Barney (not his real name) is an old school friend. We were in primary school together and we have been meeting on and off over the years. But we have never really sat down to talk about stuff.
All that changed the other day when we were forced into a situation where we found ourselves in the same place stuck and stranded for at least 2 hours. Life is hectic and forces one to be constantly on the move but this time round we were forced by circumstances to alight from that speeding train called life and play catch up for about two and a half hours. It was fascinating.
Wanjala's "sweetie" Joyce Akinyi: Is she his link to his new international business?
But for the purposes of this post, I will talk about Barney’s divorce to this wealthy businesswoman wife. A young girl actually (barely in her mid-twenties who used to globe-trot all over the world on business). She loved him and barney liked her a lot. She was a breath of fresh air in her life after his stormy aborted first marriage. Barney is also in business but it seemed that his girlfriend’s business brought in a lot more money and much faster too. Still the relationship thrived and the two even had a kid together pending making everything official. You see I have known Barney for years and he is one of the few guys I know who does not get intimidated with his woman earning more than him.
But what brought a strain into the relationship (just before the kid came) was when Barney made an astounding discovery about the kind of his business his sweetheart was into. She was what one would call "a courier." She carried drugs around the world concealed in her luggage for a very handsome fee. It was easy money and Barney tells me she told him it was better than being a prostitute.
Serious problems emerged in the relationship when Barney started putting pressure on her to shut down her “business.” After all he was well able to provide for both of them as they looked around for something else for her to do.
But she was “hooked” to the business and the inevitable happened. She was caught and charged. Barney has his contacts in this town and he made his enquiries and was told that Kshs 800,000 was enough to bail her out. So Barney went to the women’s remand prison and told his wife that all she needed to do was to get 800,000 bob from her boss and “the problem” would disappear. Incidentally the girl was several months pregnant with Barney’s child at the time of her arrest. 800,000 bob in her line of business was of course no problem and so she sent word to her boss. Guess who her boss was? The current girl friend to one Mr Wanjala. Jijazie.
Let me stop the story there by saying that the woman got off with a very short jail term without any bribing (her visible pregnancy must have helped). The reason why no bribe was paid was because the 800,000 was released by the girl's boss, but somebody blew it and failed to deliver it. Currently Barney’s girlfriend is serving a very long jail term for the same offence (she was arrested again shortly after her release when she was caught red handed with a huge consignment).
Now I have just read in this mornings' newspapers that former Bundalangi MP Raphael Wanjala and his controversial sweetheart Joyce Akinyi (you will remember that their story was first broken here in Kumekucha by our won Phil) have been released from their Indian prison where they have spent the last six months (including Christmas day). Read full story of Wanjala’s arrival back in Kenya yesterday.
Based on the story I have just told you, the minute I read the latest Wanjala saga I asked myself what business is Mr Wanjala is into these days after he lost his lucrative parliamentary seat. What business is this that requires a person to carry large amounts in cash in US dollars in this day and age where people don’t even carry so much cash around in the streets of Nairobi? You just zap cash or Mpesa it if you don't qualify for a VISA debit or credit card.
And that question led me to another thought. What kind of monsters are we breeding paying our legislators the outrageous amounts of cash we pay them for doing very little if anything? What will they do when they lose their parliamentary seats and need to sustain the lavish living that they have gotten used to (both from their salaries and from the deals they make like the recent blood maize deal starring Jirongo, Ruto Namwamba and company)? What will they do when easy money is not so easily accessible anymore?
Food for though on this Monday morning (Kenyan time)… is it not? Are we increasing our already high crime rate by paying people outrageous wages to do nothing?
And by the way knowing how corruption and impunity is rampant in our leaders, is it surprising that cabinet ministers and MPs are at the top of the list for committing this serious criminal offence?