When Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, aka Riggy G, vowed to bring down the number of the ‘houses of men’, aka bars, to one per town in Mt Kenya region, he must have had Happy Valley countryside in his mind. Here, a man cannot dare speak in a meeting of men if he is not a registered member in one of the numerous ‘houses of men’ that dot Happy Valley.
Riggy G’s pronouncement sparked both cheers and jeers in the entire Aberdare countryside. In Happy Valley, the cheering squad constituted the women in general and, in particular, the wives of the men who belong to the ‘church of men’. They have since been celebrating the coming of freedom from the ‘slavery of the drink’ that has gripped their husbands.
In the evening of the day of the announcement, I was drinking hot water at Mrembo’s. In spite of my financial barrenness, I could not go home early because, as you can remember, Queen has banned me from going home before the future leaders are done with the homework and evening prayers. What Queen seems not to understand is that it is just a matter of time before I am back on my feet again, and the issue of my early arrival at the Palace would be an oral narrative.
But I digress.
The news on reducing the number of bars was received with great shock and consternation in Happy Valley.
“Whaaat? How? Where? When? Never! Riggy G has come too much! We are honest ‘men’ in legal businesses and we pay tax,” Mrembo said.
“This is the problem of having two church men at the top. We should have reserved one slot for a man of the ‘church of men’,” said professor, usually the voice of reason among the Happy Valley brotherhood.
“We need to send a high-ranking delegation of businesspeople to Gachagua. He is a reasonable man who will consider the economic implications of his political announcement,” said Mhesh.
“We are finished!” Mrembo complained.
Last Sunday, at around four in the afternoon, the peace and tranquillity of Happy Valley was rudely interrupted by a singing and dancing choir of women. You see, because of the reigning financial dry spell, most of the customers were taking hot water and therefore there was no noise. The choir could be heard so clearly.
“Freedom is coming tomorrow! Gachagua for president! Shetani Ashindwe! Ashindwe kabisaaa!” Everyone kept quiet. Mrembo went to the door to check who the singers were. At my reserved corner, I could clearly see the large choir of singers.
“Sema kimeumana! Now, what has Riggy G done to us? This is finishing us completely!” said Mhesh.
I was very sure I heard my Queen’s voice among the soloists. But, as a real African-Kenyan man, I could not show the slightest sign that my wife was there. Who does that? But from that moment, I knew what awaited me at the Palace that evening.
Later that night, very late in the night, I realised something unusual when I arrived at the Palace. The lights were on which told me that Queen had not slept. To entice me into being alert, she served me food and pretended that nothing was cooking. I did not buy her lie and waited for the hour of reckoning. As I hungrily took my late supper, Queen delivered the ‘sermon in the Palace’.
“Some people have eyes but they do not see. They have ears but they do not hear. But their days are now numbered. Freedom is coming soon,” Queen said. ‘Some people’ is Queen’s signature reference to me when she is in a fighting mood. I pretended that I did not know what she was referring to.
“What have the people done this time around?” I asked.
“You have abstained from your husbandly and fatherly responsibilities and become a permanent resident of that evil valley. You have become a visitor in your own house. I am eagerly waiting to see where you will go when that evil valley is closed down. Gachagua is on our side,” Queen lectured.
“I always wonder what women want! You told me to be coming home when the boys are through with their homework. When I respect your laws you start complaining. So, what do you want me to do now?” I answered.
“It is good Gachagua has identified the family killer in Mt. Kenya and he is determined to deal with it squarely. He is going to ‘arrange’ those who cannot be able to ‘arrange’ themselves. Our prayers have been heard and freedom is coming tomorrow!”
That is what Riggy G decided to do to us and we have been waiting to see how the game turns out. Time will tell.
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