Thursday, March 3, 2011


Last month, a carnival mood had engulfed State House as the konkodi-turned-president celebrated his inauguration. Well, too much of a good thing is even better so here’s Alexander Nderitu with more of the same:

It’s midnight now. The minute hand of the clock has married the hour hand in a silent ceremony. The city of Nairobi is as silent as the grave; empty roads gleam peacefully in the moonlight; in the residential areas, children are sleeping the sleep of the just. State House is a different story. They party is in full swing, people dancing and the DJ spinning his disks. Jua Cali’s ‘Bidii Yangu’ pumps out of mega-watt speakers: ‘Hakuna cha huzuni hapa, raha ni tele / Wale wamesahau - muziki yangu bado ni ‘genge’/ Wale wanatudharau – tafadhali msifanye nicheke!

A cloud of chilled steam from the fog machine clears to reveal the konkodi still sitting in the leather sofa next to his Presidential advisor and two buddies. In short order, a State House aid appears carrying a cordless phone:

Aid: Your Excellency, you have a phone call from Dubai.
Konkodi: Ni nani sasa?
Aid: He says he is “Artur Margaryan.”
Konkodi: Yule mamluki?
Aid: Yes, I believe so.
The konkodi takes the phone and starts walking around as he talks.
Konkodi: Sema, dadi?
Artur: Mr. President…I’m glad you get elected, you know…The previous government,
they kick me out of country…
Konkodi: Tuliza boli, bro. Kwanza niambie kama ni kweli uliita wakenya “black
monkeys”. Sisi tunakaa kama nyani? Umewai cheki wathii wakiwa juu ya mti wakisema “Nyef, nyef” kama tumbili?
Artur: No, no, Mr. President…I not call Kenyans monkey. But when I was on the street,
some Kenyans start making noise at me. I tell them they are ‘jumping up and down like monkeys’ but I not call Kenyans monkeys.
Konkodi: O-o-o-h! Kwa hivo ulisema “kama nyani” sio kusema sisi sote ni nyani?.
Artur: Yes..These men on the street were cowards. I am only one man and they were
afraid of me, you know. Instead of punching or kicking me, they jump up and down singing war songs…I start to smile, you know…Making noise cannot scare a real man like me… When George Bush make war with Iraq, did he start jumping up and down in Oval Office like a maasai or did he send jets to drop bombs, eh? Kenyan men big cowards.
Konkodi: Hapo umewaweza – hata mimi nilishangaa vile hao wathii walikua
Artur: But Kenya very good country…Kenyan women best women in the world, I tell
you. Right now, my brother, Sargsyan, is reading the book I Dreamt of Africa by
Kuki Gallman…And he is still wearing his round goggles, probably wondering why it’s so dark…Mr.President, the reason why I call is because I want to come back to Kenya.
Konkodi: Kwa nini murudi huku na vile m’lileta nare wakati huo mwingine?
Artur: No, no, Mr. President. The people on the street make noise…I am just a
businessman, I want to come and check on my investments…Every day, I was spending one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand shillings in your country -
Konkodi: Kwani ulikua unanuna ndai moja kilu siku?
Artur: No…I spend on my girlfriend, my food, my clothes…
Konkodi: Ati girlfriend? Ulikua unatimia do hizo zote juu ya manzi? Inaonekana huyo
alikua kinyaunyau ile mbaya! Ingekua ni mimi nilikua na hizo pesa, ningenunua nyumba, niipambe, ninunue TV na tenje – na bado ningukua na huyo kinyanyaunyau.
Very appropriately, the DJ is at this precise moment playing Damian Marley’s ‘Beautiful’:

All this blinging, it's like you forgot / Use cheddar as the bait den you recruit a rat

