Kenyan men lie a lot

Men lie a lot because they can.

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ManTalk: Men lie just because they can

When it rains, the monitor lizard runs to seek shelter and plunges into a river to avoid getting wet. Apart from him, you will only get this kind of wisdom from a woman in love.

Women, pull up a chair and arrange yourselves by the value of your wigs. I come from the desert bearing good news: the truth. Tax free. For now.

But first, a confession. I have been trying to get some documents stamped in some government office, but verily I say unto you—it is easier to milk a tortoise. I would go there (to the office, not the tortoise), and find the secretary, some kitambi-laden 40-something-year-old, standing in that theatrical Nairobian manner, the one where you are suspicious of his more-or-less true story. Every time, he would tell me there was no ink for the stamp, serikali is broke, so if I could help serikali buy ink, serikaliitarudisha mkono.

The irony is that the office has a big sign outside screaming: ‘This is a corruption-free zone’ (my personal opinion is that the ‘r’ is silent but whatever). That makes me think we have accepted corruption as a way of life, hence the dedicated zones where you can take a break from corruption. Weuh.

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It is written. Men can lie. Men lie. I do not want to set a hare running but if you have interacted with a silver-tongued man, with a beard and Sauvage Dior perfume for garnishing then you know it was only fair Lucifer was banished from the Garden of Eden for lying. You can believe me because a) I live in Kilimani’s Lavingware (lower Lavington, upper Kawangware) and b) I don’t lie on Saturdays. Mostly. Si it’s me who is telling you.


Recently, there was drama in one of my social circles when a friend of a friend finally got to the end of the rope. He had convinced this middle-aged woman that he loved her—convinced because we all know he loves pretty young things, naïve and wide-eyed like they have just popped out of the womb. What does he bring to the table? Connecting beards, KRA nil returns and a strong hand in bed-minton; a man among men. He was not of her class—broke and “kuna-deal-flani-nangojea” si you lend me a quick 150K?—but location, location, location. Besides, there are no jobs in this country and if my TikTok therapist is to be believed, then relationships are work.

Anyway, madam fell in love but she forgot that the heart of a man is like the kingdom of heaven: in my father’s house there are many rooms. She got the master bedroom, yes, but there were other rooms in there, teeming with much younger girls. Some rooms even had two or three! Suffice it to say, my boy is now a hobo. As for madam, kilimramba! Nairobi is not for love; Nairobi is for business and memes and naenda hivi nakam.

I have a theory that maybe women like being lied to. Prefer liars. It’s in how they suspend their faculties. Remember the Quickmart thieves who were caught? Just men. And the KCB bank heist? All men. Have you ever seen a woman get caught for laxity? No, yes? Exactly. (Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.) Women are so good at playing the game that they even caught the wrong Mathe wa Ngara (shoutout).

Do you know the most common question women ask men? It’s simple: What are we? Guess the most common question men ask women. No. Not that one (but yes she has kids). Anyway, the question is: Would I lie to you, babes?

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He is lying of course, or at least not telling you the truth. Maybe my privilege is showing but when did women become this desperate for love? Affirmation? Attention?


I am no saint either. Contrary. There is nothing that I haven’t lied about. My age. My qualifications. Even that time this girl asked me whether she was the best I ever had (she wasn’t, but this country has already done enough to crush her self-esteem). A little lying is not bad. I once told my boss he has great taste in shoes (he doesn’t, but guess who got a raise?). My mama mboga knows if she wasn’t a mama mboga she would be a surgeon with the way she dissects my sukuma wiki. In fact, we can even say I started lying kitambo. I remember the first time I wrote about my father, in a composition class by Tr Jerusha entitled *drumrolls* ‘My Father.’ I finished the composition with, ‘…out of all the rest, my father is the best.’ Little white lies? Yes, but these are lies that build a nation.

I have come to understand that those who feel most betrayed by the lies of lovers are those with the most unrealistic expectations of truthfulness. And if you want to know who is most likely to believe the lies they shouldn’t are those who tell themselves the biggest lie of them all: “I don’t lie.”

I have no hard feelings about all the lies my parents told me so they could believe in themselves: “You can be whatever you want to be.” “Life gets easier.” “KRA are doing this for you.”

Sweety, give a man the benefit of the doubt and you will realise why the doubt was there in the first place. Sister, the kingdom suffereth violence! Asking a Kenyan man to tell you the truth is like asking the queen for her bra size.

Look, men lie to you so that they can lie with you before lying about you. We are all a hall of mirrors, smoke screens, reflections of nothing but appearances in a city dedicated to seeming. Wahenga said it right: umdhaniye ndiye, siye. Of course, many men do not lie; I am not saying I do not but I know many.

Eneke the bird, wrote Achebe, says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching. Relationships have become a moving target, and men have become shapeshifters, acute judges of what is popular, able to trim their sails to fit their circumstances, to be whatever is needed. Usiweke kwa roho.

Worrying about men lying is like worrying whether the sun will come up. The truth is, men lie because they can. Because they want. And Kenyan men lie a lot. I mean, just look at our presid…oh.