Wounds of a Man
By Agufa Kivuya (Kenya)
Afterward this pastor had to honor an invitation by Akinyi to pray for her family. At the state house the president was eager to listen to much talk about the village pastor. For a long time he had heard of rumors concerning him but now was the chance to taste the waters himself. The president hearkened to him with much excitement, for even he needed prayers. All went on well as pastor disambiguated the mysteries of the cross to the president as Akinyi supported with shouts of ‘Amen’.
The pastor continued. “The reason Jesus left all the glory and honor in heaven above to come down to us and die in our words was a deliberate effort of God to save our souls. It’s now upon us to appreciate the unconditional love by living a separate kind of lifestyle. All of us had fallen short of his glory but was hell bent on bringing us back to him. He died so that any who would repent of his sins would not die as the law said, but have another chance.”
The president was intrigued to the preaching until the preaching went personal. “Like Jeshurun,” the pastor continued. “In the Bible God blessed your life and he took you from an unknown village to set you on the chair you occupy right now. But here is the question he is asking you today. “Why have you repudiated him? Do you remember how you were a dedicated member of Christian union before you first won an elective post? God blessed you and now you have forsaken him for the sake of enriching and protecting yourself. Repent and turn away from your wickedness for the kingdom of God is near.”
The president felt insulted. The pastor had just intrepidly humiliated him before his daughter by insinuating he was wicked. Was he the only wicked president on earth? All presidents were like him or worse than him. He had expected the village pastor to pray for him, not to preach to him. The president stood up, spat twice in the pastor’s face and ordered him to be frog-marched out of the state house precincts despite Akinyi’s protest
The vice president kept his hopes high. He knew he was the next president after Hamisi. He had endured so many humiliating instances to maintain the vice president post, for he knew one day he would occupy the summit of the mountain. It was obvious the president would endorse him as his successor, and he impatiently waited for the D- day. The vice president had already begun the preparation for his inauguration. He hired an advisor from outside the country, sacked others and crazily married a classy wife to always accompany him to state functions. His real wife was a bit old fashioned.
Things were moving in the exact way he expected until a member of the opposition tipped the vice president of a foul play. At first he had dismissed it as a plot by the opposition to hoodwink him to their side, but after a few months of investigation he could not doubt the veracity of the allegations. It was true the president was grooming both Akinyi and his elder brother for one of them to take over from him. The vice president thought of his wasted years of being loyal, even enduring ignominy for the president’s sake with hope of the president reciprocating. The vice president wiped dry his ears and, like an enraged dog, switched to the opposition.
The opposition was highly rejuvenated with the vice president on their side. As if they had been waiting for him, they unanimously declared him as the opposition leader. The president heard of it but he remained numb on the issue for days.
One Saturday evening as he was drinking in the usual baron on the outskirts of the city, the opposition leader with his opposition entourage stormed the bar immensely hyped up. The erstwhile vice president had just made an emphatic maiden speech in the famous city arena as the opposition leader. It had been a success. It was a few minutes before the seven o’clock news bulletin and the opposition could not wait for the news.
The news prompted a deafening applause in the bar. The meeting had been historic. The humongous gathering was proof enough of the change in the offing. The people had received him with much adoration and extolment. There was no doubt he was going to give the incumbent a run for his money. The race would be tight and not a show as in the president had previously thought. The opposition crew could not have enough of the bulletins as they regularly switched the television channels. The meeting had actually rekindled the opposition’s dimming hopes of ascending to power like a rocket. After the hullaballoo in the room had died, the elated opposition leader went and took a seat beside the president, who had watched the news keenly without showing any emotion. He knew so much more about the country’s politics so the cheers in the bar did not scare him.
Even before he settled in his seat the opposition leader in a theist thumping manner, said,” This time round we are going to take it.”
“Never ever,” the president replied with much contempt.
“You have been my student in the nation’s politics and you are a great disgrace to my political school. You are too naïve about politics. You mean this long period of time you have been with me you have gained nothing politically? I pity you.