Artur: If you allow me come back to Kenya…I could do business with you. If you want
import things from Dubai, you give me tender, I supply, no problem.
Konkodi (after giving it some thought): Na hiyo inaweza kua janta poa…Vitu kama nini?
Artur: Anything at all, I have big business contacts. Equipment for military, police force,
cheap cars, gold, diamonds…Anything.
Konkodi: Sawa, basi, nitakupatia contract…Nataka uniletee manyanga kumi mpya.
Manyanga ni zile 29-seater. Gava inataka kupiga 14-seater ngeta, kwa hivo sitaki hizo. Halafu ukija Kenya, nataka mathree hizo zitengenezwe zikue ‘mboko’, sio ‘mawe.’
Artur: I not understand…
Konkodi: ‘Mboko’ ni zile ‘boom boom twaf!’- mathree ambazo zimepakwa marangi poa
na ziko na mahewa. ‘Mawe’ ni zile mathree zimechoka mbaya na hazina mahewa.
Artur: Okay, no problem – you get top quality matatus.
Konkodi: Na hizo mathree zikamu zikiwa na michuki - yaani seatbelt. Sitaki hao
makanika wa ghetto wanigonge wakiniwekea hizo mishipi.
Artur: Okay, Mr President. But I need a deposit before I can deliver merchandise worth so many millions, you know.
Konkodi: We! Hebu ngafu hizo risto. Mimi sitaki hizo mambo za Anglo-Leasing, ati
unatuma pesa ng’ambo alafu unakuta kampuni yenyewe ilikua ya vako.
Artur: Mr. President, I have expensive girlfriends…I need deposit.
Konkodi: Si wewe ulikua una-floss huku na ma-bling bling kama wewe ndiye mwenye
Nairobi? Sasa unawika ati huna do? Kwanza, hizo risto za vinyanyau tia zi – mamanzi watakumaliza ukicheza. Mimi nimesema sitoi hata ndururu. Visa utapata. Ukifika Mombasa na hizo cargo, ni-flash kwa namba yangu ya Safaricom. Nikiona hizo manyanga na mach0 yangu ndio nitajua missioni imeiva, janta imeingiana.
Artur: Okay, I will bring without deposit…
Konkodi: Poa, bro. Tutaongea ukija. Kwa leo, wacha tukanyangie hapo.

The konkodi hangs up and returns the cordless phone to the State House aid. But while he was on the phone, interesting things were afoot. Let’s back-track…

As the DJ was playing Damian Marley’s ‘Beautiful’, the Presidential Advisor was eyeing the dance floor with distaste. The fog machine belched out a cloud of vapour as thick as tear gas and the dancers disappeared. As the cloud dissipated, a most agreeable sight greeted the Advisor: A tall light-skinned girl with long hair and a short sleeveless dress came into view. Her long hair swayed as she moved to the rhythm and when she laughed in merriment, she displayed a perfect set of white teeth; her skin was so smooth that if she stood next to a sandpapered soapstone carving, the carving would say, ‘Usilete kompe!’
Up till now, the stuffy Advisor had exhibited no interest in the revellers. But this daughter of Eve grabbed his attention and would not release it. In the background, Damian Marley was singing: ‘Seem like she upside the duko shop / Cause she don't have a scratch it's only beautiful spot’. As he watched her, speechless, the fog machine released another cloud of vapour and all the dancers vanished like phantoms. Meanwhile, the DJ changed the song to Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’. As the fog dispersed, the Advisor was pleased to see the hot girl was still there, gyrating her hips as if she was being paid. She was enjoying the song so much that she was singing along:

Hot girl: You know my hips don't lie / And I'm starting to feel it's right / All the attraction,
the tension / Don't you see baby, this is perfection
The Advisor started smiling like a crocodile and the konkodi’s buddies, Beste #1 and Beste #2, stopped chewing miraa and address him:
Beste #1: Huyo kekia ameku-jazz?
Presidential Advisor: Stay out of this.
Beste #2: Manze, ulikua umefungua mdomo kama mbwa - karibu mate yaanze kutiririka!
Presidential Advisor: I’ll file your comments under ‘Who Gives A Damn?’
Beste #1: S’kiza hapa, mzeia. Ikiwa manzi amekuguza mahali, ongea naye.
Beste #2: Mwambie “we kamu.”

The Presidential Advisor straightened his tie (yes, he was wearing a tie in a dance hall), cleared his throat and brushed off imaginary fluff from his shoulder.

