KENYA SUMAKU

"Our mission is to…Open the hidden perspectives"

TWO COCKERELS AND A PEARLY GATE

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on August 31, 2009

David Ogake retraced his steps home to join his two children that evening deeply troubled by the events of the day. Not that it had been a day out of the ordinary, but what he had seen at the shopping centre troubled him. He suddenly found his eyes getting teary and being a man, he fought back the tears by peering into the horizon while bitterly biting his lower lip. He remembered how he had lost his young and beloved wife during the fighting immediately after the elections of 2007. It was a gory sight that almost turned him into a zombie. They had just cooked their evening meal of ugali, omena and sukuma wiki and were about to eat when someone raised the alarm. The suddenness of the screams literary cut through their bowels. As they dashed out to investigate what was happening, they saw several houses on fire. One of the houses on fire belonged to their aunt who lived a few metres away. Mrs. Ogake also raised the alarm and shouted that her aunt’s house was on fire. The little children followed suit, forcing Mr. Ogake to go back and pick them up at the door.

Unknown to them, the arsonists were coolly walking towards them in the darkness and because she was screaming loudly, she became an easy target; she was hit by an arrow, cried in pain and as she tried to run away was cut severally with matchettes until she got decapitated. Her assailants then walked over to the house, store and cattle stall and put them on fire too. The man initially thought of dashing to her aid but discovered he was hopelessly outnumbered and he had no weapon at hand anyway. Mr. Ogake became a spectator from behind a bush as his dear wife and mother of two children was killed in cold blood. The arsonists rushed on, keen to burn more houses. Mr. Ogake left his two kids momentarily and rushed to see if his wife was alive but found she had grown cold. They could not cry out aloud for fear of attracting the attackers once again. The younger of his two children was too young to understand so he started crying because he was hungry. The father was at a loss as to what to do. The house was burning and food was going to be a long time coming because even the maize in the store was now burnt.

As he pleaded with the baby to keep quiet, he remembered that he had some fruit trees just outside his compound. He went and groping in the dark, managed to pluck a ripe avocado. He fed the children on the avocado and then used his jacket to cover them up for warmth. Instructing them to keep quiet, he crept to the body. All this time, his slain wife’s body lay on the pathway where she had met her death. All around them was mayhem, homes were burning and people were running helter-skelter. He heard another sharp cry pierce the night. Oh! They have killed me, oh help me please, help, heeelp! Not a soul answered that desperate cry. Soon the victim went silent too, probably dead or dying.

As soon as the halo of the rising sun started shining in the horizon, he carried the smaller child on his shoulders and tugged the older along. He cautiously set off towards the police station which was some kilometers away. Every time he heard voices approaching, he ducked into a bush and only came out when the speakers were safely away. After walking for about an hour, he finally encountered some neighbours also running for refuge at the police station. This development was of little comfort because his wife’s torso lay dead in the bushes behind the cinders of what was once their house. Her head lay a few inches away. The more he recalled the situation he had left behind, the faster he walked towards the police station. He let out a loud and prolonged cry of anguish once at the gate of the police station and requested for security to collect his wife’s body. Nobody heard him at first because of the large number of people and the accompanying cacophony. He was beyond caring, so he strode to the door of the police station and made his demand. The policeman told him his case was not unique. There were many with similar tales, so he needed to be patient and wait as arrangements were made…
– – –
As he makes porridge for the children tonight, he realizes that there is not even a spoonful of sugar. Not that it matters anyway, the children have no problem taking porridge without sugar. Having fed the children thus, he puts them to sleep. They share the same bed with the children and its made of some gunny bags sewn together. Because they had been playing all day with other children in the camp, they soon are fast asleep. He too is tired having walked all day looking for any kind of manual work he could do to raise some money without success. “There are just too many of us for the available jobs, so tribe has become the primary determinant of suitability for the available jobs,” he muses. Not that it never had been, but now even the few school places available are distributed to tribesmen first!

With these troubles on his mind, he is soon fast asleep. Then he sees a bright light in the heavens. The lights are shining from the pearly gates and the Angel is standing there. Just outside the gate, are two men crawling on their knees. One is wearing a leopard skin hat which looks familiar and he is clean shaven. The leopard spots on the hat look fresh although the hat looks well worn. He wears glasses with a dark rim too. The other man looks even older with dreary looking eyes and carries a fly whisk. He keeps a goatee which goes all round the face and tapers in a characteristic manner at the chin. He has a loud and sonorous voice, and keeps swinging his fly whisk this way and that to emphasize a point here and there.

Then another man appears from beyond the pearly gate. He is almost clean shaven, of light build, and keeps a neatly trimmed mustache. His hair is all white and he speaks with a shrill voice. He is in a simple collarless gray suit which also looks familiar. Because his back is to the source of light, he can see the crawling duo, but they are dazzled by the light behind him and cannot see him well.

In the silence of that night, he asked in that shrill voice, “pray, may you tell me what you two gentlemen are doing?” As soon as the one with a fly-whisk heard the shrill voice, he said “ah, so its you my brother, its good to see that you are the one”, congratulations! But, knowing as you do that I was removed from earth before you, how then did you get into the gates ahead of me? That was unfair!”

The mustachioed one answered, “that decision was not in my hands”!

Then the wielder of the fly-whisk said: “You know very well that I am the one and only liberator of my people, who adored me and still wish I could pay them a visit to date. You understand the situation here; nobody is allowed to go back on earth and my knees are tired because of this thing I should have left behind called gout. You also know very well that I ruled my people firmly and used the cane generously on any minister who fell out of the plumbline. I set a firm foundation for the nation by keeping it on a development trajectory based on a strong agricultural economy. You do remember that I was a trail-blazer in agriculture and land acquisition till I was hurriedly removed from the world before I could enhance my farming activities further.”

The mustachioed one interjected, “No! You lie there, because you set a firm slab for your own house but forgot that the foundation was on quicksand!” The angel just came back with macabre reports about the events that happened recently. The angel said everybody is convinced that you are the one who sowed the seed that bore an abundance of the fruit of bitterness.”

The wielder of the fly whisk was piqued. He shouted in that strong voice, “listen to me!”

“If I get a hold of the person saying that, he will see. I have many options… ”

The mustachioed one interrupted, “No, you have no options, you cannot go back now!”

Serialization to be continued on Monday 6th September, 09…

© 2009. Tony Mongare

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