The shotgun wedding

Sgt Makini tries to wriggle his way out of a forced marriage

In Summary

• A proposed solution to the chief's daughter's pregnancy proves unbearable

Moment of truth
Moment of truth

Remember last week I had to hide in the cowshed from Chief, who thought I had impregnated his daughter without following proper protocol? Well, it gets worse. Now, I’m mired in a shotgun wedding.

In case you don’t know, that’s when a father forces you to marry his pregnant daughter. But it’s only supposed to work when you’re the one who impregnated her. Not in my case. I, Sgt Makini, a man grown enough to carry a government-issued gun, am being forced to marry a woman I only met moments ago.

Late in the evening, I’m at the post, minding my own business, when a very pretty, very pregnant young woman walks in. Asks me to escort her home. The good policeman I am, I do just that. Only for her father, the chief of Jiji Ndogo, no less, to threaten me with an AK47. I sweet-talk him into discussing the matter.


“Thank you for not shooting me, Chief,” I tell him.

“Oh, it’s not over, son,” Chief says. Seated on a stool. Still dressed only in boxer shorts and wielding the gun. “I might still shoot you. So, when do you intend to marry my daughter?”

I turn to Millicent, his daughter.

“Millicent, why don’t you tell your father the truth?”

“What truth?” shouts Chief. “Didn’t you, Mr Policeman, tell me you have animals for her dowry?”

“I only said that so you don’t shoot me. Truth is, I am not responsible for her condition.”

“I'll ask you only one more time, Millicent,” Chief says. “Where is the father?”


 “He couldn’t make it,” says Millicent, eyes to the floor.

“Where is that bastard?” Chief shoots to his feet. “You show me where he is right now! No one messes with the chief’s daughter.”

“He’s back in the city.”

The Chief turns to his wife.

“You see, woman!” he roars. “This is why I said we shouldn’t let our kids go to that wicked Nyairobi city. She was an itty-bitty thing when she left. Look at her how. Fat as an elephant on an all-meat diet.”

“Ahem, Chief?” I chime in. “Elephants don’t eat meat.”

“Shut your trap if you know what’s good for you! This is my house. If I say a rhino eats meat, that’s what a rhino eats.”

“You mean elephant, sir?”

“I'll shoot you, boy! I swear I’ll…”

“So, what will you do, huh?” Mrs Chief cuts in. “Shoot everyone?”

“I will if I have to. No one brings shame upon the Mulima clan. Millicent, tomorrow you and I will travel to Nyairobi. That shameless coward will have to face the Chief.”

“You mean Nairobi?” I ask.

“You’re coming too, Smartmouth,” Chief growls.

“I can’t, Chief. I'll be working.”

Chief points the gun at me. “Either you come as you are, or you go in a coffin. Your choice. For all I know, this is your plan to escape your responsibility.”

“But chief…”

“It’s no use, Chief,” Millicent says. “He’s gone. Disappeared soon as he knew I was pregnant.”

The Chief goes bonkers.

“So now you’re telling me there is no one to bring me cows and no one for me to shoot?”

Chief stomps out. Roars like a wounded lion. Shoots in the air twice. Inside the house, Millicent and I are shaking like leaves.

“He does that when he’s angry,” Mrs Chief says. “He’ll be okay.”

Chief storms back in. “Get out! Both of you, before I get really angry.”

“Where will she go?” I ask of Millicent.

“Until you bring me the man responsible, she’s with you.”

Edited by T Jalio