Cecilia III-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from Cecilia II)

Maxwell leans back on the car seat and closes his eyes. He still cannot believe that everyone has turned his back on him. But he is determined to beat this small obstacle. He is 72 years old, and he has beaten so many challenges in his life. There is one that always comes to mind whenever he is faced with a challenge like this. There was a time when he had he had problems with a KANU kingpin in Murang’a called Gitang’a, and that was a real stress point. Gitang’a was very close to the late President Moi, and he had threatened to have Maxwell taken to the Nyayo House torture chambers.

It was not an empty threat.

Within a day of receiving the threat, Maxwell started noticing strange men tailing him. He knew without a doubt that they were Special Branch agents. The Special Branch was dreaded during President Moi’s days in power. Maxwell tried to reach out to his adversary, but Gitang’a refused to give him audience. He was determined to destroy him.

The source of contention was ostensibly a woman. Gitang’a accused Maxwell of sleeping with his woman. The woman in question was not even his wife or mistress. She was a bartender, and it was public knowledge that she slept with anyone with money or influence, or preferably both. The KANU man did not realize, or did not care, that he was making a fool of himself by trying to ‘own’ such a woman.

But Maxwell knew that the problem was not that he had slept with the woman, even though it was true. The real problem was that he had announced his intentions to challenge Gitang’a for the area MP seat. The man had become very unpopular, and Maxwell had started doing his campaigns on the ground. He knew he could beat him easily.

But in the KANU era votes were not the only thing you needed. You also needed blessings from State House. Gitang’a was an assistant Minister, and had access to State House. He was said to be close to the President and his mandarins, so much so that many wondered why the President had not curved out a cabinet slot for him. It was clear that he intended to use that power to destroy Maxwell.

Maxwell knew that he couldn’t fight the man openly. It would be foolhardy to imagine that you could openly challenge the President’s buddy, a man with state resources at his disposal. But when Gitang’a turned down his olive branch, Maxwell figured there were simpler ways of dealing with the problem.

The following weekend, as Gitang’a was enjoying beer and nyama choma with his friends at a local grill in Murang’a town, he started complaining about stomach pains. His condition quickly deteriorated, and when his friends got him to Murang’a District Hospital, as it was then called, he was declared dead on arrival. Maxwell had spoken to one of the bartenders at the bar and she agreed to poison him. Maxwell didn’t make it to be an MP though. Two days after the death of the MP, Maxwell received a call from the Internal Security Minister who categorically warned him against vying for the seat.

“You know Maxwell,” the powerful Minister said. “I am aware that you are the one who killed my friend. I just want you to know that I am watching you. If you are wise, you will drop out of the race. If you insist on vying, whether in KANU or in the opposition, I will personally ensure that you follow my friend Gitang’a to the lands beyond. Except that your death will be slow and very painful. Stay away Maxwell, and always remember that my people are watching you.”

That was the beginning of Maxwell’s paranoia. It is the reason he leads a simple life, even though he can afford to live in luxury and flaunt his wealth. He still operates from the same office that he opened in 1984, except that over the years it has become run-down due to neglect plus the ordinary wear and tear. He drives the same car he bought second-hand in 1991. He lives in the same three-bedroom house that he constructed in 1987.  And he rarely buys clothes.

But he is wealthy. He has significant shares in leading companies in the country, where he earns annual dividends in the millions.  He owns a three-star hotel and a chain of restaurants. He has large tracts of land spread across the country including a dairy farm in Mathira. He has rental houses in different parts of Murang’a County. His children manage his investments, although he controls everything from his study in his home. But he continues to lead a frugal life.

The only part of his life where he has allowed himself to spend money without caring is in his children’s education. All of his children-including the three illegitimate ones-studied in the best schools in the country, and went abroad for their undergraduate and postgraduate studies. His reasoning is that all his wealth will eventually devolve to them, and he wanted them to have the best education money could offer, on the assumption that the education would help them manage and increase the wealth he was creating and thus secure their generations.

Three of the children have however denounced their inheritance. Lucy’s second born and fourth born are the sons she would have been proud of. The second born, Gabriel, is a pilot, while his brother Simeon is an economist. Both have kept to the straight and narrow path as their mother would have wanted, and are not involved in any of this. When they came to learn how their father made his wealth, they renounced their inheritance and declared that they would make their own money.

One of Maxwell’s known illegitimate children, William, is this category. He is a medical doctor working at the Meru County Referral Hospital and has his own clinic in Meru town. Like Lucy, William’s mother Agnes was a saint. She was and still is a devout Christian, and although the pregnancy nearly broke her, her faith never wavered. She was his secretary and the sex was not entirely consensual. She did not manipulate Maxwell into accepting the pregnancy. He did so because he was sorry for what he did. She was and still is such a sweet woman. He did not touch her again after he noticed the pregnancy, although he has always supported her financially.

