exposed to the pre-molar.
First, I was baffled. Then amusement overtook me. I looked at Ajo. He was nodding the way good listeners do as if agreeing with every word this man was saying, matching the guard eyeball to eyeball. This peaked my curiosity that quickly changed to surprised then humor in that order. I started with a slight chuckle, which escalated quickly to a high laughter. It got louder by the second then boomed so loud I got worried it would boomerang and wake other sentries curled up in sleeping positions in the verandah of the mall. I laughed until I could not stand straight. I laughed until my body shook as jelly desert on a flat saucer and my ribs ached.
I groped and reached for Ajo to steady myself even as I laughed some more. It was amusing that just by boarding the luxurious bus; all our sins were gone, in a flash. I found it funny even shocking that this bus had made us white as snow. It had in fact elevated my standing to the level of a lord, perhaps a landlord. I was still laughing when Ajo pulled out a fifty-shilling note and staffed it in the hands of the sentry. Then Ajo turned round and I saw his face reincarnate into an ashen of annoyance.
“Now listen up and get this straight into the space between your ears,” Ajo began to scold me in a firm voice his index finger waging at my face. “You are the people who don’t get it. This is wrong, very wrong for this country. When you trust the security of people or even a country on the hands of beggars. You are toying with a time bomb literally. Do you see what I see? This whole supermarket can be bombed off to smithereens because of a ten shillings coin. Can you see how obnoxious our security system is?” He asked looking straight into my iris his pupil dilated with fury.
My laughter trailed and waned then I froze. My thoughts jammed into confusion leaving a sour taste on its aftermath in my mouth. I remembered that I was a beggar like the sentry he had just paid alms and I needed to earn my keep on an account of good manners. Therefore, when we eventually ordered coffee in the café I had shriveled back to my place and the lofty feelings I had acquired from the luxurious bus had actually evaporated.
We sat and sipped coffee in silence. Ajo pulling and sucking the liquid from the plastic mugs loudly to cool the hot black coffee that burnt the tongues but tasted so nice with sweet aroma. The sound from the tight pulling and sucking of hot coffee made audible syllables. I kept hearing “fuuss….kwoot, Fuus….kwot, fuus….kwot”
Silently in my heart, I thought about Ajo’s overreaction to my laughter. I could not allow it to dwell and take root in my head for long. Beggars, I reasoned have no such luxuries and so it thawed and flowed away like rivulets from rainstorm from my heart.
Twenty minutes later, after serious haggling Ajo agreed with the taxi operator on the charges to take us to Kothacha. Ajo sat in front next to the driver. I sat in the middle, the back seat were unoccupied. We started on light banter again. Kids talk clothed with urbanite humor was my forte and I usually used it to full effect to warm my way to Ajo’s heart for I know that people who give nothing gain nothing. I give joy. This day the taxi man was beating me to it. He led the discussion that meandered around love, lies of ethnic politics and deceit of election stealing. To his credit, we also weaved some yarn about women leadership, the confluence of money and religion as well as significance of wine to a social being.
The ease with which Ajo often made friends made me think that it was perhaps the sole reason he was so successful in business. Moreover, this could also be his blindest spot, I was thinking about it more deeply now. The duplicity of this double edge personality played in my heart. This driver matched him word for word, joke for joke as the miles drained with the minutes. The encounter with that weak-kneed sentry in the mall recurred in my mind and I tried to sue it away like a bothersome fly but it just would not go. I chewed the mental cud Ajo had deposited in the space between my ears. These humbling thoughts emanating from Ajo’s foul language hounded me like a bad smell on this trip.
Ahead in the beam light of our cab on this journey, a young man raised his hand to stop our taxi. He was well dressed like someone on a mission. A big gunny bag was at his feet and a travelling bag dangled from his shoulder gave that impression of an urban dweller. “Ah guys let me pick this man, he is going our direction. I could make some money. You know you really squeezed me so thin on the rate I charged you. I can make up with his pay.” The taxi driver said in a pleading sort of way. Ajo considered his request for a while. He said, “Ok. Pick him and pay yourself.” The driver stopped slightly ahead on this lone early traveler. The man came over tagging his load with him.
The traveler pulled the car boot and put the gunny bag. From the way he hauled it, I could tell it was a heavy load. He closed the boot quickly and took a seat at the back.
