JIJI NDOGO POLICE POST

Jailed for laughing too hard in court

False advertising case cracks Sgt Makini's ribs

In Summary

• People talk in funny ways and it becomes hard to maintain decorum in court

Image: DAVID MUCHAI

With Kimondo’s plea hearing up in Kericho, I go there to support my sister. Sgt Sophia comes along.

Before Kimondo’s case is called, we have to sit through another trial. Little do I know I’ll end up in jail because of a man called Justus. It starts the minute his name is called.

“Case number 465,” the clerk says. “Justus Ayam versus Snake Oil Breweries.”

“Seriously?” I elbow Sophia. “Just as I am? That’s his name?”

She shushes me and listens intently.

“Justus Ayam is suing Snake Oil Breweries for false advertising,” says the clerk. “The plaintiff is in court in person. Snake Oil is represented by their salesman — I mean their lawyer.”

I laugh out loud, but half the courtroom laughs along. So, I don’t raise attention.

“State your case, Justus,” the judge prompts.

Yua hona,” Justus begins, “hii fobe ya hii kambuni si ya kweli. Pale kwa telefishon, waliweka findyo ya mtu anakunywa hii fobe kwa mushanga baharini kule Mambatha.”

The judge asks, “Do we have an interpreter in court?”

“I’m here, your honor.” The interpreter whispers to Justus and the plaintiff whispers back. “He says the ad is on a beach in Mombasa.”

“Yua hona wacha nikwabie. Kwa hiyo findyo, huyo jamaa anafungua fobe pssssht! Tumusishana tunajaa hapo, to! Ukiona vile tumefaa, wacha tu. Ni tule tunguo hatupendi magoti. Si unatujua?”

“Miniskirts, your honor.”

“Eeeh! Hutuo. Kanguo kanaona magoti kanatoroka. Na si jamaa anarukiwo na hutuo tumusishana? Tunamushezea dansi, tunamupapasa, tunamukalia kwa mapaja…”

“The women dance and caress the man, your honour.”

“Hujamwabia hiyo ya kukalia mapaja.”

“And they sit on his thighs.”

“Nilikuwa nimesahau ingine. Mwabie hata anajifisha na kamoja kwa hema.”

“He goes into a tent with one of the women.”

“Na sisi wote tuna defu tunajua hawajaeda huko kuuziana ploti.”

I burst out laughing.

“Order in court.” The judge raps his gavel. “Anyone else who laughs will be held in contempt of court. So, Mr Ayam, what’s your complaint?”

“Yua hona, hapa Kerisho hakuna bahari, lakini nimekunywa hii fobe kwa baa, nimekunywa inje kwa nyasi, hata nimekunywa mahali wamemwaga ile mushanga mingi ya kujenga, lakini wapi. Kuongea ukweli, hakuna kamusishana hata kamoja kamenitokelezea. Wengine hapo kwa mushanga hata walinifukusa kama umbwa.”

“He doesn’t get women,” the interpreter says, “no matter where he drinks. Some even chase the poor man like a dog.”

“Washa hata hao. Hata kwa nyumba yangu bibi yangu hataki kuniona nikipewa hata shupa tano, na huyo jamaa wa findyo alifungua moja tu.”

“Even his wife is not falling for it.”

“Naoba koti hii iamurishe Snake Oilo inilipe elfu kumi ya ile fobe nimekunywa na wakubali ni uongo kabisa mutu hapati kamusishana hata kamoja.” Ayana turns to the audience. “Ama kuna mutu hapa amepata?”

By now I’m laughing so hard I forget where I am and shout, “Hata mimi sijawahi pata!”

Judge brings down the gavel again. “That’s it. You are in contempt. Officer, take him to the cell.”

I stand up. “I’m sorry, your honour. I have a case coming up. I won’t laugh again. I promise.”

“You will be taken to the cell after your case. Counsel for the defence, what do you have to say?”

“Your honour,” says the advocate, “it’s true my client has such an ad on television, but the plaintiff does not meet even one criterion to disprove it. He’s never drunk on a beach, he’s not as handsome as the model, and he hasn’t proved he’s taken Sh10,000 worth of my client’s alcohol.”

“You’re right counsel. Case dismissed.”

 

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