Thursday, March 3, 2011

A KONKODI IN STATE HOUSE! (Part 1)


Previously, we saw a konkodi get elected into the presidency. Let’s go to State House and see how he’s getting on. Your host: Alexander Nderitu.

 It’s late. A blanket of darkness envelopes the president’s official residence in Nairobi on this, the night of his inauguration. Yes, the mansion is as majestic as ever. Yes, the paramilitary State House GSU and the Presidential Escort Unit guard the property. And, yes, the dreamy fountains improve the aesthetics by competing to see which one can spout water the highest. But there’s a fly in the ointment, a blot on the escutcheon. Outside the gate, there’s a long, winding line of youths waiting to be admitted into the compound. State House looks more like Carnivore on a Saturday night. A beste of the konkodi-turned-president is charging two-hundred-and-fifty shillings for admission. He is wearing a matatu conductor’s uniform and chewing miraa as he goes about his business.

Beste at the Gate: Madam, hauna pesa ndogo? Change imeleta mezesha.
Young woman: Zi - sina pesa zingine.
Beste at the Gate: Sawa tu, ingia.
A young man is next in line and he doesn’t have loose change, either.
Beste at the Gate: Hauna jongo, dadi?
Young Man: Zi.
Beste at the Gate: Basi enda ukatafute, alafu urudi.
Young Man: Wacha madharau – si huyo manzi ameingia na amelipa so rwabe peke
yake?
Beste at the Gate: Ishia ama niambie yule karao akuwai risasi! Raundi hii, hatucheki
na watu!

Meanwhile, reggae music can be heard emanating from the mansion, the inauguration party is in full swing. On entering, a visitor would be forgiven for thinking that he has stepped into a night club: coloured lights abound, a fog machine occasionally belches out thick clouds of chilled steam, a DJ with headphones clamped to his head spins the ‘wheels of steel’, tables and chairs have been pushed back to create a dance floor, skimpily-clad college girls and intoxicated young boys sway to the music, 40-inch Flatron TVs have been placed in the corners, a glass ball dangling from the ceiling rotates slowly. Media personalities are also ‘in da house’ – but they are only allowed to ‘ji-enjoy’, not report (Hey, it’s a party!) At one corner, a bevy of beauties swoon over multiple-award-winning TV presenter Swaleh Mdoe, who is dapper as ever. One girl, wearing blue jeans that are sticking to her legs like a second skin is especially besotted:

