(Continued from The Deep State II)
“Hi babe,” Stella says when she picks up the phone.
“My sweet lemon how are you? I have missed you,”
Sweet lemon? Why would he call her sweet lemon? Plus, there is something off about his tone. Almost as if he is reluctantly talking to her. He sounds that way sometimes when she calls him when he is already asleep. Or if she calls him when he is in a hurry to go to court. But he is the one who has called her. Why should he sound like that?
“Where are you? I would like to spend the night with you. It has been a while,” Joseph continues.
If he had just said that he wanted to spend the night with her and ended it there, she would have been shocked. Joseph is very strict about remaining sexually pure. It took a while before he visited her house or invited her to his. And up to today, he cannot sit on the same couch with her. So spending the night in her house would be out of question.
But he said ‘it has been a while’. He has never spent the night in her house, so there has never been a while. Her mind is racing. There must be something to this call. Maybe he has been forced to make this call. Maybe someone has a gun to his head. Maybe he has been beaten up.
The thought of Joseph, a civilian, being in physical danger because of her terrifies her. Perhaps she should just reveal her whereabouts so that they can leave him alone. But by doing that, she will be putting Gerald, his sister and brother in law in danger. Gerald is a police officer and probably can handle physical abuse, but Gatwiri and John are civilians. And theirs is a bigger offence because they are actually hiding her. Joseph’s only offence is being her boyfriend. Whoever is bullying her must be from the station, and she knows how the local policemen think. They are, after all, her colleagues. They will rough him up a bit then let him be once they realize he knows nothing.
“Look Joseph, I cannot do this anymore,” she says suddenly.
“Be your girlfriend,”
“But why?” he is genuinely alarmed, and she knows she has to end this call quickly before he says something stupid.
“Look Joseph, I am sorry it had to end this way. I met Adam about four months ago. I am actually in his house right now. Last week I found out that I am carrying his baby. I tried to tell you Joseph, but I just couldn’t find the right words. I am so sorry. You are a good man and do not deserve someone like me. I am sure you will find a nice girl to marry. I have to go now. I can hear Adam calling me. ”
She hangs up before he can respond, then leans on the wall of the house and starts crying. She knows Joseph is hurting, but if someone has gotten to him, it is best that he doesn’t know where she is. And if they believe that she has broken up with him, then even better. They will leave him alone. But for how long will she let him believe that she has broken up with him?
“You have done the right thing,” Gerald tells her. She had not noticed his presence. Stella nods and continues sobbing. Gerald moves closer and takes her hand.
“I will look for Joseph and explain to him that you have not broken up with him,”
“You can do that for me?”
“Why not? You are my friend,”
“Thank you Gerald,”
“You are welcome. But of course I will not tell him where you are,”
“What did you do that incensed these people this much? It can’t be about refusing to take bribes. They always get the bribe anyway, even when you impound vehicles.”
“No it’s not. It is about the accident,”
“What about the accident?”
“This morning I was going to the road block as usual, the OCS called me. He told me not to mess with a Mutethia Stores’ tanker that would be passing or I would face the music. It wasn’t really an order, it was a threat. So when I saw the tanker I thought, what’s the big deal? Even if I impound it they will release it anyway. So I let it pass. That tanker is the one that caused the accident.”
“Wait, did the OCS say a Mutethia tanker or Mutethia tankers?”
Stella scrolls on her phone then plays the recorded voice conversation.
“You recorded the bosses? Did you know what they were going to tell you?”
“No I didn’t. I record every time I am summoned to those offices. You never know when those corrupt fools are going to ask you to do something illegal.”
After listening to the record, Gerald stares at Stella in disbelief.
“They knew the lorry could cause the accident. But how? Would they have known at what precise time the convoy would be on its way from Marima to Chuka?”
“I think they knew. I actually think they knew the precise time the convoy would be at Nithi Valley. The reason I had to be warned is because if I stopped the tanker even for a few minutes, then there was a chance that I would mess their timing,”
“Oh my God. You are right. Which means that these people are ruthless and dangerous. Which means you need to switch off that phone and remove the battery. If I need to talk to you I will call you through my sister,”
“Of course. People who are capable of killing two governors will have no problem tracking the phone of a police sergeant.”
President Wesonga watches the accident from his office at State House. He is furious. He is sure the ‘accident’ was no accident. Professor Kananu had just called him to inform him that finally there was a truce between Governors Kathambi and Mutwiri. Prof. Kananu had told him that Mutwiri was not in principle opposed to an alliance with him. Mutwiri had snubbed the Deputy President thrice but he was uncomfortable with the idea of Governor Kathambi being the Deputy President because that would make her “the regional kingpin or queenpin or whatever”. Professor Kananu had actually used those exact words. But Mutwiri had agreed to an arrangement that Kananu promised to brief the President about after the launch of the airstrip. Except that they did not make it that far.
President Wesonga loved the Professor like his own daughter. He met her when he was Governor and she was an undergraduate student at Masinde Muliro University. She was just about to drop out of school due to lack of school fees. She had been denied bursary by both the County Government of Tharaka Nithi and the Maara Constituency CDF. So when she was told she wouldn’t sit her exams unless her fee was cleared, she went to his office and refused to leave. His aides told her to book an appointment for another day but she refused. Nobody told him that she was there.
