The Burning Land by Peter E. Njoroge

Pg 5, 6 n 7

As the meetings of these kenyan titans continues solemnly in the dining room of their great host, another Kenyan is languishing in a typical kenyan prison. This man, named by his old parents Waititu when he was born 35 years ago is completely unaware of this meeting. perhaps had he been aware of it, the only emotion that would elicit is pity for these men. Unlike them, his complete anonymity is a shield against those who would want to haul him to court to account for all the violence he has committed in his past.

He learned earlier on that greatness in the public sphere will do you good so long as you are on the right side of the law. For those who have had to step out of the confines of the law in order to acquire greatness, justice always catches up with them. People like brother Patni, he of the Goldenberg fame bears testament to this adage. Once hailed as a great man, a billionaire in a land where majority leave below poverty line.

But our people have a saying, “he who climbs up a ladder must ultimately come down.” it comes as no surprise that some have cleverly interjected that those going up should treat the people they pass well since these are the same people they will find on their inevitable way down. So Brother patni, formerly Kamlesh patni had risen up by defrauding the state of billions of shilling through what came to be known as the gold hoax. Now since when did Kenya have gold supplies totaling to billions of shillings? These people must really take Kenyans to be fools in order to pull out something of this nature.

Going back to our jailbird, he was undaunted by the prospect of spending a few days in jail. In fact, it would have amused his keepers to learn that he had long a go learnt to view it as his adopted home. He had been in and out of jail that he practically spent more time in one than he spent in his three homes. Waititu had a special occupation, special because there are not many people who had the stomach to do what he did for a living. He did not necessarily take pride in what he did, he simply looked at it as a job that needed doing when his superiors deemed it fit to. Commander Waititu formerly Waititu james was and still is a Mungiki executioner; a hit squad leader.

He was presently in jail because the powers that be had deemed it necessary to order a sweep of Mungiki operatives. As usual, the police always knew where to get him and he never, not once, attempted to evade their capture. There was a simple philosphy to this, atleast according to him. Leaders have a tendency to do all they can to evade capture so by doing the opposite, the authorities always assume him to be no one of importance. Another strategy that he used to enhance his anonymous status is to indulge in activities usually reserved for lesser operatives including collecting money at various stages.

Sometimes when he’s sitting in his favorite corner resting his back on the prison wall, he would wonder about the relatives of the people he had killed. But even he wasn’t as conceited or in human as to really use the term killed. he better than anyone knew it for what it was, butchering. He closed his eyes tight as he remembered the anguished cry of the matatu driver in Kinoo as the serrated saw cut through his neck slowly, with malice and abandon. He could still feel the warm blood from the dying man as it rolled down his arms continuing its sad journey to quench the dry soil beneath. He still feels the aura of death as the life departs from the tortured body, free to return to whence it had come.

“waititu” someone shouts his name and shatters his journey into the past. A uniformed policeman stands on the door and summons him using one finger as if he was too inconsequential for him to waste too much effort on. He doesn’t mind, such small acts leave him beaming with satisfaction knowing well that his cover is unlikely to be blown. He steps beyond the door and finds his brother standing there, always with the same look on his face. A look of pained tolerance, as if questioning the sheer audacity of fate to give him such a brother. But blood is thicker than water, and it was safer for his blood brother to come for him rather than one of his oath brothers. A one thousand note was quickly exchanged and by the look on the policemen’s face, it was clear that it will end up at the bar man’s counter.

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5 responses to “The Burning Land by Peter E. Njoroge

  1. As the meetings of these kenyan titans continues solemnly in the dining room of their great host, another Kenyan is languishing in a typical kenyan prison. This man, named by his old parents Waititu when he was born 35 years ago is completely unaware of this meeting. Perhaps had he been aware of it, the only emotion that would elicit is pity for these men. Unlike them, his complete anonymity is a shield against those who would want to haul him to court to account for all the violence he has committed in his past.

    He learned earlier on that greatness in the public sphere will do you good so long as you are on the right side of the law. For those who have had to step out of the confines of the law in order to acquire greatness, justice always catches up with them. People like brother Pattni, he of the Goldenberg fame bears testament to this adage. Once hailed as a great man, a billionaire in a land where majority leave below poverty line.

    But our people have a saying, “he who climbs up a ladder must ultimately come down.” It comes as no surprise that some have cleverly interjected that those going up should treat the people they pass well since these are the same people they will find on their inevitable way down. So Brother pattni, formerly Kamlesh pattni had risen up by defrauding the state of billions of shilling through what came to be known as the gold hoax. Now since when did Kenya have gold supplies totaling to billions of shillings? These people must really take Kenyans to be fools in order to pull out something of this nature.

    Going back to our jailbird, he was undaunted by the prospect of spending a few days in jail. In fact, it would have amused his keepers to learn that he had long ago learnt to view it as his adopted home. He had been in and out of jail that he practically spent more time in one than he spent in his three homes. Waititu had a special occupation, special because there are not many people who had the stomach to do what he did for a living. He did not necessarily take pride in what he did, he simply looked at it as a job that needed doing when his superiors deemed it fit to. Commander Waititu formerly Waititu james was and still is a Mungiki executioner; a hit squad leader.

    He was presently in jail because the powers that be had deemed it necessary to order a sweep of Mungiki operatives. As usual, the police always knew where to get him and he never, not once, attempted to evade their capture. There was a simple philosophy to this, atleast according to him. Leaders have a tendency to do all they can to evade capture so by doing the opposite, the authorities always assume him to be no one of importance. Another strategy that he used to enhance his anonymous status is to indulge in activities usually reserved for lesser operatives including collecting money at various stages.

    Sometimes when he’s sitting in his favorite corner resting his back on the prison wall, he would wonder about the relatives of the people he had killed. But even he wasn’t as conceited or inhuman as to really use the term killed. He better than anyone knew it for what it was, butchering. He closed his eyes tight as he remembered the anguished cry of the matatu driver in Kinoo as the serrated saw cut through his neck slowly, with malice and abandon. He could still feel the warm blood from the dying man as it rolled down his arms continuing its sad journey to quench the dry soil beneath. He still feels the aura of death as the life departs from the tortured body, free to return to whence it had come.

    “Waititu!” someone shouts his name and shatters his journey into the past. A uniformed policeman stands on the door and summons him using one finger as if he was too inconsequential for him to waste too much effort on. He doesn’t mind, such small acts leave him beaming with satisfaction knowing well that his cover is unlikely to be blown. He steps beyond the door and finds his brother standing there, always with the same look on his face. A look of pained tolerance, as if questioning the sheer audacity of fate to give him such a brother. But blood is thicker than water, and it was safer for his blood brother to come for him rather than one of his oath brothers. A one thousand note was quickly exchanged and by the look on the policemen’s face, it was clear that it will end up at the bar man’s counter.

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