“Where are you going at this early hour?” the driver asked. “Ndori, I have business there. I will pay you five hundred. Here it is.” he replied as he gave out the note to the driver. What he had offered to pay was rather excessive and it got me wondering. Why would he be so generous?
After he closed the car door and sat, I felt raw power ooze from this strange lanky fellow’s presence. I could not explain it but I could feel its palpability. The driver ignited the engine and the car accelerated to full throttle. Something odd draw my attention more and more to this man. He was smartly dressed but he still looked queer under scrutiny. I switched on the inside light to study him. His eyes were bloodshot and his eyelids puffed up and bruised. His shirt had some sprinkles of bloodstains and his shoes were muddy. Something was not right about this eyebrow bender of a man. I could see Ajo craning his neck backwards also pointing to the danger that his act of good heartedness could bring us harm.
The man we had just picked was reeking of alcohol. A strong smell of Famous Grouse brand that exude from him permeated and took over the taxi. There was also another subtle smell. An odd expensive women perfume that lingered from the back. This smell in my estimation was perhaps from the boot where the traveler had deposited the gunny bag. I thought it could be a camouflage. The further we traveled, the stronger the smell got and it was unsettling. I could not hold back my thoughts anymore, I opened my mouth to ask but Ajo shot straight ahead of me.
“Wewe, where do you work? What business do you do?”
“General business and brokerage,” the man replied without hesitation. He fell short of giving specifics
“Why are you up this early, who opens a shop or a brokerage at five am,” Ajo drilled further
“Ahhh, I do this all the times. Ahhh. Ahhh.” The man stammered and again filed to complete his sentence. We became alarmed but more so scared.
The man shifted in the chair. I saw his hand slip into the lower pocket. I was now studying his every move. Total silence descended in the taxi even as the driver stepped on the gas. He focused grimly ahead. In my mind, I could only guess that he would do the most sensible thing; drive all of us to the next police station just to ascertain what kind of guest we had just picked. I was again dead wrong on both the guesses my head was tabulating and the direction our journey would take. Our nameless guest had smarter plans up his sleeve.
At Holo market just as the car slowed down on the road bumps, the stranger in our taxi yanked the car opened and he jumped out. He yelled even as he stepped out with the precision of a trained movie star. “No. No. No” he was shouting at the top of his voice as if we had just taken him captive. The driver stepped on the breaks and the car skidded to a creaky stop. I attempted to open one door but he had ran and stood next to the car to commandeer it. He shouted with the command of a general, “Don’t move. Stay right where you are”. I looked out of the car window and that is when I saw the gun barrel directed at my head. Instinctively, I dived down and took cover and so did Ajo. The taxi driver took cover too.
In the dead silence of the morning dawn, the sound of a gunfire rented the air. I kept my head low, my ear pricked like a trained dog, and I picked the sounds of footsteps of him running away. My heart was beating so loudly and hard threatening to burst through my chest. I could not tell if one of us had suffered gunshot wounds. It bothered me just thinking what his target could have been. My main concern at this point turned to self-preservation and so I touched myself continuously all over as if I had just lost my fourth sense of feel. I did confirm though that no blood was oozing from any opening in my body. Ajo recovered fast and said, “Remove that gunny bag from the boot. It could be a timed bomb. “
The man kept shouting as he ran away towards the shops in Holo market then he disappeared from our view. When the noise had died down and our shock abated, the taxi driver opened the boot and hauled out the gunny bag. “Please size it up. Just touch it to confirm what could be inside” Ajo instructed the driver while still seated at the co-driver.
“Parts” the driver said
“What parts” Ajo asked anxiously
“Body parts, I think” he replied.
“Get back here and let’s get moving, you greedy fool. Your thirst for money is the cause of all this mess,” Ajo snapped at the driver his bossy class voice coming back on the fore.
The driver banged the door and started the engine again. In the haze of dawn, shadowy figures of people emerged from all directions on hearing gunshots. Some people started running towards our car perhaps thinking, the stranger had harmed us. “What is it? Who has been shot and why.” One of the people shouted, but we gave no answer, instead we sped off at breakneck speed towards our destination.
