A conversation I had with some friends recently on Facebook went something like this:
Jerry: These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals
Me: Hio ni sawa kabisa…In keeping with our national pastime off having asides and deserts following the main meal! Hahaha! She said in her supporting affidavit that she needed to hit the iron when still hot…i.e before he is interred…Her trump card!
Willis: I think we are in a material oriented society. What about other men of less economic status? Almost nobody goes to claim anything when they die. Also, we are in a society where we lack strict laws on marriage, inheritance, Wills, Estates, etc etc.Undercover babies
As you might have already guessed…Yes! It was us Kenyans engaged in another favorite pastime….In the bar, at home, on street corners (I saw a lot of mini Kamukunjis in the city, Nairobi, when I last visited just before the elections…and nice little benches to laze on and chat that also ironically say on the backrest…”I will not just sit here…”!). We were discussing current events (more affairs than gossip…affairs has a ring of highbrow intellect being engaged!) and lending the discussion our own wild suppositions and explanations for the state of affairs…a death in the family called Kenya. In this case it was the untimely death (when is it ever timely?) of the said distinguished lawyer turned politician Mutula Kilonzo.
The reason why his passing caused a stir is in part because we had just come out of a bruising election and he was on the side that lost. The losing side was and still is trying to make sense of that loss and any scapegoat will do. In this case, it was being whispered that he has been “eliminated”. And that sinister dark forces that oddly resembled the government of the day and probably the Dalai Lama or Maradonna (remember his famous Hand of God?), must have had a hand in it…all in preparation for the return match set for 2017 by eliminating whatever and whoever looked like a formidable foe!
But that was not even the core of our discussion…We have since moved from shock and grief and crocodile tears and playing Sherlock Holmes by offering our “elementary” theories of how Mutula died…to now a more seedy and corpulent topic. That Mutula Kilonzo while serving the nation so opulently and in distinguished manner, may have found time to sow wild oats in his backyard that resulted in a little boy being born. Oh boy!…Is there a topic that gets our juices going and tongues wagging more than one where a clande relationship is nakedized for all to see and savor Now we know who he really is, we bellow! We have seen his underwear…sorry underbelly! And all that pseudo-intelligence cum political talk we earlier had on how a great reformist mind and sturdy mugumo has been felled by dark ninja forces, is forgotten. So lets talk about sex nooow!…undercover sex and how oops!…babies can also be the unintended consequence!
I have only the greatest respect for this distinguished son of Kenya who led an iconic life. He was smart, and is the only lawyer within the Kenyan legal fraternity that a colleague said he ever heard expound on the law of unintended consequences; and his life story reads like the great novel Angela’s Ashes, a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt. I read a long piece on Mutula, written by one journalist, Emeka, in a local daily, and whose writing I admire for its depth and research, in which he chronicles Mutula’s journey from his indigent village life, through school and hard work, making much moolah along the way, and right back to the magnificent Valhalla he built as his getaway, and at which ironically he exited the earth! But by the time Emeka wrote his piece, the woodwork was still intact and Nthenya had not busted through to thicken the plot with claims that she wants to tell us another part of the story! She had a son with Mutula all seven years ago and before the soil is settled on his cenotaph and the ink dry on the will…would they please add a nota bene and include her son!?
All this remains unsubstantiated and it is all conjecture of course, until the DNA results are in. A pointed aspect of the discussion however, was on how he Mutula had now sunk low in the eyes of some of those who held him in high esteem as a morally upright person and whose life and success is a testament to how it is possible to be rich, famous and a politician and still be an example to others. One other friend weighed in on the discussion saying: “This man was all form and no substance. Let no one tell me about speaking ill of the dead.I’m getting more disgusted with Mutula with each passing day.This one about hobnobbing with his herdsman’s daughter…a girl much younger than Kethi…..eish!”
Women were more incensed because this has become the norm rather than the exception in our society where men shirk their responsibility of looking after the children that are born after the nice time of making them is a long forgotten faint memory that does not cause a stir in their groin anymore! My friend Esther was livid and had this to say: “Eunice Nthenya is a daughter to the late Mutula’s herdsman/ranch hand. I am trying to imagine how he approached & seduced her. Or was she just delivered by her father? Mutula paid Ksh 4,000 for maternity fees for Eunice child, his son… a princely sum indeed maybe at a local hospital or Pumwani. But…. he paid Ksh700,000 to feed the lions (PER MONTH!!)…so there you go..value for money, I tell you….. so Kenyans where do we go from here??? We need to hold our leaders accountable for their private immorality. After all we are funding their lavish livelihoods. Give the politicians their raise but they should live in a moral and transparent manner, failure to which they should be disrobed of their positions.”