Besotted Girl: I really like your Kiswahili sanifu, as in the way you speak…And
those suits! As in, do you ever wear the same suit twice?
Mdoe: Wacha nikusimulie hadidhi moja ya ajabu niliyohadidhiwa na babu yangu…
But the popular presenter isn’t the only one basking in female attention. The konkodi/president himself is sitting in a deep leather sofa, being hand-fed diced nyama choma by a model-type girl hot enough to aid global warming. The Presidential Advisor is not amused.
Presidential Advisor: Mr. President, this is scandalous. The founding father of the
nation must be turning in his grave! If a stranger entered here, he’d think that Swaleh Mdoe is the president – he’s dressed better than you are.
Konkodi: Manze, wacha kuwika kila mara! Kila kitu kina ma-time zake – huu ni
wakati wa kula hepi.
Presidential Advisor: Listen, I’ve been reading Raila Odinga’s book, Raila: An
Enigma in Kenyan Politics, and I think that we should start working on a book for you. Remember that Moi also had a book, Moi: The Making of An African Statesman. Books are excellent for P.R. purposes.
Konkodi: Ikiwa unataka kuandika mbuku, hiyo ni poa, lakini mimi sisomangi kitu
ingine is’pokua Matatu Today, nadhani unaimesea.
At this opportune moment, TV journalist Ali Mtenzi enters the house and is visibly amused. A string of girls is going around dancing mgithi-style while the DJ plays Sean Paul’s ‘Get Busy’: ‘Shake that thing Miss Kana Kana / Shake that thing Miss Annabella / Shake that thing Miss Donna Donna…’
Mtenzi: N-a-a-a-a-am! Hizi ndizo kukurukakara za kisiasa-a-a-a-a-a!
Presidential Advisor: Great! The press is going to have a field day now! This is
going to the shortest presidency in history!
Mtenzi (sticking a microphone at the konkodi): Mtukufu Rais, una yapi ya kusema-a-
a-a-a?
Konkodi: Usiniletee! Mimi nilisema mtu yeyote anaweza kamu lakini agenda ni kula
hepi sio kuleta kasheshe!
Mtenzi: Mmmmmm! Siasa za wanasiasa-a-a-a-a!
Fed up, the konkodi lets out a whistle reminiscent of his matatu days and P-Guards (Presidential Guards) appear from nowhere and whisk the intrepid interviewer away.
Konkodi: Mpelekeni nje avute pumz!
Mtenzi (as he is carried away): Lo! Sheria huku ni kama zile za ukoloni-i-i-i-i-i!
As Mtenzi goes out, the konkodi’s two closest buddies come in, having had enough fun driving the presidential limo around the fountain in turns.
Presidential Advisor: Mr President, I know they’re your friends, but do they have to drive the limo? You already have a chauffer.
Konkodi: Hawa ni madere wa squad. Hivyo ndivyo wamezoea.
The mabeste come up to the president, ngota him and then flop into nearby chairs. One of them, Beste #1, casually drapes one leg over an armrest like a leopard dangling its tail over a tree branch. Another one, Beste #2, pulls out a handful of miraa and starts chewing on it.
Presidential Advisor: Miraa in State House? Beer was bad enough but miraa? We
are going down, Mr. President. It’s apocalypse now.
Beste #2: Kwani kuchonga veve ni hatia? God made veve, man made beer. Who do you
trust - God or man?
Presidential Advisor: Wisdom of the wise.
Beste #2: Thank you.
Presidential Advisor: I was being sarcastic.
Meanwhile, Beste #1 is checking out the ‘talent’ in the house. He spies Swaleh Mdoe tossing ‘babu’ anecdotes to an audience of beauties and lets out a long whistle:
Beste #1: We, Swaleh! Sambaza ma-dame kadhaa upande huu!
The Advisor stares at Beste #1 as if the latter is an alien creature.
Presidential Advisor: I can’t believe that you made him the State House Comptroller.
He’s a fish out of water. I know he’s your “beste” and all, but the Comptroller’s position is no joke – he’s our equivalent of the White House Chief of Staff! Do you know what he has done to the office? He’s plastered stickers all over the walls! And they don’t even have sober messages like ‘JESUS SAVES’, they say stuff like ‘WENYE WIVU WAJINYONGE’ and ‘NINGEKUKOPESHA LAKINI NAOGOPA KUKUDAI.’
Konkodi: Eh, nilizicheki. Huyu jama huwa cartoon saa zingine!
Presidential Advisor: With all due respect, Your Excellency, it is no laughing matter.
Your friends are going to land us in hot soup one of these days. As indeed will some of your recent appointments. I mean, Julie Gichuru as the head of the Presidential Press Service? I know she’s a qualified media practitioner but I highly doubt that that was the reason why you chose her.
Konkodi: Sitakuficha - huyo dame hunijazz!
Presidential Advisor: You do know that she’s married, don’t you?
Konkodi: Mapenzi ni kipofu.
As the DJ plays Beenie Man’s ‘King of the Dancehall’, a State House aid informs the president that he has a phone call from America.
Konkodi: Ni nani?
Aid: Senator Barrack Obama, Your Excellency.
Konkodi: Sawa – leta simu.
He’s handed a wireless phone.
Konkodi: Obama? Vipi,bro?
Obama: Your Excellency, I just wanted to offer my congratulations with regard to your
stunning election victory. It is my hope that your administration will not only maintain strong ties with the United States of America but also reach out to other nations as we all move toward a more companionable future.
Konkodi: Poa, poa.
Obama: It is also my hope that your administration will downplay the ethnicity that I saw
when I was on tour in Africa.
Konkodi: Kwanza, wewe hua kabila gani? Juu anakaa kama maasai.
Obama: Sorry, could you come again?
Konkodi: Which tribe are you?
Obama: My father was Luo but in the United States of America, tribe is of no
consequence. God bless the United States! It’s the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!
Konkodi: Kabla hujaanza kuropokwa, ile mizinga inaitwa “Senator” ni yako?
Obama: What? “mzingi”? “mzinga”? What’s that?
Konkodi: Mizinga – spirits, alcoholic drinks.
Obama: Oh! Good Lord, no! I don’t own any spirits in Kenya.
Konkodi: Sawa, basi – ni vile tuu nilis’kia watu wakiita “Senator” “Obama”.
Obama: Well I hope that clears the air. Thanks for indulging me, Mr. President. I look
forward to cordial relations with your administration. God bless America!’
The konkodi hangs up the phone. Beenie Man’s song is still playing “…Welcome the King of the Dance Hall!...”
DJ (working up the crowd): Mo fire! Mo fire!
Presidential Advisor: What did the Senator of the State of Illinois have to say?
Press Service? I know she’s a qualified media practitioner but I highly doubt that that was the reason why you chose her.
Konkodi: Sitakuficha - huyo dame hunijazz!
Presidential Advisor: You do know that she’s married, don’t you?
Konkodi: Mapenzi ni kipofu.