Presidential Advisor: Excuse me, Miss…Could I have a word with you?
Hot girl (approaching him while still dancing): Sure, what’s on your mind?
Presidential Advisor: Er…Well…I saw you dancing and I wanted to say “Hi”. What, if
I may ask, is your name?
Hot girl: Shiko.
Presidential Advisor: Well, it’s nice meeting you, Shiko. I’m…
Shiko: …the Presidential Advisor. I know who you are. I’ve seen you on TV. And I must
say that your thesis on Socialism vs. Capitalism in East and Central Africa was quite an eye opener.
Presidential Advisor: You read that? Where? How? Whaaa…
Shiko: I’m a student at the University of Nairobi. I’m doing Political Science. Your papers are still available in the library. Why did stop lecturing?
Presidential Advisor: Well, I was also a practicing lawyer and a political consultant –
something had to give…But I do miss the faculty – the energy of the students, the heated debates, the idealism of the old-school professors, the academic atmosphere…Anyway, my past aside, I have to say that I’m quite impressed. I never thought I’d encounter an intellectual in a…disco.
Shiko: You thought that just because a girl wears miniskirts and likes to rave, she must be
brainless as well?
Presidential Advisor: I didn’t say that. If I have - in any way, shape or form – offended
your sensibilities…
Shiko: Relax – I’m not mad, am I? For most of the week, I have my nose buried in
books. When I get a chance to have fun, like on a Saturday night, I like to let my hair down…
Presidential Advisor: You’re letting your hair down, all right – if that dress was any
shorter, it would be a blouse.
Shiko (laughing): Well, now you can write another paper titled: The Social Impact of
Miniskirts in East and Central Africa: From the 1970’s to the Present.
Presidential Advisor (also laughing): That’s a good one. Matching me wit for wit. You’re

Meanwhile, the bestes were watching the intellectual pair as if they were watching a TV soap opera.

Presidential Advisor: I think we should lose the crowd. Let’s go outside where it’s quiet
and more private.
Shiko: Sawaz.

Holding hands, they exited the party scene…

It is at this time that the konkodi returns from talking to Artur Margaryan.
Konkodi: Advisor ameishia wapi?
Beste #1: Ametoka nje na mrembo fulani.
Konkodi: Ati mrembo?
Beste #1: Eh, kekia fulani mtamu kama asali. Huyo jama ameangukia!
Meanwhile, outside, Presidential Advisor and Shiko are walking leisurely past the fountain. Music can still be heard emanating from the presidential mansion:
Hey Girl, I can see your body moving / And it's driving me crazy / And I didn't have the slightest idea / Until I saw you dancing’
Presidential Advisor: You know, you’re like an onion – every time I learn something
about you, I discover another layer underneath.
Shiko: We’re a mutual admiration society – I’d kill to have a brain like yours. How many
books have you ghost-written for clueless leaders? Dozens, I’ll bet.
Presidential Advisor: Well…
Shiko: …and I’ll also bet that if wasn’t for you, this konkodi wouldn’t have made it to
State House in the first place. You directed the country-wide campaigns. You’re a
giant among insects!
Presidential Advisor: Enough about me. Let’s hear about you. What’s your favourite
Shiko: Shakespeare in Love.
Presidential Advisor: Get out of the city! That’s also my favourite!
Shiko: No way! What’s your favorite scene?
Presidential Advisor: The balcony scene; where Shakespeare climbs the wall of his
girlfriend’s house and comes face to face with the girl’s middle-aged nurse instead!
Shiko: Yeah, I liked that one, too. But my favourite scene is at the beginning; where
Shakespeare goes to see a traditional healer about his writer’s block and he’s saying
things like: ‘It’s as if my quill is broken; the organ of my imagination has dried up; it’s like picking a lock with a wet herring…Nothing comes.’ The doctor isn’t sure if Shakespeare is talking about sexual impotence or mental block!’
Presidential Advisor: Yes, syntactical ambiguity is a major feature in Shakespeare’s
works. The pun was the loom upon which much of The Bard’s humour was spun.
They stop walking and face each other. The Advisor strokes Shiko’s hair and, without preamble, she leans forward and kisses him on the lips.
Presidential Advisor: Why did you do that?
Shiko: I could say, ‘I like you,’ but I’d rather show you by my actions. Like my hips, my
lips don’t lie.
Presidential Advisor: Well, you know what they say: Kissing is the language of love.
Shiko: If kissing is the language of love, then we have a lot to talk about.
Close to the perimeter fence, a GSU officer on patrol moves through the darkness like a leopard. Inside the mansion, the revelers continue to party. In the middle of the grey sky that looms above, the moon shines down – because the moon also rises…And men also fall in love.

(c) Alex N Nderitu

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