Ingrid is about to take her first bite when her secretary informs her that she has a call from the Chief of Staff of the Kenya Defense Forces, General Wilson Oloo. She pushes her lunch aside and takes the call. For the General to call her, it must be important.
“General,” she says as a way of greeting.
“We have a crisis, Director. There is a coup that is underway. Some of my officers led by the Commander of the Air Force Brigadier Mutua have killed the Deputy President and several Cabinet Secretaries. They are holding President Leodong hostage, but we do not know where. Brigadier Mutua has already declared himself President. I am trying to restore constitutional order, but I need your help,”
Ingrid can feel her blood running cold. Government overthrown? There hasn’t been such an attempt in Kenya since the failed coup of 1982.
“Tell me what I need to do General,”
“Our military intelligence has been compromised, and I don’t know whether I can trust the Federal Intelligence Service. But I know I can trust you Director. I need to know where the rebels are holding President Leodong. Please find the President. Once you know where he is, let me know. My men will take it from there. Tell your officers not to try and play hero because these men are soldiers and are highly trained in combat. I just need information from you. I also need your agency to find and secure Speaker Kariuki. As you know, he is now second in line because the Deputy President is dead. If they kill the President, and God forbid, we will need to have someone to take office constitutionally once we crush those fools.”
“You have it General. I will find both the President and the Speaker. You focus on crushing those foolish traitors,” she says. The General thanks her and hangs up.
Ingrid swings into action, barking orders. Her lunch is now forgotten.
Anne and Henry watch the news silently. They are still in shock. They have no doubt that the hotel was set on fire in an attempt to kill them. It goes without saying that someone who is willing to burn down a whole hotel just to get two people is a dangerous person. So they have a reason to be frightened.
Upon realizing that they were trapped, Anne had called her cousin Nicholas who works for the Embu Fire Department. It was the only thing she could think of doing. Fortunately, Embu Fire was already on the ground. Nicholas found his way to the apartment and bravely got her and Henry out. It turns out that the fire had started on the fifteenth floor and had spread to floors sixteen and seventeen.
When Nicholas arrived, they had started dragging Henry out of the room when he started coughing and woke up. He had not been unconscious, just asleep. If help had not arrived, he would have died peacefully in his sleep long before the flames got to him.
Anne had begged Nicholas not to reveal their identity. She convinced him that the fire had been started by someone who was out to kill them, and that it would be best if that person thought they were dead. Nicholas helped them out of floor fifteen to the much safer floor thirteen, then gave them the keys to his house. They sneaked into the hotel’s all night club which is located quite some distance from the residential area. They had moved in the shadows although it was improbable that anyone would have noticed them. All the guards were helping to put out the fire.
The club was, and still is sound proofed. From the outside, the entire hotel is quiet and peaceful, but once you enter the club, the din is deafening. Loud music, screaming women, brawling men, name it. Nobody even noticed their entrance.
Anne and Henry bought two bottles of beer at the bar and cleverly, without making it look deliberate, splashed beer on their clothes. The smell of alcohol would cancel the smell of smoke, and it would help them pretend to be drunk. They took an Uber to another club in Embu’s CBD. From there they walked to Nicholas’ two bedroom apartment, which is where they are.
They had planned to go to Nairobi and stay there anonymously while the Tharaka Nithi drama played itself out, but that is no longer an option. The streets of Nairobi are now battle fields between Brigadier Mutua’s soldiers and the soldiers loyal to President Leodong. The Brigadier has warned everyone to stay indoors.
So Nicholas has begged them to stay at his place. He will stay at his girlfriend’s place, he told them.
Speaker Kariuki is furious as he watches the news. Under the arrangement Kashfa had put in place, it was he, Kariuki who was supposed to be President. Brigadier Mutua was supposed to be the Chief of General Staff. But he should have known that the military men would not overthrow the government and give the power to a civilian. They would be taking all the risks after all.
