Quick reads with Kiruri Kamau

Finally Unyatto to become a tourist attraction

Jomo, the project’s dad, was a dictator when he was president and wise Kenyans used to keep their mouths shut. Some people used to call him The Burning Spear, possibly because it sounded rather nice but the youth corrupted his name to Unyatto simply to avoid always referring to him as plain old Jomo Kenyatta.

The unkind ones called him Kamaliza for some reason I never quite figured out but there is no reason good enough to warrant calling a poor old man ‘the exterminator’, never mind that it was done in whispers. When he was on his last legs in the late 1970s some jokers started jostling over his job as if he was already dead. Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo who was the Attorney General advised them to stop it because it was high treason to even imagine that the old man might one day hop the twig.

They stopped jostling but of course Jomo was a mortal like you and I and one day in 1978 he finally answered the trumpet call. When he died they did not take him to Gatundu to bury him among his ancestors but took him to Parliament Buildings and put his mausoleum under a 24-hour armed surveillance. Now I have never quite figured out the reason for that either but we could hazard a few guesses.

One possible reason could be that those who used to call him Kamaliza genuinely believed that old Jomo was only pretending to be dead and would, when they least expected it, spring back to life and exterminate them. Possibility number two could be that a resurrectionist cult led by Sir Charles believed Kamaliza, I mean Jomo, would certainly rise form the dead which is why they mounted a round the clock vigil, which unfortunately has lasted thirty long years.

Well, it is official now; Jomo will not rise again. According to Heritage Minister, Suleiman Shakombo, the government has now decided it will make Jomo’s body a public spectacle soon. What a shame.

Unrest over Moodys’ mix-up of flowers and cockerels

After the death of the rainbow dream, Agwambo and Emilio parted ways, as anybody should know by now. Agwambo made himself an orange orchard which has been husbanding quite well with a few other farmhands he managed to poach from Emilio. Emilio on his part went into banana farming. Agwambo has faithfully stuck to oranges and I suspect it is because oranges do no not make too much of a mess even after squashing (and one can make tasty orange juice) but Emilio abandoned fruit farming soon after all his bananas got squashed under an avalanche of Agwambo’s oranges during the famous war of fruits a year and half ago.

Instead he went into fruit farming and his roses have been doing quite well too. The only mistake Emilio appears to have made is that he appointed Moody, an old man who appears to have gone woolgathering, as his chief steward. Now Emilio’s flowers are in danger of withering because old Moody sometimes forgets he is a flower and not a chicken farmer as he used to be during his long sojourn in the baba na mama household. There are rumblings in Emilio’s rose farm which sound like a simmering industrial unrest because Moody insists there is no difference between flower farming and cockerel farming and farmhands actively disagree.

A billion bucks to be the Orange of Oranges

Chairman Fred Gumo’s council of wise men has finally decided on a 13 point criteria to be used to decide the Chief Orange. The first condition for one to qualify to be considered for the position of the Ornage of Oranges is he or she has to donate one million shillings to the wise men.

Now if I was an aspirant paramount Orange I wouldn’t give my money to Gumo, not on the pain of being turned into a banana head. Most of the aspirants will of course pay because a million is peanuts to them but I believe Bro. Steve will not. It is not because he can’t afford it (although it would leave a gaping hole very difficult to fill) but why should he throw good money away?

For starters Fred cannot tell the difference between an Orange and a Tractor which is why he follows Tinga all over the place. Now can you trust a man who can’t tell an Orange form a Tractor? Secondly a million might be a lot of dosh for Bro. Steve but it is small change for Fred (he made three hundred times that from flogging a parking lot Mtukufu Rais gave him for telling him a nice joke).

Another condition is that an aspiring Chief Orange should be stinking rich without ever had sticky fingers, as if that were ever possible. Once Bill Ruto went to the Big House on the Hill and came out of the place with goodies weighing him down but his fingers were not sticky, were they? It is not the same thing.

A third condition is that if you aspire to be a Big Orange you must have been a good governance democrat for a long stretch of time. Well, all of them qualify on that, except perhaps Agwambo who only managed to sit at the feet of Mtukufu, the professor of politics, for a measly two years, but still the wise men’s rules sound like custom-made Tractor for Agwambo, if you asked me.

Some orange or banana juice, Mr JJ?

The people of Kangema abandoned JJ Kamotho, one of their eminent sons, when he joined the Nyayo Ensemble (the group that belted the hit single Tawala Kenya Tawala, Rais Moi) as the lead singer. They told him they would only take him back when and if he had a change of heart. In those days JJ loved Mtukufu Rais, the band leader, with a perfect love and a mere change of heart would not do without a blood transfusion as well, but that was something he would not even consider because he was certified Kanu damu.

“A dog would win in Kangema if it stood on a Ford Asili ticket” JJ said mysteriously. Now, that was really weird for a parting shot but then we are talking about JJ here.

Ten years on in 2002, Kangema had mutated into Kangema and Mathioya, Mtukufu Rais had been evicted from the Hill by Emilio and JJ had changed but most importantly, JJ had made peace with Mathioyans. They made him their spokesman again but it wasn’t long before Agwambo, the pied piper, started peddling oranges telling people that oranges are better than bananas, a lie he told to discredit Emilio’s bananas.

JJ believed him but the people of Mathioya were not amused since Emilio, a neighbour, had already supplied them with bunches of good bananas. They threatened to ostracize him again but still JJ would not hear of it. Some wags said he had been bewitched. The truth however is that JJ had always wanted to be a lakesider. Agwambo had promised to give him the Rarieda seat (Raphael Tuju has already relocated to to Mt. Kenya) only to discover that Tinga has already given Rarieda to Aida as a birthday gift.

Anyway JJ appears to have been choking from drinking too much orange juice. A rose (a flower party, actually) by any other name, JJ, that’s what I say.

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