(Continued from Beta Male III)
“Did you have to call me by my name?” Christopher asks, annoyed. He hates publicity of any kind, and having his name mentioned after a public altercation irritated him a lot.
“Now you are being petty. What did you want to call you? You wanted me to call you ‘babe’ in front of my husband? The same husband I was accusing of cheating on me?”
“No, but you could have avoided the name altogether.”
“What is the big deal anyway?”
“The big deal is that if that pickup is registered under my name. If the clowns I sent mess up things, I am the one who will be followed by the police.”
“Why did you use your vehicle for the operation? Couldn’t you have stolen one as you always do?”
“You did not give me time to do that. You wanted them executed this afternoon.”
The pickup that was used to hit Patrick, Fredrick and Becky was stolen; Christopher is just using it to vent his anger.
Christopher Nembuse is a giant of a man; tall and heavily built. In his earlier life he was a gym instructor, which is where Alicia found him. He became her trainer, and then lover. Somewhere along the way, Alicia discovered that Christopher was actually a criminal-or rather the head of a criminal gang. He and his thugs operated bullied businesspeople in Kirinyaga and Tharaka Nithi Counties, extorting money from then in exchange for “protection”. Alicia introduced him to the assassin-for-hire business, and introduced him to her numerous shady friends.
She also hired him as the regional head of security at Grazy Group Limited, the company that her grandfather founded. The company is headquartered in Nairobi, but has a presence across East Africa. As a regional head of the company, Alicia has some latitude in managing the affairs of the company at the regional level, including the hiring and firing of staff.
Alicia’s father, Rufus, is the current Group CEO of the company. He took over at the age of 46, when his father Daniel retired twenty one years ago. The old man Daniel is still the chairman of the board at the age of 91. The retirement age for executives of the company is 70. That was a by-law that was set by the old man Daniel himself, and he abided by it by stepping down on his 70th birthday. Another rule is that the immediate former CEO becomes the non-executive chairman of the board if he makes it to retirement. The by-laws of the company anticipate that a CEO may die in office, may resign or may be fired by the board. A CEO who exits the company through any of these means does not qualify to chair the board. In the event that the Chairman dies before the existing CEO retires, the board is allowed to elect a chairman from amongst its existing members to hold office until the CEO retires and takes over the chairmanship.
The board as it is currently constituted has nine members. Daniel is of course the chair; Rufus, as the Group CEO, is also a member. Rufus’ three siblings are also members of the board. Ian, 65, is the CEO of Grazy (Tanzania) Ltd, and is based in Arusha. Doris, 63, is the CEO of Grazy (Uganda) Ltd and lives in Kampala. Joseph, 61, is the CEO of Grazy (Francophone East Africa) Ltd, which really is just a clever way of saying Rwanda and Burundi. He is based in Kigali.
The Group COO is a third generation member of the family: Ian’s forty-year-old daughter Gladys. There is one other member of the family on the board: Joseph’s thirty six year old son Daniel. He is the CEO of Grazy (Kenya) Ltd. The Kenyan unit was for a long time under the management Group CEO, but it was hived off to create space for the young man, who everyone on the board agrees is a promising talent in the company. Two members of the Board are not members of the family: the company secretary, Jacob, and the Chief Financial Officer, Harriet.
Rufus, Alicia’s father, is 67. That means that in three years’ time there will be a transition. Rufus will retire and become the chairman of the board, allowing Daniel to retire fully. The family will have to recruit a CEO from within the family. Rufus and Alicia had always assumed that she (Alicia) would be the one to take over from her father, especially because at 43 she is the oldest of all her cousins. She is also the one who has stayed at the company for the longest period, having joined at the age of twenty two, shortly after her disagreeable marriage to Fredrick. She joined around that time that her father was rising to the helm of the company, following the retirement of her grandfather Daniel.
For the eight years that Fredrick taught at Alliance High, Alicia was working her way up within the company.
By then, her father and the larger family had made peace with her marriage, even though they still hated Fredrick. Some people may assume that TSC transferred Fredrick from Alliance to St. Monica, and then Alicia followed him. But it was the other way round. Alicia’s uncle Joseph, Rufus’ youngest brother, exited the coastal regional office to lead the newly established office in Kigali, which would put him at par with his siblings who were in charge of whole countries. Rufus thought that the easiest way for Alicia to work her way up to the top would be to head a regional office. Up to that point, all regional offices were headed by ‘outsiders’. Rufus did a series of transfers that left the Mt. Kenya East regional office without a head, and he duly appointed his daughter to that position. She would be based in Embu. That way, she would be only a couple of hours away from Nairobi and at the same time would have a chance to prove her abilities. He expected that she would rise steadily within the company to become the obvious heir of the Group CEO seat. Rufus pulled strings at TSC and got Fredrick transferred from Alliance to St. Monica, which is in the outskirts of Embu town.