Kashfa knew that of course. He dangled the Presidency at Kariuki just to get links to the military. Kashfa and Kariuki have done business together in the past, and Kashfa knew that Kariuki, being a former military man, still had links in the organization and would know who could be entrusted with the plot to overthrow Leodong. It was he, Kariuki, who had mentioned Brigadier Mutua’s name to Kashfa.
Kashfa has put together a loose coalition of criminal cartels with the sole aim of overthrowing Leodong. The President has been a pain in all their behinds in the two weeks he has been in office. That is why they agreed to torture him first before killing him. Ingrid, the Director of NCIS-the woman who has been poking her nose in all the cartels- will also suffer a very slow and painful death.
Kariuki can see another way in which he can rule this country. But it depends on chance. The Deputy President is dead, so he is the second in line to the Presidency. Brigadier Mutua’s rebels have the President, and the plan is to eventually kill him. If they kill him, then they are defeated by General Oloo’s soldiers, then he will be President even if it will be for just sixty days before elections are held.
But sixty days are enough for him to consolidate his position and win the next election. Moi did it within ninety days in 1978, so why can’t he? All he can do right now is sit tight and hope that the Brigadier will kill the President, then get defeated by the General. Assuming of course that the General doesn’t have presidential ambitions of his own.
The Chairman watches the news with interest. He has had the TV on the whole day because he has been anticipating the breaking news of the death of the Director of the National Criminal Investigations Service. Instead, what he is seeing on his television is the overthrow of the Federal Government. The big boys in Nairobi have done what the Caucus has been trying to do in Tharaka Nithi.
The overthrow of the Federal Government is good for the Caucus. By now Ingrid must be dead. In the chaos surrounding the overthrow of the Federal Government, the Caucus’ people in Nairobi will find the Governor and her deputy and finish them off. Just in case the rebels lose.
But if the rebels prevail, then the Chairman and the Caucus will dance to the tune of the Brigadier. Brigadier Mutua will most likely appoint military Governors to the states, but he may opt for civilian leaders loyal to him. Whatever the case, the military government of Brigadier Mutua will be corrupt, just like any other dictatorship. If the Caucus manages to remain in his good books, then the Chairman is confident that the Caucus will prosper. The Chairman’s youngest son is a soldier. Maybe he can even bribe the Brigadier to make the boy the Military Governor of Tharaka Nithi. Just maybe…
Ingrid knows that rebel soldiers will come to the NCIS offices so she assigns her officers to the various observation stations across the city. They will be using the observation stations as their bases. Observation points are ordinary two bedroom apartments in crime prone areas. They are rented by undercover officers who integrate in the community to gather intelligence. The officers scatter in groups. The streets are dangerous, but the men and women are trained detectives. They will find their way. The support staff are escorted home by the detectives. The IT people disable the main communication channel then go underground to the alternative communication center.
It was Ingrid who came up with the idea of an alternative communication system built underground, below the store where items seized in crime scenes are kept. She cannot remember why she had thought then that it would be important, but now she is glad she did. When the Brigadier’s soldiers come, they will find a deserted station.
She goes with one team to an observation point in Kinoo. She has warned her officers that lawlessness will be rife while the soldiers are fighting, but their priority will remain finding President Leodong and Speaker Kariuki. Let the Nairobi Metropolitan Police and the various state police departments worry about crime. The same instruction has been shared with all the NCIS officers countrywide.
Ingrid is worried about her husband and his boss the Governor but she knows she has to focus. It is unlikely that the rebel soldiers will attack a hospital, so Charles and Karwitha should be fine. But if Leodong and Kariuki are killed, then nobody will be fine.
Besides, this battle is personal to her. President Leodong is her friend and mentor. She is sure he is the man who can cure the country from the vice of corruption. She cannot allow his vision to be cut short by the bullets of barbarian soldiers. She will have to find him, at whatever cost.
