Bills and Marriages

“Wololo…to say the truth, I never thought that madam could do such a thing. I have worked in this house hold since I quit high school, and as you can see, I’ve become an old man with children himself,”he said laughing out loud.

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Njenga wore rubber gumboots, faded khaki shorts and a white T-shirt he had acquired from political campaigns six  years ago. For the past two days there had been commotion about his boss’ home. The media always came to fish for information but were always chased of by Wande, the boss’ daughter. But today she was asleep, and the crew had offered him two thousand shillings to speak. They had promised that only his voice would appear on TV.

With two thousand shillings, he had five hundred bob to buy a round at the busaa joint, he could buy mama Wanjau the showl she had been coveting for the past few days and he could also afford a chicken for his family. Two thousand shillings was a good deal to speak out what everyone would know eventually.

They wanted to know the dynamics around the family.

“I have known the Melitas for twenty five years now. I had been working for John’s dad before he passed away and then John took over. I knew even before he married madam. They have always been happy together. I mean, they have four children, isn’t that a sign of a happy marriage or what? he he he….”

They wanted to know when trouble begun.

“My friend,”he said tapping the shoulder of one of the reporters, “Trouble always begins with the money. It is always the money. My mother always used to say that money is the root of all evil. But we can all do with a little evil in our lives….My boss got a job with the United Nations, they started calling him an expert, or was it exprastiate….I don’t know. All I know is that he was a big man making big money. Family trips were reduced from going to the country to going to Malindi, sometimes outside the country…My friend, my status even went high in my group. I was the employee of an expert..exprastiate, I could afford to buy a round of busaa myself…

Then my boss went away to Congo for a year. Madam could not go with him, she had her medical practice and their first born was graduating in the same year, they simply could not move yet. That was when the trouble started.

I understand why mheshimiwa did what he did. It is not easy for a man of his stature to be in a foreign country alone. Try to imagine mheshimiwa doing his own ironing, cooking and laundry, it is unimaginable. And taking on a maid to delegate duties to is also humiliating for mheshimiwa…You know, a man has certain needs that need to be fulfilled. There are certain tasks that only a woman can do. I mean, he and I are not on the same level, but even I have a woman to cater to my needs…”

“So you are saying he took on a lover?”asked one of the reporters.

“If you ask me, she was more than that. But nonetheless, that was how it started off. Ah…this woman, this woman knew her way about mheshimiwa. He was drunk with love for this woman. Not that he neglected his family, but it was evident when he came back that his heart was somewhere else. But you see, there was no mention of the Congolese, therefore there was no proof of infidelity.

Then the marriage bill came. It stated that under customary law, a man may take on a second wife without consent from the first. Most people would think mheshimiwa married in church or in a civil way, but theirs was ‘come we stay’ or is it ‘come we try’ as they youth call it nowadays.

When he heard of the bill, he did not wait, he was like a teenager in love. He told madam that he was bringing in a second wife, and that the law backed him.

Madam knew that they would have a heated argument that night, so she sent the children to he sister’s place nearby. Mama Wanjau, my wife, was in the house cooking dinner when the debate started. They like their privacy you see, so when the argument got heated, madam came to the shed to bring me my dinner. We were seated by the fire when we heard mheshimiwa shouting at his wife to stop. The she was screaming at the top of her lungs. we rushed into the house to find mheshimiwa John on the floor, in a pool of his own blood, with the madam on top of him with the knife still in her hands…”

There were gasps from the media as the cameras flashed.

“Weh, si we agreed that there would be no photographs?”

“Michael, put that thing away,” hissed a reporter at the camera man.

Suddenly there was commotion in the main house. Wande was awake.

“Eh…the young madam is awake, I have to go. She specifically told us not to talk to you and I, for one, like my job a lot.”

With that, Njenga picked his bucket and rushed off into the cowshed as if nothing had happened.

Little did he know that he was going to become an overnight sensation, and a witness against someone he had cared for over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

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