Alicia has done well at the company, but she got distracted by politics. She has been leading business efforts in the region even as she worked as the Deputy Governor, but her performance has not been as strong as it used to be, or as it was expected to be. That has allowed her cousins Gladys and Daniel to overtake her and occupy top positions in the company.
Three years to Rufus’ retirement, it is obvious that the next CEO will either be Gladys or Daniel. Alicia is not even close. But that is not a problem, because she has established herself as the family’s political liaison. She is the one who cuts deals with political leaders to ensure that the company’s business interests are not compromised. There was a time that the company ran into tax problems in Uganda, and it is Alicia who went to State House to talk to the President. The President called Museveni and the problem went away. Of course part of the reason why the President gave her audience is because the family donated generously to his campaign kitty, but the fact that she is a Deputy Governor helped.
That is why the entire family is backing her to become the Governor of Embu County. For her to able to intercede on behalf family effectively, she needs to have some political clout.
“Do you think they are dead?” Alicia now asks Christopher.
They are in Christopher’s farm house, where they retreated after the scuffle at Harold’s Grove. Alicia bought this farm, constructed the house and told Christopher to go and live there. The farm house affords them privacy. When Christopher was living in an apartment, Alicia hated going there because of his snoopy neighbours. She preferred hotels, which were also not ideal for someone as well-known as she is.
“My men have assured me that all the three of them are dead, including the motorcycle rider. Jack smashed them while he was driving at 120km/hr. There is no way they could have survived that.”
“I like how effective you are. I didn’t think you would pull it off on such a short notice.”
Alicia had no idea that that she would find Fredrick and Becky at Harold’s Grove. She and Christopher were just going to have lunch before proceeding to Nairobi where Alicia had meetings to attend. All the meetings have since been cancelled. As they left, Alicia told Christopher that she wanted both Fredrick and Becky dead. Christopher tried to dissuade her, but her mind was made up, and she told him that it was an order. She hopped into her car and drove to Christopher’s farm and told him to find her there, but only after making arrangements for the murder of her husband. He came later in Fredrick’s car.
“We had a bit of luck in that they stayed in the restaurant long enough for Jack and Nick to get into position. But it is also true that my men and I are efficient. But I have to ask. Why did you want them to die? Jealousy is never a good reason to kill.”
“I didn’t kill them out of jealousy,” Alicia says defensively. “I killed them because I need sympathy votes.”
She can see that Christopher doesn’t believe her.
“You are the front runner in this race, babe. You don’t even have a serious competitor. Why do you need sympathy votes? This stunt might backfire, that is why I tried so hard to dissuade you from going ahead with that plan.”
“It can’t backfire, Chris. Leave politics to me. I am the politician, not you.”
“If those clowns employed by the restaurant, or even those who were eating there, say you had a fight with Fredrick just before he died, you will become a suspect.”
“They can’t prove that I did it,” Alicia says nervously. She hadn’t thought about it this way, and now she wishes she had let Christopher dissuade her.
“Voters do not need to prove anything. They will just deny you votes. Sometimes it is good to listen to advice, babe. Your arrogance will be your downfall.”
“Now you are insulting me Christopher, and I don’t like it.”
When she calls him ‘Christopher’ instead of ‘Chris’ or ‘babe’ it usually means she is annoyed. Most of Alicia’s advisors fear her, but not her thirty-one year old head of security. He always speaks his mind, unless she shuts him up as she did at Harold’s Grove.
“No, babe. I am not insulting you. I am telling you the truth as it is.”
“So what am I supposed to do with that truth? What is done is done.”
“You can learn and change in future. Listen more to what me and your advisors tell you. That is why you have us around you.”
“And I already know how we are going to spin this.”
“You know the Principal of St. Monica wants to challenge you for the Governor’s position right?”
“Yes. You already told me that. But he is a lightweight, isn’t he?”
“Yes, he is nothing to worry about. But he can be our scapegoat. We can create a rumor on both social and mainstream media that he is the one who killed Fredrick and the girl.”
“And what would the motive be?”
“Jealousy. We could say that the principal has been sleeping with that girl, but was annoyed when he learned that she was also seeing his deputy. I have already found out that the girl is called Rebecca and she also teaches at St. Monica. The story will be that when they left the school together, William had them followed…and killed. That will be believable. That will do two things for you: shift the blame from you, and destroy a potential rival.”
“Who will start the rumor?”
“I know a journalist who can quote “multiple sources” at the school while writing about the love triangle between William, Fredrick and that girl.”
“Come on babe. You know journalists don’t have to disclose their sources. That also means that the sources don’t have to exist.”
“But the bloggers…”
“The bloggers will share the newspaper story to make it trend.”
Alicia smiles at her youthful lover. She crosses over to Christopher, sits on his lap and kisses him on the lips.
“I like the plan, and I love you.”
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