As the DJ plays Beenie Man’s ‘King of the Dancehall’, a State House aid informs the president that he has a phone call from America.

Konkodi: Ni nani?
Aid: Senator Barrack Obama, Your Excellency.
Konkodi: Sawa – leta simu.
He’s handed a wireless phone.
Konkodi: Obama? Vipi,bro?
Obama: Your Excellency, I just wanted to offer my congratulations with regard to your
stunning election victory. It is my hope that your administration will not only maintain strong ties with the United States of America but also reach out to other nations as we all move toward a more companionable future.
Konkodi: Poa, poa.
Obama: It is also my hope that your administration will downplay the ethnicity that I saw
when I was on tour in Africa.
Konkodi: Kwanza, wewe hua kabila gani? Juu anakaa kama maasai.
Obama: Sorry, could you come again?
Konkodi: Which tribe are you?
Obama: My father was Luo but in the United States of America, tribe is of no
consequence. God bless the United States! It’s the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!
Konkodi: Kabla hujaanza kuropokwa, ile mizinga inaitwa “Senator” ni yako?
Obama: What? “mzingi”? “mzinga”? What’s that?
Konkodi: Mizinga – spirits, alcoholic drinks.
Obama: Oh! Good Lord, no! I don’t own any spirits in Kenya.
Konkodi: Sawa, basi – ni vile tuu nilis’kia watu wakiita “Senator” “Obama”.
Obama: Well I hope that clears the air. Thanks for indulging me, Mr. President. I look
forward to cordial relations with your administration. God bless America!’

The konkodi hangs up the phone. Beenie Man’s song is still playing “…Welcome the King of the Dance Hall!...”

DJ (working up the crowd): Mo fire! Mo fire!
Presidential Advisor: What did the Senator of the State of Illinois have to say?
Konkodi: Alikua anataka kuningota tuu. Sijui ni kwa nini hagengoja hadi kesho ama siku
ingine.
Presidential Advisor: Welcome to life in high office: The work keeps coming, crises are
par for the cause, the staff average four hours of sleep per night, the calls come in twenty-four hours a day – it’s madness.
Konkodi: Ikiwa watu wanafikiri mimi nitakua naiishi ndani ya ofisi basi wanajidanganya.
Nikitaka kula hepi ama kutembelea ma-fans nitakua naiishia tu ki-ro’ safi.
Presidential Advisor: I’m afraid it’s not that simple. Uneasy lies the head that wears the
crown. Especially in a globalized world where everyone has a phone, you can send
messages around the world at the speed of light and, if Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is to be believed, we can do business at the speed of thought.
Konkodi: Bill Gates? Hiyo jina nimeiskia mahali…
Beste #1: Ni kwa ile ngoma ya Dully Sykes: ‘Na Billie Geti kumbuka nakudai / Zile
billioni kumi - nina masilahi

The Presidential Advisor sighs in frustration. He takes a deep breath and surveys the ‘party people’ having the time of their life. The DJ chooses this moment to bring add some ‘genge’ to the mix. He plays Jimw@t’s ‘Paulina’: ‘Paulina! Paulina! Paulina! / Cheza kwa maringo tukuone / Chiki cha, chiki cha, chiki cha…’

DJ: Tuendelee ama tusiendelee?
Party People: Tuendelee!!!
DJ: Niendelee kuwaroga ama nikinyangie hapo?
Party People: Endelea! Ongeza mahewa! Tuendelee mpaka che!
DJ: Sawa basi! Mo fire!


(c) Alex N Nderitu http://www.alexandernderitu.com/

Buy Alexander Nderitu's prose and poetry books at: http://stores.lulu.com/NewShakespeare