Brigadier Mutua knows something that very few people, even in his own rebel group, know. He does not have Leodong. It is just propaganda. True, they attacked State House and captured him. But the Brigadier decided that it was too risky to keep him there. Having Leodong in State House, even under arrest, would make the loyalist soldiers fight even harder, and perhaps even re-capture the House. So he chose a team of his most trusted soldiers and told them to take the deposed president to a safe house in Kiserian. They were to torture him there then finally kill him.
But the convoy of three military vehicles was attacked just past Rongai. One of the soldiers radioed the Brigadier, but he was also dying. When the Brigadier arrived at the scene, the three vehicles were there, still intact. But Leodong and the soldiers weren’t there, whether alive or as dead bodies.
The Brigadier is yet to understand what exactly happened. Did the soldiers turn against him and decided to protect the President? But why would they radio him, and why would they leave the vehicles behind?
Were they ambushed by loyalist soldiers? But if the General’s men have the President they would have used him in their propaganda. They would have given him a new suit and made him address the nation live on Facebook, to show that he is still in charge. At least that is what the Brigadier would have done. So it is unlikely that the loyalists have the President.
So who attacked the soldiers and rescued the President, assuming that that is what happened? How did they outgun eighteen highly skilled combatants in three armored vehicles? How many were they? Al Shabab would have been suspect if incident had happened in Northern Kenya, but they couldn’t have gotten a fighting unit as far inside the country as Kiserian. Besides, Al Shabab would have used grenades, landmines and bullets, so the vehicles would be bearing evidence of that.
What intentions do the captors have with Leodong? Were they rescuing him or did they capture him for their own selfish motives? What would those motives be? To blackmail either or both sides in the current conflict? What did they do with the bodies of eighteen soldiers? The Brigadier is only hoping that whoever has Leodong will shut up until he, the Brigadier, has defeated the loyalists and consolidated his position as the Supreme Ruler of Kenya. Once the General surrenders, then it won’t matter whether Leodong is alive or dead. Except that if he is alive he will be made to suffer before he dies. The same fate that the General and that woman Ingrid will suffer.
A group soldiers speed to Pride Hospital in a military truck. They shoot dead the guards and force their way in. They storm into the reception and point their guns at the two pretty girls sitting behind computers.
“We know the Governor of Tharaka Nithi State and her deputy are in this hospital. Where are they?”
One of the girls is trembling, but the other, the one called Lydia, is staring at the soldiers contemptuously. She was in the military Academy but was discharged two weeks before she completed her training because the Academy doctor discovered she was pregnant. But she knows that that is not the real reason why she was discharged. The Academy Commandant had wanted to sleep with her since she joined the Academy, but she had turned him down. So when her civilian boyfriend made her pregnant, he used that as an excuse to get rid of her. She appealed to the Chief of Staff of the Kenya Defense Forces, General Mwadime, but he chose to side with the Commandant. The Commandant’s name is Brigadier Mutua. She sued at the Federal High Court, but the case is still dragging on, frustrated military lawyers.
When President Leodong took office two weeks ago, he moved Brigadier Mutua from the Academy to head the Air Force, and made General Oloo the Chief of Staff. Lydia wrote to the new Chief explaining her case. He actually wrote back, promising to look into the matter and get back to her within a month. He even promised to reinstate her and have the military pay her a backdated salary for the three years, in case he finds she was unfairly treated as she alleges. In return, he would expect her to withdraw the court case. Lydia couldn’t have asked for anything better.
But now Brigadier Mutua has overthrown the government, and the men standing in front of him can only be his minions. From the way they are acting, they can only be rebels, and she is not about to help them.
“We do not give patient information to people who are not immediate family members,” she says defiantly. Bullets rain on her killing her instantly. The other girl gives the soldiers the ward numbers of the Governor and her Deputy within seconds, but they shoot her anyway and hurry to the wards. Their leader, Captain Kimathi has promised them bucket loads of money if they kill the two leaders.
They have no doubt that the money will come because Captain Kimathi’s father is a wealthy businessman and the Chairman of the Tharaka Nithi Business Caucus. In a few minutes they will kill the two and become instant millionaires.
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