Why we are not allowing Caro to go back to Maskwembe


As for me, Maskwembe had created a big financial dent in my pocket.

Photo credit: John Nyaga | Nation Media Group

When word reached Maskwembe, the illegal husband of my sister Caro, of what we were plan-ning for him, he panicked.

I call him illegal because he acquired her illegally, never visited us to ask for her hand in marriage, and has never paid a penny for the comfort that Caro gives, the company, not to mention the children. I knew he had panicked because I started hearing things from people which I knew he was the one who told them.

Unfortunately for him, he had picked the wrong people — like Kuya, my nemesis at school and a man who should never have been allowed in a classroom anywhere on earth. He brought up the topic in the staffroom on Wednesday. Although schools are yet to open, we had gone to school as a donor was delivering desks. We chatted as we waited for the guest of honour to arrive. “I have never understood men who want to profit from their sisters,” Kuya started. “I am talking about men who believe their brothers-in-law are ATMs. Someone is rescuing you from your sister and instead of appreciating that person, you demand a lot of money from him.”

“I hear you, Kuya,” responded Mrs Atika. “But I don’t think any pay is too much for us. We are invaluable and if a man wants us, he must pay through the nose. My father was a tough man and my husband paid a fortune. Because of that, he knows my true worth and respects me.”

“Paying dowry is outdated and barbaric,” said Lena.  “We women are not objects to be haggled over like cows.”

Kuya went on: “After I got mistreated when looking for a wife, I vowed to help any man whose wife’s family is unreasonable.”

I did not need a calculator to know that he would be on Maskwembe’s side, and this made me angry. Choosing Kuya was a bad idea and Maskwembe would regret it.

In the meantime, back home, preparations to host Maskwembe and his people were going on well. With my brother Ford, we had been pruning my father’s fence, uprooting tree stumps and generally making the home presentable.

We had sat down with my father and Caro and come up with a budget of what was to be bought. They included soda, chicken, wheat flour, beef, fruits, mineral water, etcetera. Caro had insisted that we add a crate of beer. We were waiting for Maskwembe to send the money and we would buy all that was needed. You see, a few years ago, we burnt our fingers terribly when we spent over Sh30,000 on food only for the visiting husband of my sister Yunia to give an envelope with Sh7,000!

“What kind of man is this?” Complained my father. “How do you give less money than even what you and your people ate?”

Since then, we made a decision that male-in laws would have to pay for food in advance. They were the ones interested in our daughter, anyway.

Meanwhile, Caro, Mwisho wa Lami’s Minister for Misinformation, Miscommunication and Broadcasting had been telling and inviting everyone to her post-wedding, as she called it. She had even gone to a fundi and “measured” a new dress, not to mention inviting two of her friends who arrived on Wednesday to help her prepare for the big day.

By Friday, my illegal brother-in-law had not sent anything, with Caro telling us every day that he would. I got worried when by Friday afternoon, Maskwembe had not shaken my M-Pesa. I called Caro and told her the risky situation we were in.

She told me she had spoken to her illegal husband and was sure that he would send it. “Kuwa mpole, Dre,” she said. “Maskwembe may not be a very good person, but he is not that bad!”

By evening, some vendors started calling me. The person who was to provide tents and chairs told me that if we did not pay a deposit, he would give someone who also had a function. I had to send him a deposit of Sh3,000. The chicken seller also called to say he may not have chicken by Saturday morning. I sent him Sh2,000 and asked him to bring seven chickens. Caro also told me they needed to prepare chapatis and mandazis overnight and she asked me to buy wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar among others. I did, as I knew I would get refunded once my illegal brother-in-law sent me the money.

In the evening, my father, Ford, and I called Caro to express our fear as to whether Maskwembe would come since he had not sent us any money. Caro assured us that she had spoken to him and that he had promised to send the money that evening. She asked us to be patient and hopeful. I kept looking at my phone hoping for an M-Pesa message. Nothing came.

The invited guests started arriving very early, with Nyayo and his wife Anindo being the first to arrive. At around 8 am, I received a call from an unknown number. The caller wanted to speak to my father. It was Maskwembe’s uncle.

 He was calling to say that Maskwembe had fallen ill and could not make it.“What do you mean ‘postpone’?” my father asked him angrily. “Why did you not tell us earlier? What about the mon-ey we have already spent?” He asked.

The man told him he would get back to us on whether we would be refunded. He is yet to call back.

Tears were rolling down Caro’s cheeks as we dismantled the tent while eating the chapatis they had made. Another call came later. The caller identified himself as Maskwembe’s brother. He said that being sick, Maskwembe needed someone to take care of him, “and so can you ask Caro to go back to take care of him”?

“Don’t worry about the dowry, it will be done as soon as he is ok, it is something that he is com-mitted to.  You have no idea how he wants to. But he now needs his wife to take care of him,” he said. Caro appeared ready to consider going back, but my father said a big and firm No: “Dare you to leave this home. That man is a big joke.”

As for me, Maskwembe had created a big financial dent in my pocket. What I was sure of was that it was Kuya who was advising him. My illegal brother-in-law has no ability to think or do such. Kuya will pay dearly for this and more! And the money I used will be added on the dowry, with interest!