Besides investing in his children’s education, however, Maxwell is frugal to a fault.

Part of the reason is of course the paranoia that flaunting his wealth would draw his enemies to him. But the other reason was that the money is mostly illegally acquired from victims of accidents, so he feared that flaunting it would attract lawsuits and unnecessary disciplinary cases at the LSK. The other reason was of course the death of his wife Lucy. Lucy used to bring some order in his life. She always ensured that he was well groomed before he left the house. She would have ensured that the office always got repaired and cleaned. And she probably would have pushed him to buy a new car.

Although he cheated on her multiple times, Maxwell loved Lucy. She was a nurse, and the mother of his first four sons. He has two other sons and one daughter from his extra-marital affairs. He knows he has more out there, but their mothers have not dared to come forward. That is why he has started transferring his assets to his children-at to the ones who want it. He does not want them to be destabilized by vultures when he dies.

Lucy kept him grounded. She ensured that they all went to church on Sunday, and while he has never confessed the Christian faith, going to church regularly instilled the fear of God in him. He probably would never have taken that girl-or any other girl-by force if Lucy was still alive, and if he still went to church.

It was a dumb mistake, but he did not imagine it would snowball into this kind of drama. It is not the first time he has forced himself on a girl. But none has ever reported him, and those who did would never get beyond the police station. Of course part of the reason is that he chooses his victims very carefully. Most of them are poor and impoverished women who he knows have no way of getting back at him.

He grossly miscalculated with Sharon. She somehow connected with that woman Cecilia, who has been a pain throughout this entire saga. When Cecilia arrested him, he called a friend at Vigilance House. The man was once an OCS in Murang’a, but he has since risen through the ranks and is now an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Phone calls were made and he was released without charges.

Maxwell also called another friend, the chairman of the local chapter of the LSK. The man owes him because he is the one who bankrolled his quest for the chapter leadership. He is currently toying with the idea of running for the Speaker of the County Assembly seat after the next general election as well as the LSK Mount Kenya Branch chairmanship. He is hoping to use both, if he gets them, to vie for higher office in future, namely, the LSK Presidency and the Office of the Governor.

The guy is smart, and he knows that his ambitions require money, and he also knows that Maxwell has the money as well as quiet clout.  That is why he made so much noise when Maxwell was arrested. He understands the concept of scratch my back I scratch yours very well. But all that support vanished immediately the tide turned against him. As the media turned him into a monster, everyone started avoiding him, including politicians whose campaigns he had bankrolled.

But it is not a problem. He will rise again, and they will come back with their tails between their legs. The same way he dealt with the KANU idiot is the same way he will deal with Sharon and Cecilia. He tried to get Sharon before the case began, but she eluded him. Not this time. He will find her, and she will be sorry before she dies.

Already, Jonah and his brother Matthew have Cecilia. Those two are thugs, even though they highly educated-in England. Lucy must be greatly disappointed in them. Jonah is the first born, while Matthew is the third born. They have a ruthless streak that they inherited from their father. Maxwell actually feels sorry for Cecilia. Those two will torture her mercilessly before killing her.

Anita and Douglas, his other illegitimate children besides William, are also crooks. They are even more deadly than Jonah and Matthew because unlike Lucy’s children, they did not have the benefit of church going mothers. Anita’s mother, Kagwiria, was a bartender who Maxwell turned into his secretary after Agnes gave birth. He had already been sleeping with her, but it is not until a year after she became his secretary that she announced she was pregnant. She must have seen how he was treating Agnes and wanted the same. She was the ultimate street girl. She was and still is a nasty character who gives as much as she receives. She has four other children with three other local tycoons. Douglas’ mother, Florence, was a call girl. She manipulated Maxwell into accepting the pregnancy by threatening to embarrass him if he denied the baby. Maxwell thought about having her killed but decided she was not worth it. But he knows Douglas is his son because he is his true likeness both physically and in character.

Maxwell sent Anita and Douglas after Sharon and her mother. Those two have their own gang, which is why he sent them after Sharon and her mother.  They have the manpower to kidnap two people. Maxwell thought about sending them after the lawyer as well but he thought that that would be too much. And it wouldn’t be necessary anyway. After the death of Sharon and her mother, the case would collapse. Maxwell has already made arrangements for the magistrate’s notes in today’s hearing to be plucked from the court file.

Cecilia’s death is not necessary for the case to collapse, but Maxwell needs it as part of his revenge. She humiliated him, and for that she has to pay.

(As usual, I intend to complete this story on Saturday. So come prepared to grab your copy for only Kshs. 100.)


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