Recently, following first the death of General Kazini, Cadet Brian Bukenya, Dr. Gray Turyakira, I was talking to a friend and as we talked about the carnage and how the nation was in mourning at the loss of some would-be great talent the nation had lost. My mind was transported to a project I have been working on for a while now. An investigative project that looks at some rather unusual things happening right under our noses. It started as a pet project when in college I decided that the shortest route to stardom was to find my own “Watergate”, an investigative piece to end them all:
Mujaasi Rosemary graduated with a Diploma and was, in a year, married to the love of her life. She was pregnant within a year and her first son was born a year after. He didn’t have much but he was a deft and adept worker. Operating a small shop in a peri-urban area, Martin was a man with a big dream. Over the years, Rosemary helped out in the shop while he started small side businesses and watched as they consequently collapsed. The lessons hurt but he always came back to the shop. Always back to where it all begun.
Two sons later, and a home built out of the proceeds from the small shop, Martin had secured a future for his sons. He had built his bride a house and had a small car to do some business for him. He often went out of town to Nairobi where he bought stock for his shop.
It was on one of these fateful trips that he met the man who would change his life. The army man told him of the glory and promise of being in the army and the super powers of working with intelligence. Like most men, he was drawn. He flirted with the idea. Once, he ran it by Rosemary who sat up in bed and told him that she had worked alongside him all this while and wouldn’t watch him leave her so wantonly for his “James Bond” fantasies. A short spell of illness of one of his sons seemed to remind him of his priorities. And he discarded the idea.
The phone calls with the new family friend would continue; discussions of business, possibilities, and opportunities.
As I listened to this woman tell me her story my heart froze and thawed at every turn in the tale. Her eyes are frozen over with a film of moisture. She has cried all her tears, she will cry no more. Her body is turned away from me but her eyes and face are turned to me; she looks at my hair constantly, almost like it reminds her of something. She often stops in the middle of her tale to sob, or to just be quiet. As a journalism student, you are told to be still and watch; to observe and never interfere with the story. I stoically hold my pen, and with an iron clad will hold my eyes firmly glued to the notebook on my lap. I notice how clean my pants are. They are out of place in her humble, dirt –ingrained sitting room. She sighs again.
One night at about 11:30PM Martin got a call. He asked why the caller had taken so long to inform him. He cursed as he left the house but made sure to tell Rosemary that his friend had called and that he was going out to meet him but would be back soon.
Martin never came back. His body was found decapitated and dumped in a swamp and his little car was discovered burnt beyond recognition. The money he had gone to collect was never found. The friend he had gone to see never ever called the family. He purchased his first piece of land after that.
As Rosemary relates this tale, the film across her eyes which fills in a wink breaks its banks and two long solitary tears roll down her face. They roll. And roll. Her body is wracked by sobs which she doesn’t bother to stop. She doesn’t touch her face at all. Looking at this woman who has lost her soul mate is bad enough but what about her two sons? And who will ensure her uncertain times are calmed? My own eyes fill with fear and horror at the thought that we are surrounded by such hideous monsters living amongst us.
His body was never found. The car was found in a swamp a few miles out of town, disserted and run down. In the minds of close family members there is no doubt
She has raised her boys as God – fearing, respectful, and sportsmen-like boys. When they are back from school, she can barely feed them. One is a Rugby player and the other likes to play Cricket. Energetic, tall and handsome with their father’s features, they are the light of her life. She lives for them, and they for her.
As I move out of the reverie I have an answer to this person, it doesn’t matter how many soldiers are killed, Martin, is a granite – solid reminder of the many, many fallen citizens whose stories are not being told because they are not army men.
This post is a salutation to all the women and families in this pearl of Africa that have been left without husbands, brothers, fathers because of a greedy, arrogant, pseudo-despotic leadership that tolerates the cold – blooded murder of its own citizens. Feeding on it’s own young. But Beware, there shall soon be a time of reckoning.
I did find out the army man’s name. Another post for another time.