When he finally came out of his office on his way home, she rushed to him, and told him that she needed school fees. He invited her to ride home with him. She refused. He had looked at her and said,
“Young lady, I am not inviting you to my bed, if that is what you are afraid of. The thing is, I have no money to help you with. I don’t normally issue bursaries here so I can tell you to apply but I can’t guarantee that they will give you. But I have a kinder government at home that controls the money I earn. She is much kinder than the county bureaucracy and if you explain yourself properly, you might get help.”
And with that, he had walked to his car. She had reluctantly followed, and only relaxed when he called his wife Jennifer and told her to include another guest for dinner. Both President Wesonga and First Lady Jennifer grew up poor and struggled through school, and so poor students have a special place in their hearts.
What Wesonga had told Kananu was correct. Wesonga usually leaves the management of his finances to his wife. Over the years she has been investing his money and takes care of the bills. She usually updates him, but more often than not he is usually not listening. He trusts her. He made that decision early in their marriage. He was the Mayor of Kakamega Municipal Council when his children were almost kicked out of school because he had spent all his money politicking. He handed over his salary to his wife and forty years later, he has no regrets. Jennifer is a suave businesswoman and over the years she has made them wealthy, using savings from his salary as capital.
Jennifer took over the responsibility of educating Kananu. Kananu completed her degree in Biology with a second class upper division. She wanted to do a masters so Jennifer paid for it and she completed it within a year at Egerton University. Egerton hired her as a lecturer. A couple of years later she went to South Africa to do her Ph.D. Egerton gave her a partial scholarship and Jennifer paid the rest. After completing her studies, the newly minted Dr. Kananu worked briefly at Egerton University in Njoro before she was sent to Chuka, which was established as a constituent college of Egerton before becoming a fully-fledged University. She quickly rose through the ranks at Chuka before being appointed Vice Chancellor at the youthful age of 45.
Now she is dead. And that is making the President angry, because he is convinced that someone has killed her. He is trying hard not to cast aspersions because he doesn’t have proof, but he is finding it difficult to believe that his Deputy had nothing to do with the deaths.
Of course the accident has dealt a blow to his re-election bid. But that is not important right now. As a matter of fact, he will only vie because he has things he needs to complete, and to stop that monster Jamal from taking office. When he, Wesonga, and Mrs. Makau were vying, they made a twenty year blue print to turn around the country. In fourteen years they have achieved many of their plans. The economy is up and running. Corruption is at an all-time low. Institutions are working again. Even if he loses next year’s election, it will take years for Jamal to undo fifteen years of excellence. But it would be nice to win and complete the work, and possibly groom an honest successor to continue with the good work.
President Wesonga regrets making Jamal his Deputy. The guy is arrogant and cares little for the people. It didn’t take long for President Wesonga to realize that Jamal was only interested in enriching himself and his clique of shadowy friends. Cartels had almost brought the country to its knees before the courageous Mrs. Makau told them to go to hell. If Jamal becomes President, those cartels will be back with impunity.
What is making him angry right now is the innocent lives that have been lost. The three youthful leaders, Prof Kananu and Governors Kathambi and Mutwiri; a bus full of school children and tens of other innocent Kenyans going about their business.
He takes his phone and calls Peter Karanja, the State House Chief of Staff, who happens to be the person he trusts most. His Deputy has a team whose mission is to sabotage him, so it is difficult to know who to trust. But he trusts Peter.
“I am going to Chuka tomorrow morning. Make it happen,”
“But sir, the Japanese Ambassador is bringing a delegation of Japanese businessmen to see you here at State House tomorrow,”
“The Japanese did not elect me. I am going to Chuka tomorrow. Take care of the Japanese,”
Jamal is in his office when Peter informs him that the President is going to Chuka. Would he kindly entertain a bunch of Japanese at State House? No, he cannot use the President’s office, but he can use the office of the Head of Civil Service.
An idea gets into Jamal’s head. He doesn’t have to leave State House tomorrow when he goes there. And he might use the President’s office the day after tomorrow. Jamal knows he is not popular in the government hierarchy, but with the kind of money he controls, he is able to buy loyalty. He calls the head of Presidential Escort, a corrupt guy who is capable of selling his own mother to slave drivers for an extra coin.
“Say Jude. The senile problem is travelling to the mountain tomorrow. I would like to have that problem taken care of while there,”
“Are you saying…”
“Yes, Jude. I want him dead. It is time I took over. You will be paid handsomely.”
“Taking care of such problem is not that easy sir. It requires preparation. It has never been done in Kenya,”
“Jude, can you make it happen, or should I find someone more competent?”
Jude hesitates. Due to his proximity to the President, he is very connected. And he knows that the loyalties of many people are malleable. Mention money and they will switch sides at the twinkle of an eye. If Jamal wants the President dead, and he has the money, then Jamal will get the head of the President on a platter.
“Yes Mr. President. It will be done,”
Jamal stands and stretches his legs. He likes the sound of that. Mr. President. Tomorrow he will become the President proper. Tomorrow.
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