Inside the car, we all could not just comprehend what had just happened. We all started talking at the same time each of us asking question and talking in tongues like the disciples did the day of the Pentecost. Adrenalin coursed through our veins and added to the incoherence of body and soul. I felt Ajo’s breathing pace heighten, then he became restless, cross and bullish like a caged lion. He heaved loudly and sighed but no relief was on sight. When he was done with shouting obscenities and curses at the driver, I asked gently afraid to agitate him further, “Why don’t we report this matter to the police? Escaping from the scene of crime could make us co-perpetrators or even criminals. What do you think sir?”
“You are right, this ignoramus has just plunged us into deep hot shit. It is neck-deep,” Ajo said then sighed so loudly again, I thought he would box the driver at the nape from the back but he did not. Instead, he said, “If we are lucky we could get away with it. We are innocent. Even God knows, but the law is an ass”
“What if someone took the car details and called the police. Those people who had come there could do us in. We would be in a worse position. Let us drive back.” I said more reservedly. The driver slowed down to allow us make the decision. As we were still mulling over the possibilities and our chances of escaping with murder literally, a reflector shinning far ahead warned us of danger. Then we saw the signs-“STOP POLICE CHECK”.
Two police officers on either side of the road raised their hands, pointing skywards signaling us to stop. A third hauled out his riffle from the leather hanger over his shoulders and held it on the ready. The taxi driver started to slow down. In panicked trembling voice he said, “Give me all the money you have all of it.” I fumbled with my pockets, fished out all the coins in punch scoop, and poured them on his lap. Ajo gave him his wallet with wards of notes so fresh crispy you could smell them a mile away. The notes popped out above the wallet neatly arranged in denominations of various currencies both local and foreign. The driver lowered his window as we approached the checkpoint. The spikes blocked the road from one end to the other.
“Open the door and come out slowly. Put your hands where I can see them. Do not try any games with me. This is a .33 Russian caliber machine and it is automatic,” one of the officers shouted. We got out of the car as instructed and leaned face down. “Turn around and put your hands behind you.” The other officer commanded.
As he reached out to his handcuff to lock us up the driver attempted to give him Ajo’s wallet full of notes and bulky the size of a mini brick. The police officer looked at it briefly and said, “Stop that temptation. Why are you putting my profession to test? This is blood money; we do not touch blood money, only clean money. Take that wallet away from me,” The driver allowed it to slip and dropped on the ground on its own with a thud. No one attempted to retrieve it, not even the police. The Police locked us up and put chains on us the way they do goats heading to the market for sale. Ajo had not said a word from the time he gave out his wallet, his face sullen and blank. The taxi driver attempted to say something but squirmed and gave up. I thought I had sufficient courage to raise some sort of defense for all of us and so I said.
“Afisa, Afisa,” I stammered searching for the right words to use. “We have just alighted from the luxurious bus. My name is Thadayo Makus from Kothacha and this is Ajo Mbuta from Kothacha. We hired this taxi to take us home but on the way, he picked a criminal. We are law-abiding citizens’ sir, I pay tithe every month, ten percent sir. My boss is the main beer distributor in Gem County, a respectable man with family and wide business interest in Port Florence. You could actually say that he is the king of Port Florence. He is a man of means. May I add sir, that he is very honest? He neither takes nor gives any bribes. He is a religious man sir and his wife is very prayerful and a member of the women’s guilds. As for me, I go to church every Sunday and fast twice a year sir. We cannot be part of this criminality. We are innocent sir”
The police regarded me for a while and my hopes of freedom flickered like an oil lamp with a dirty wick. “Balderdash, cork and bull story” the police bellowed and with those words, my heart sank. After I had finished stringing those words and breathed another sigh, it occurred to me that I had sounded very much like the spineless sentry at the mall. The only difference this time was that instead of asking for money, I was the willing giver even to my last coin. I looked up to the officer’s face pleading with my eyes for his heart to soften and move towards forgiveness. Bidding him to buy my bull story, but he stood firm un-swayed by my platitudes.
