Politics

Not Man Enough II-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from Not Man Enough I)

Immediately the CS leaves, a team of police officers and EACC officials enter the office and handcuff Maxwell, under the full glare of the media. Maxwell has seen this kind of arrests before, and he always assumed that the people who got arrested were guilty. He knows that that is the verdict that a majority of the people in the country have already passed on him.

He is led to the police Land Cruiser which dramatically speeds towards Central Police Stations. He had expected he would be taken to EACC headquarters or Gigiri Police Station, but they take him to Central. When he gets to the police station, he finds that the CEO of the Kenya Rails and Trains Board has also been arrested. The guy has already procured the services of one of the lawyers who appear regularly appear on TV handling high profile cases. When the lawyer sees Maxwell, he smiles and starts telling police officers to harass him.

“I will get you out of this place, don’t worry,” he tells Maxwell. But Maxwell is not interested. Ever since this drama started, he decided that only one lawyer would represent him if it came to that. He called her early this week, because it was becoming very clear that he would be arrested, and told her the truth. She believed him, and that is important to him. He knows that because she believes him, she will fight for him to the end. She has promised him that she is not afraid of going against the President and the CS. When she said that, Maxwell regretted reaching out to her, knowing that involving her would put her in danger, but it was too late to back out. Once Dorothy sets her mind to do something, she cannot be dissuaded.

In their younger days, Dorothy not only believed him, she also believed in him. His only regret is that he did not marry her then.

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Maxwell was a passionate Christian in high school. He preached to his fellow students and even teachers with youthful passion and zeal. He became the Christian Union vice-chairman in form two, and chairman in form 3. When he joined the University of Nairobi, he was still passionate about his faith. He was appointed as the chairman of his class Christian Union committee in first year, while Dorothy was appointed the secretary. The following year, they were promoted to the main Christian Union Executive Committee. Maxwell was the Second Vice Chair while Dorothy was the Assistant Secretary.

It was pretty obvious that Maxwell would become the Christian Union chairman the following year, with Dorothy as the secretary, but Maxwell bowed out of the Christian Union leadership to pursue politics.

Maxwell found that he was passionate about human rights and social justice. He joined protests against corruption and extra judicial killings. He criticized the government, the university administration and the SONU leadership whenever they did something he felt was not right. At first, however, he did not even think about vying for a position in student leadership, because he did not think he had what it took to win. First, Parklands campus is a tiny campus, and he would be going against student politicians from bigger campuses like Main Campus and Kikuyu Campus. Second, he really did not think he had what it took to be a leader of a large university like the UoN.

It was Dorothy who convinced him to vie.

“You are already popular beyond this campus, Max. You have what it takes. Why don’t you give it a shot?”

“I don’t know Dot. I am not a politician. I prefer to support causes I believe in from the back bench.”

“No Max. The real issue is that you are afraid of losing. And you are afraid that if you lose you will prove your father right.

Dorothy was so close to him that he had shared intimate details about his life with her, including the words his father had repeatedly told him when he was a boy.

“Listen to me, Max. Everyone loses something at some point in their lives, and losing an election doesn’t make you a loser in life. But think about the kind of positive influence you would have in this campus if you won the SONU chairmanship.”

It took several weeks of convincing before Maxwell finally threw his hat in the ring. Dorothy stepped into the ring with him. By that time, she was already the Parklands Campus Christian Union Secretary, and had also become the Secretary of the Joint Coordinating Council of Nairobi University Christian Unions. She used that platform to campaign for him.

She rallied all other Christian Unions in the university, including the massive Main Campus Christian Union (MCCU), behind his candidature. During the campaign period, she hardly attended services at Parklands Campus Christian Union. She was always travelling, visiting MCCU, Kikuyu Campus Christian Union (KCCU), Kenya Science Campus Christian Union(KSCCU), Upper Kabete Campus Christian Union(UKCCU), Lower Kabete Campus Christian Union (LKCCU) and even the tiny but vocal Medical School Christian Union. While Maxwell reached out students in secular spaces, Dorothy held forte in church. She rallied other Christians behind him, and managed to raise an army of volunteers and supporters from the Christian Unions. There was a huge turnout in that election, and Maxwell easily won.

