(Continued from Marriage of Servitude III)
Veronica and Martin are pleased with the way things are going. They have never liked Sofia, and they have always wanted her gone from their son’s life. Veronica and Martin did not like the fact that their son spent his own money to educate her. That she is leaving the family in shame makes the situation even better.
Another person they do not like is Principal Meshack. They have a history with him, and they have grown to hate him with a passion. They have tried to bring him down in the past, but it has not worked. This time though, the stage is set for them to finally get their revenge against Meshack, and he will go down with Sofia.
The first reason Veronica and Martin don’t like Meshack is because Martin had wanted to take over Mwanja High School as the principal nine years ago, but Meshack beat him to it. Both Martin and Veronica were teachers, but both of them are now retired. Veronica never rose beyond the position of a Senior Teacher, although she was interviewed multiple times for the position of Deputy Principal. Perhaps it was because she had never advanced her studies beyond the diploma that she got from Siriba Teachers College, where she and Martin met decades ago. Her husband did not advance his education either. At some point, they were actually sent to teach in primary schools, before being sent back to secondary schools.
Veronica and Martin were convinced that getting to the helm of school administration would be their ticket to wealth. They were convinced that being principals would help them manipulate school finances would enable them become wealthy in retirement. They had seen fellow teachers become principals and suddenly start constructing rental houses and buying high end cars. Martin is the one who came very close to that nirvana when he became a deputy principal at Mwanja High. The appointment was crucial for two reasons: first, the church was very influential in the running of the affairs of the school. All the B.O.M members were church elders. Second, the then principal, Eric, was a longtime friend of Martin, and he is the one who had orchestrated the transfer of Martin to the school, so that he could groom him as his successor. These two factors made Martin Eric’s obvious successor.
Eric himself became very wealthy since becoming the principal of Mwanja High. His retirement was due within two years of Martin becoming his deputy, so he immediately started putting motions in place to have Martin succeed him. But TSC had other ideas, and Meshack was brought in as the head. It was very humiliating for Martin to report to the much younger Meshack. Martin was 53 years old nine years ago, and would have been principal for only seven years before retiring. Meshack was 41, but more qualified. Even at that age, he had already served as a Deputy Principal for four years, compared to Martin’s two. While Martin was clinging on to his Diploma, Meshack already had a Masters’ degree in Geography, one of the two subjects he was trained in, and had already enrolled for his second Masters, an MBA.
Meshack proved to be a faithful civil servant. It didn’t take long for his wife Beatrice to realize that his plum position would not get them wealth. Their marriage always had cracks; Beatrice had been seeing another man on the side for years and so her disrespect for Meshack had been mounting year after year. Their marriage survived because first, Meshack loved her and had no idea she was cheating, and second, she did not want to leave him either. The reason she did not want to leave him is because she could see that he had a potential for becoming wealthy and so wanted to hang around just in case. Her boyfriend was an agricultural officer, but although he was financially stable, he was far from wealthy.
When Meshack became principal, it became obvious that he wasn’t after riches, and so Beatrice’s disrespect for him exploded, and she started becoming more and more careless with her affair. Meshack caught wind of it and filed for divorce. Beatrice went on a smear campaign which Martin and Veronica joined with glee.
Veronica and Martin had hoped that the scandal that Beatrice had created would see Meshack fired, demoted or at least transferred, so that Martin could take charge of the school. But Meshack emerged from that fiasco stronger. He influenced the reconstitution of the Board of Management and started doing structural changes in the organizational structure of the school. He started constructing new facilities at the school and renovating new ones without raising the school fees. This put a spot light into the way Eric had been using school money, prompting an investigation. Eric was eventually jailed for two years, and about half of his wealth seized by the State, auctioned and the money returned to Mwanja High. Meshack used the money to construct a five story mega-dormitory, ending congestion in existing dormitories.
For larger projects, he galvanized the alumni association into conducting fundraisers. These fundraisers funded an ultra-modern dining hall and a science laboratory block. It wasn’t long before the performance of the school began to improve, in part because of the improved infrastructure and in part because Meshack’s inspirational character boosted the morale of both teachers and students.
Naturally, Martin did his best to undermine Meshack’s efforts, but he lost that contest when Meshack forced him out of the school into early retirement. Meshack had just been elected as the Secretary General of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association, and therefore had much more clout. To add salt to injury a year after Martin was forced into early retirement, Meshack hired Sofia at the school and even helped her to get TSC placement.
Meshack is very popular within the school community, but not everyone adores him. One such person is Ms. Adiola. Lisbeth Adiola is 47, and has been in love with Meshack ever since he came to this school nine years ago. She came six years before him, so she has been at Mwanja High for fifteen years. She kept her distance in the first year of his administration because she did not want to get caught in the cross hairs of his divorce. She had been warned that Beatrice was bad news.
With Beatrice out of the way, however, she aligned herself to Meshack. She strongly supported all his initiatives, volunteering for every activity he proposed, until she became his favorite. She was certain that sooner or later they would become lovers. She desperately wanted to make love to him…and to marry him. When Martin was pushed out of the school, she expected that Meshack would push for her to get the Deputy’s post. But he bypassed her and threw his weight behind another teacher called Perminus.
But what irked Lisbeth the most was the arrival of Sofia. She seemed to so effortlessly capture Meshack’s attention. She didn’t even have to do all the scheming that Lisbeth had to do to cement her place as his favorite. Within a few months it was clear that Sofia was the new favorite, and Lisbeth had dropped off the pecking order. That is not all. As she pushed her way to be Meshack’s favorite, Lisbeth had rubbed many people the wrong way, so when she fell of the perch she became the laughing stock in the staffroom. Sofia, on the other hand, seems to be everyone’s darling, and Meshack is simply one of the people who like her. Lisbeth now resents both Meshack and Sofia with a passion.
Lisbeth’s house is next to the Principal’s house in the staff quarters. When someone knocked on Meshack’s door, she instinctively drew her bedroom curtain and peeped. It is a habit that she has developed over time, as she tries to monitor if Meshack is sleeping with anyone. Last night she was shocked to see Sofia at the door, with only a lesso around her body. She watched as Meshack opened the door and Sofia got in.
When the lights in Meshack’s house finally went out, and she was sure that Sofia would be spending the night there, she took out her phone and texted Martin.
Veronica and Martin’s short term plan is actually very simple. They want Meshack and Sofia to be charged in court. Meshack and Sofia will be slapped with a high cash bail that Sofia will not be able to pay, and therefore will be taken to remand. That will prompt TSC to fire her because for months, and even years, she will not be able to report to work. Meshack will probably be able to pay, but Veronica and Martin have devised another way to get him fired. There is a new trend in Kenya where public officers are being forced to stay away from their offices when they are charged with offences. It has happened to Governors, and the Kiambu Governor was actually ousted while he was away. That is what Veronica and Martin want for Meshack. They will not benefit in any way when Meshack is fired, but they will get their sweet revenge.
Veronica and Martin will spend the day to day bribing people so that that standard is applied to those two, and to have the case drag in court for years. Already, Martin has talked to the magistrate on phone, so the plan is in motion.
They will have had their sweet revenge on Meshack, and Sofia will go back to her life of poverty, where she belongs. After a couple of years, Veronica and Martin will give the magistrate more bribe money to throw them into jail at the end of the case.
That will be the final victory.
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Image by Myriam Dreamer from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/woman-beauty-afro-american-5893922/
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