When I saw that the officer had in fact ignored my pleas, I resigned myself to fate and spoke less. We were quickly bundled into a waiting police car. At the scene of crime, the police retrieved the gunny bag a key exhibit the police marked with a felt pen. Exhibit 34A and another unknown to us they marked 34B
Ajo and I arrived in Senoma police station remand cells awaiting charges. The officer was kind enough to inform us that we would be arraigned in court the following day at Port Florence. That evening on TV our news was the leading item. The area OCPD had called a press conference detailing what in his view had transpired. How he had just unearthed through an undercover operation a serious crime ring. Ajo and I looked confused and clueless on the screen that displayed this saga. The TV journalist gave it a screaming headline, which was scrolling at the base of the screen.
“Traffickers of albino body parts arrested on Tanzan road.” The OCPD said when he finally came on screen, “Our officer on patrol arrested these dangerous criminals. We have trailed them for some time, but we have not been successful. Today at dawn, the officers acting on a reliable tip-off from the members of the public made this very daring and significant arrest. These are notorious criminals who have been kidnapping small children mainly albinos and ferrying their body parts across the border to sell to witches to do witchcrafts. We shall meet them with the full force of the law.”
It bothered me a lot that Ajo was not saying anything, just shaking his head in wonderment sometimes whistling in disbelief as well. In my mind, I got thinking how the police was using the power of TV to ensure that our incarceration was completely beyond redemption. I imagined they had instructions to do this neatly even before our case could get a mention in court. I imagined how the judges having watched TV would be prejudiced and how our fate would have almost sealed with this TV exposure.
That evening, as we slept in a cold concrete police cell, fleas, louse and bedbugs feasting on us Ajo had slowly recovered from shock and he began to speak again. He said, “Thardy finish that story. Tell me about the last part of our story. Tell me about Amollo Okol. How did they fix him? Was it similar to our story?” Ajo always called me with that special name whenever he needed a small favor from me, you know like a sweet story.
However, this evening I was in no mood to tell any story. I did not want to tell Ajo that the same villagers Okol had uplifted so much broke into his shop and murdered him in cold blood. I did not want to reveal to him that the police who were accomplice to this murder were the same people investigating the same. I could not bring myself to tell him that they had paid Okol with pain and torture and humiliation. That would only make our stay in the cell more miserable so I chose to say nothing about Amollo Okol, the King of Kothacha.
In my mind, I considered something completely different. I wondered if these fellow remands had ever boarded the luxurious bus. If they ever stopped at the Valley View, point and drank wine and beer. This was particularly critical for me because I did not see any line imaginary or real that divided one prisoner and another on status, class, fame, or fortune. A prison cell I could now reveal was the ultimate equalizer better than the equator.
Later I slept very briefly-a deep twisted nap that complicated further my visit to Port Florence. It was just before dawn. I dreamt that election was over at Port Florence and post-election violence had started immediately the tallying computer had spewed fraudulent linear numbers stupidly. Instead of Joy and jubilation, it had brought in its aftermath chaos, human suffering, human displacement, and police brutality. Police officers occupied very empty space armed to the teeth at Port Florence.
In my dream, I saw an officer take aim and shoot at a child playing in the balcony. I saw a girl’s body fall lifeless like a bird hitting power lines at high speed. Then I saw the boy who was playing with the girl walking up to one police officer who was shooting people indiscriminately using human targets as practice objects to sharpen his skills on long-range shooting.
The boy stood in front of the police and said in an even voice, “I think the body bags you had stockpiled before the elections will soon run out. You may need replenishment urgently. See those ones are already rotting. Vultures are feeding on their eyes. Their relatives will have nothing to bury.” In my dream, I saw the police officer in Port Florence size up the boy. He directed the gun on his head, but the boy did not flinch. Instead, he said, “Go ahead and just do it, scatter my brains and eat it for pudding but it will not stop us from separating. Why are you afraid? Hate is holding you back because I have come to you with love. You see, for fifty years, it has been the same story. Hate that has made you profile all the people from Port Florence. The same hate that has made you practice ethnic cleansing here. Your boss is using you to further his agenda of exclusion, discrimination purely because of my creed and tribe. I am here to tell you that time is up it is over. Freedom is coming tomorrow. Can’t you see that flag, that flag we hoisted today in the pelvic hole of those rotting bodies.” The boy stopped talking and stood at ease arms akimbo in defiance.