But he soon realised that he would have to contend with a SONU executive committee that did not share his values.

But Maxwell resisted pressure from other SONU executives to pinch SONU money. He believed in his reform agenda, and told them off time and again. Within no time, however, he won several admirers in the committee who ensured that the executive committee did not pass any resolutions that contradicted his values. His hardline stance on issues corruption earned him many enemies, but he was determined to stay put. One time he was attacked by goons and had to be hospitalized for a couple of weeks, but he remained firm in his resolve to have student’s money benefit students. In his era, no sham events were held and a large number of students got SONU bursaries. The events that were held, such as talent shows, career fairs and cultural fetes, were well planned and Maxwell always sourced partners and sponsors, and would always get the expenses of the event audited afterwards. His resolve rarely wavered, but if it did, Dorothy would set him straight. She put her credibility as a Christian leader on the line for him, and he honestly did not want to let her down. He loved her.

But remaining on the narrow path was difficult. He felt there was a standard of life set for SONU chairmen that he was not living up to. His suits were shabby and ill fitting, and like most other students, he was constantly broke. After all, he came from a humble background, and his parents had struggled to put him and his siblings through school. Then one day, at a party organized for student leaders by a former MP who was trying to regain his seat, the host decided to challenge him.

“Why is the SONU chairman looking like a pauper?”

“I am not employed sir. I am just a student.”

“But you are the SONU chairman! You have resources at your disposal!”

“With all due respect sir, I run a corrupt free administration. I cannot use student’s money for personal gain. My colleagues at the Executive Council and I do get a stipend for our services, but I do believe that the bulk of the money should go towards advancing student-related causes.”

The former MP laughed patronizingly. He was a short man. Round in shape; cylindrical would actually be a better description.

“Listen son. I know you mean well. But the truth is, SONU money will never help students. You are there for just a year. Next year your successor will come and eat the money. Why do the students need the money anyway? Look, I know for you to be SONU chairman, you have really worked hard for the students’ welfare. Getting the position is God rewarding you. Get yourself good clothes. Start businesses. Get a small car. If you are wealthy you will be of more help to this country, and to future students. You can give bursaries to needy kids. And you will be able to stand up to rich politicians because they cannot intimidate you with money. I can tell you without a doubt that your law degree will not make you rich. If you are lucky to get a job after you get admitted to the bar, they will pay you eighty thousand gross. After paying all your bills, how much will you save and how long will it take you to make even just 1 million?” the man asked and then shook his head and went away to greet other acquaintances.

That night, Maxwell thought about what the man had said and discussed it with Dorothy. As usual, she set him straight.

“If you cannot serve honestly now, don’t delude yourself that you will help people when you are wealthy. Greed will consume you and take you to the abyss. Think about that.”

Maxwell completed his term as SONU chairman without touching student’s money, and to date his leadership at the institution is cited as the finest in the history of the institution. From offering bursaries to needy students to finding internships for others, his time at the helm was the most impactful in the history of the University of Nairobi. That is why Dorothy believed in him when he said that he did not steal the trains repair money.

He should have married her, he reminds himself. But he was worried that she would turn him down. In the end, the insecurity he has always harbored about his worth held him back, and she got married to Calistus, the man who became the Parklands Campus Christian Union chairman after he (Maxwell) decided to pursue SONU leadership.

                                                                       *

The men have been given clear instructions. The woman is to be kidnapped, tortured, killed and buried without a trace. The underground parking of Maniac Towers is relatively dark, so their job is easy. As soon as Dorothy steps out of the lift and starts walking towards her car, the two men pounce on her. One of them hits her on the head with a metal bar. She becomes unconscious before she can scream. They load her into their Toyota Noah, which has fake number plates, and speed out of the parking lot into the maze of Nairobi streets.

(Continued Here)

Image by Hector Gonzalez  from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/auto-highway-truck-van-speed-95824/

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