Candidly did you think those people were interested in you? Definitely not. Those people were after handouts from you, not your agenda. What did you expect them to do after the media related your finances to the western countries? To tell you the truth, if you would hold another meeting tomorrow there, the very same people will be gathered donned in red singing praises to me.”
The opposition. leader wasn’t convinced. He said, “The truth is that I have never seen such a mammoth crowd in any opposition rally ever since you took over this country.
“My friend, the opposition is just pulling you into political oblivion. I tell you the truth; you will regret the moves you are taking right now.
The plain truth is that am going to be the next president of this country. I can see the presidency from here.”
The president responded. “The proximity to the lake does not guarantee you water.”
“Stop the jealousy and support me,”
“How can I support a flop? You will never be the president of this country,” the president said with contempt written all over his face. “This nation requires great and prudent leaders, and not puerile thinking adults. For instance, do you even understand how the treasury and security departments work? So how will you oversee things you don’t understand? You better use the campaign funds to pursue further education and burn those fake certificates of ours. If I may ask you a question, why do you want to be the president?”
The opposition leader knew this was solely intended to demoralize and discourage him out of the race. “Wait and see me rule this nation to a full-fledged economy. Did you hear the applause here? This thing is mine.”
The president scoffed back, “You mean these reprobate idlers here? I assure you, these drunkards will even applaud when a mosquito stings someone.”
The opposition leader sat straight on his chair, readjusted his coat and tie back in the right position and, his face booming with pride and self, he declared, “Here is the next president of this nation.”
“That will only happen when I am dead,” the president shouted back.
The opposition leader smiled broadly, and with specks of arrogance he replied,” So you better kill yourself before the election.”
The agitated president stood up, spat twice straight at the face of the opposition leader and left, leaving everybody in amazed silence.
The opposition brought their heads together and they reasoned amongst themselves. They could use the spat to make the president look evil, thus giving them an upper hand in the election. So, without much haste, they filed a suit against the president. And as expected the president easily won the case. Of course, who could win against the president in the nation where he was the supreme leader? The opposition appealed against the ruling.
The president surprised many when he chose to sit the whole day in the court, a waiting hearing of the case which took off later in the afternoon. The president sat still as various rulings were made by the appellate judge. His facial expression only changed when he heard the appellate judges sentence a prominent businessman-cum-politician to two years in jail without a fine. It was unheard of in this nation.
Had the court room reformed or had they acted for fear of the president in the courtroom? The man had verbally assaulted his rival, a thing common in the country without much magnitude. Two years in jail for only insulting a provocative rival. Rhe president wondered, of course, whether the judges would dare do such a thing to him.
After all the lawyers had done their work, the president was given a chance to defend himself. “Honorable judges, I wish to clarify some issues here,” The president said.
“I did not spit on his face, as the witnesses have said. I was having my drink in the bar when the opposition leader just chose to vacate his seat, and came to take a seat just next to me for no distinct reason. I didn’t beckon or call him. Voluntarily he came with a hidden agenda. As we talked because am not dumb, my eyes were glued on the television. Then all over a sudden there was a disgusting foul smell, possibly somebody had exploded or had diarrhea in his pants. And I cannot tell you who exactly it was as the opposition leader was the one seated close to me. It was quite awful.”
The gales of laughter in the court halted him for a moment. Even the serious-looking judge could not stifle his own chuckle. One witness who agreed to the purported foul smell, refuted the claims that it elicited the spats as he said it happened an hour before the spat.
The president went on. “I could not stomach the repugnant smell; I even don’t understand up to now why my friend did not respond to the awful pollution. In response to the smell, spontaneously I spat aside and, by bad luck, the spittle landed on my friend’s face. It was a mere accident not a deliberate effort. Thanks very much honorable judge for the wonderful job you are doing to dispense justice.
The appellate judges only advised in their ruling for the president to apologize to the opposition leader for accidentally spitting on him. The president apologized without slightest hesitation and the media was awash with praise for him, for honoring the court’s verdict and his unrivaled support for reforms in the judiciary. That day the president phoned him and informed him of the emphatic victory in his ring and promised to teach him a lesson on the ballot.