The officer in my dream moved towards the flag, it was flapping joyously singing with the wind. The flag was singing the Kavirondo song. The officer moved closer to study it. It had a dark shade reminiscing the people here, the bright clouds at one corner was kissing the lake gently. In between where the silvery lake emerged, there was an ember and an emergence of a red sun signaling the break of a new dawn. At the base the officer could see the writing now very clearly. He read the words in the flag in capital-The Republic of Kavirondo and it sounded strange and bitter in his mouth. He turned around to face the radicalized boy again. The boy said, “We are divorcing you. This slavery like slave trade must end. It is abusive, stale, biased for far too long. We are breaking away; it is no use sticking together anymore.”
In my dream, I saw the officers face break into a cynical smile then he grinned then laughed loud and hard. Harder than the laughter, I had had in the mall the day before. Suddenly he changed swiftly, his face grim with anger the way Ajo had behaved at the mall. The officer beckoned the gunships and the tanks. They started rolling down flattening the uncollected bodies and smearing them on the tarmac as they rumbled ahead and took position. The boy stood still unmoved. Then there was a loud noise as if one of the planes flying over Port Florence had dropped a bomb. I shook my head and woke up from the dream, the deeply disturbing dream. I desperately wanted to share it with Ajo so I shook him to wake up.
Instead of sharing the dream and possibly seeking an interpretation, which was what was in my mind, I said something else completely different. I said, “Ajo, we need to prepare our defense. We really do need a lawyer and fast. We have a bad case in our hands”
The following day the Monday of the Pentecost, our time had come. In my mind, I considered the King’s triumphal re-entry into Port Florence.
“All rise,” the court orderly said and the people in the court obeyed including the King. Then he said, “This is the matter of Ajo Mbuta and Thadayo Makus and others verses the state case file number 34C.” He handed over the file to the prosecutor.
The prosecutor in his starch pressed uniform put a watertight case against us at Port Florence main court. He said, “Your honor this is a matter of grave National importance comparable only to some degree to the management of electoral process or bungled elections to be sure. The issues at hand are grave and concern human dignity, life and death. A case your honor becomes complex if it involves loss of life. The people before you have profited from exterminating life of law-abiding citizens. This they have done through a web of deep-rooted cold-hearten people. We shall need time to unravel it. Your honor I make a prayer before you that the two accused be remanded for a further two weeks to allow the investigating officers to complete the investigations.” The prosecutor rested his case.
The courtroom fell silent. I looked across the room and a saw our relatives Ajo and mine. I looked at Ajo’s wife in luxurious dressing exactly as those women I had seen in the luxurious bus. I wondered why it had not occurred to her that what we needed most at this time would be a good lawyer to get us out of jail instead of cat-walking in expensive clad revealing a lot of flesh. Inside me was a boiling volcano that wanted to erupt any minute to consume everyone especially after seeing my wife and Ajo’s. I wanted to shout at them and tell them that we were starving and sleeping on cold hard concrete. I desperately wanted to tell them this was no place to play seductive cards-it was no luxurious bus. Nevertheless, as you can already tell, time and tide waits for no man. I looked at Ajo and I saw the King’s lips pot and form as if he was sipping that nice coffee with sweet smelling aroma at the mall. In my head, I could hear the sounds and even the syllables of Fuuus…Kwooot…fuuus…kwoot, Fuuus…….
The judge looked up. He held file 34C in his hand. In a half a tick he said,” On the prayer of more time to investigate. The court finds the request reasonable. The mattes conversed are weighty. The court grants both prayers” He stopped mid-way in the sentence. Grief gripped my heart and my inner spirit bolted.
My mind drifted in a flash back to my weird dream of the night before. I could touch the radicalized boy in my thoughts. His words came back bouncing hard at me. Slavery, freedom, divorce, flag. As I tried to make sense of them, I could hear clearly the Kavirondo Song, loud and succinctly.
“Justice be our shield and defender..”
“Dwell in unity, peace and liberty..”
“Plenty be found within our borders..”
The judge raised the hammer and I knew time had come for him to auction our souls at the fall of the hammer. I wondered if he would do it to the highest bidder. At a closer look, I discerned that it was a gavel. The judge held it suspended in the air a sad look in his face. I could tell by the design of this gavel that it could in fact dispense justice to those who desire and deserve it. I willed him to do the right thing. I saw his arms that had hang in the air to infinitude began to descend as I waited my heart in my mouth. The gavel fell on the table and the court rose up in adjournment.