Private Immorality! Now that is a new one. How is that and is it allowed? My friend is angry and indeed echoes the sentiments of many women who will no doubt be livid to hear of the lions eating well and yet the mother and child are left to fend for themselves. In Nthenya’s case, it is being suggested by mathematicians who did the quick mental sum that she was underage (15!) and did not know any better and did not have the wherewithal to make ends meet. This is even more annoying according to many, considering that the person involved here as the supposed father is wealthy beyond our wildest imagination! He had lions and gazelles and other wildlife for pets for crissake and he fed them!
But before we rush to judge Mutula so harshly, there is the other side of the coin that alleges that women we have also become not very different from the lions that he fed!…And that we go into these clandestine escapades knowing full well that the man is taken..He has a wife or wives and children to boot! What ever also happened to the pill…and now there is even an I-forgot-morning after-the-white-night pill? Can we still say it was an accident when the belly begins to grow? We then wait in the wings for the cue…most usually when the man is completely died and dead…and just before he is buried…then we tokelezea with the immutable exhibit of a child or children in tow to claim a share for “the children”!
A local daily quoted Nthenyas affidavit as saying that: “Ms Nthenya has sworn an affidavit to the effect that she was in a relationship with the late Makueni Senator between 2005 and 2008 and that he was the biological father of the minor who was born on May 5, 2006 in Makueni”. It is the child’s natural right to share the father’s wealth with the other siblings. It is in order therefore that the paternity test be conducted with speed and expediency to enable this child legally claim his fair share of the father’s wealth”
Speed and expediency! What speed now when we had all the time in the world to get matters fixed…birth certificates, wills and testaments and all that good stuff while everyone is still feeling lovey dovey. Maybe there is a lesson here that each time you are with a clande in a tight embrace and the with intentions of making immutable consequences called babies, pluck some of his hair and store well for future DNA purpose! But how about we also use the same wiles we used when the man is still alive to get ourselves situated…a business, a job…anything that will make you self sufficient and independent and strong…instead of waiting to potentially make a joke of yourself before the entire world…asking for a Shylockean pound of DNA to prove that indeed, apart from the forehead, ears and fingers looking a lot like the dear departed, science will also bear you out?
As a friend, Willis, said at the top of this article, women seem more Machiavellian when they arrive later to claim that they are acting for the children. That there are never cases of women chasing after poor men…only the rich and famous. I don’t know that such cases do not exist because we would not hear about them. Poor peoples stories never make it into the big media unless it turns tragic or comic. Readers and the public in general like to read about a rags to riches story..or riches to rags, but not about people who are just poor and whose lives seem to be going nowhere. Frank McCourt’s story in Angela’s Ashes only becomes interesting because he rose from abject poverty in Ireland and found his way to America the land of dreams and fulfillment. We empathize with stories such as these because they mirror our hopes and aspirations. So Willis that is the irredeemable fact, It is a material world and women now also know their rights. If the case cannot be made when the rich and powerful man is alive, then they will wait for when his torch has dimmed and the family is at its weakest, to step forward and lay their demands.
Will Nthenya’s addition to the story be the final epilogue to the unwritten ode of Mutula’s life…or should we expect an addendum(s) and more ibid, sic footnotes?…Or even part two and three…and four…as separate rejoinders and or as replies to the original manuscript? That is most likely never gonna happen because the drama is now over and the story is almost complete. We the interested bystanders will also have long moved on (okay…I know I might be boxed in the ears for that phrase by recovering poll losers but its for lack of a better one and also being Kenyan…!). We will have already found another sumptuous topic to mutilate with our forks and scythes which we always have at the ready! Linturi’s case is waiting in the wings. And the other guy..an MP also and whose 40 year old son wants to be counted as part of his brood!
We are never idle. My niece Yvonne gave me a nice phrase that describes how we roll us Kenyans…”We don’t idle well” and as Jerry said at the start of our conversation “These are signs of our times. Posthumous scandals”!
Catch up with the story here…or you will be the green horn at the bar discussion!:
©njeriOsaak Is a trained journalist, a Public Relations professional and a College Speech Communication teacher, currently based in the United States.