• Amos had studied medicine but had never done much in his profession.
• Mildred was an upcoming lawyer in Nairobi. She was the real definition of beauty and brains.
He was the youngest member of parliament. I would like to say he was where he was because of merit, but no. He had basically inherited the seat from his father.
Amos had flown in a few months before his father had passed. His father, the late honourable Baba Amos had been ill for months. He had been the member of parliament for Saba Saba since 1992. When his health started failing, they knew he would not make it. They sent for Amos who had been abroad on and off, but mostly on for the last twenty years. Amos had studied medicine but had never done much in his profession.
By the time he arrived, his father was critical and was not even able to speak. His mother quickly started plans for him to inherit his father’s seat. It would not be so easy seeing that Amos was rarely at home and the constituents barely knew him.
He started off by attending church on Sundays. His mother arranged for him to speak to the congregation. In his first speech, he introduced himself and asked the people to pray for his father. The congregants were touched, especially after he donated books to the church nursery school, big sufurias to the women’s fellowship and four fat goats to the church as a whole. After the service, he hung around the compound carrying smelly and crying infants while making small talk with their parents. He pretended to play football with the young boys before leaving for a widow’s home to condole with her.
He barely had time to spend with his father. His mother had him so busy. She said that the constituents must not feel the absence of his father if he ever hoped to be next on that seat. Amos had never been interested in politics. His father had been a politician all his life and so was his grandfather. They were like a dynasty. It was hard to believe that they were actually elected.
They behaved like it was their right. Even though he was not interested, he always knew as the first son he would one day have to take his place as the member of parliament of Saba Saba. He never thought that it would be this soon though. His father had always been a healthy man, strong as an ox. Then cancer happened. They had not even revealed to the public what was ailing him. They had just hoped that Amos presence was strong enough to distract them.
After about a month of church visits, fundraising and motivational talks at the local secondary schools, Amos started genuinely feeling something for the constituents. He noticed they had a lot of health issues and went about setting up satellite clinics in every ward. He was very hands-on when they were setting up the facilities and even treated patients once the clinics were open to the public. The constituents warmed up to him. He was a man of the people. He had new solutions. Solutions that were feasible.
On the day his father died, they were launching a family planning campaign at the biggest ward. His mother did not even call him on his mobile phone. Instead, she sent someone to him to the ward. It was part of his election campaign only he was not privy to this at the time. The messenger ran to him and then pretended to stutter before loudly announcing that his father was no more. He was never close to his father but his death hit him hard even though he knew his father was critical. He was visibly shocked. His face became pale. The women hugged him and cried. Others wailed and threw themselves on the ground. The men shook his hand and patted him on the shoulder and told him to be strong.
It took him almost an hour to get out of there and make his way home. By the time he got to their compound, a tent had already been erected with plastic seats arranged theatre style. The Reverend was already there praying while they choir sung dirges outside the house. They waited for him before moving the body to the mortuary.
That started two weeks of funeral arrangements, travel arrangements, meetings with elders of his family and of their community. He did not know he could talk so much. There were people everywhere he barely could squeeze five minutes to himself to collect his thoughts. His mother, on the other hand, was born for this. She knew when to cry, she knew when to faint, she also knew when to eat. She had to keep her strength up especially with all the dignitaries walking in and out of their compound.
The funeral itself was more of a political rally. His father’s colleagues basically campaigned for him. Speaker after speaker spoke as if they read from the same script. When they had buried the old man, Amos thought he would now have some quiet time.
That night, his mother sent for him. She spoke to him in her bedroom. She then relayed to him his father’s last wishes. The first being obvious, that he must take over his father’s parliamentary seat. Baba Amos had also instructed that he inherit his personal consultant. Amos was not sure about this. If he was going to take over the seat, he needed to do so with a young, vibrant and modern team. This old man his father had wanted him to take on was just not going to cut it. Besides he always scared Amos.
They called him Papa Doc, after the Haitian dictator. He bore no resemblance to the despotic Duvalier, but his father always said he understood the people, politics and the gods like the dictator whose nickname he inherited.
Amos was not interested in working with this old man, he was not interested in the old ways at all. His mother insisted. Besides, how did he think his late father had prospered? How had they managed to always win that seat? It was from the guidance of Papa Doc. His father trusted him, so Amos was to do the same. There was no need to try and reinvent the wheel.
The next thing his father had wished was for him to get married as soon as possible. They needed heirs to continue their reign in Saba Saba. Amos had other siblings, why couldn’t they produce the heirs? Amos was not interested in getting married. In fact, it was never in his plans, he had wanted to remain a free bird.
His mother already had the perfect girl for him. A family friend. His mother did not insist, she just asked him to meet the girl and give it a chance. He had not seen Tumi since they were kids and so he had no idea really what he was in for.
Tumi had just come back from the United States of America. She was an only child and spoilt rotten. She expected things done for her. She dressed like she was in a music video and her make up was a ton too much. When her parents brought up the idea of marrying Amos, she was for it. She liked the fact that she did not even have to look for her husband. Or waste precious time in courtship. This one was handed to her.
When they met, Amos had some reservations which he made known to his mother. Her dress and her make up was not befitting for the wife of the servant of the people. Besides, the by-elections were coming up and he did not see himself on the campaign trail with a Lil Kim look alike. His mother assured him that that was manageable. She kept her word because the next time they met, she looked more presentable. He was not interested in how his mother had transformed her, he was just happy that that was not a battle he was going to fight.
They started making public appearances together and it was soon common knowledge that they would be wed.
Papa Doc was on hand to provide his services. Sometimes Tumi felt that he overstepped his boundaries. She could understand that he was a consultant and that he knew his work but what did he know about fashion? He often insisted that they wear matching clothes. He would bring them a fabric from which the tailor would make her a dress and Amos a shirt. He even gave them some odd jewellery depending on where they were going. A necklace, a bracelet or an anklet. It was pretty weird.
Each morning before they left for a day of campaigning, Papa Doc had closed-door sessions with Amos. She was never allowed into the room when they were strategising. After the sessions, he would usually hand them the different trinkets depending on the activity of the day. Sometimes they even had to apply oil on their hands and foreheads. They learnt to manage him, he was an old man and very superstitious. Tumi’s grandmother also made them apply mafuta ya ngurue when they went to the village. It was harmless. She decided this must be the same type of thing.
Whatever strategy Papa Doc was sharing with Amos seemed to work. The people were very receptive towards them. As days went by and the victories piled up, Amos began to really depend on Papa Doc and would not make any move without his say so.
It is Papa Doc who decided when they would get married. They could not even announce the engagement before the elections. He said all energy had to be spent on the elections. No sideshows. Tumi could not believe he was referring to her wedding as a sideshow.
The by-election day came and just as Papa Doc had said, victory was theirs, early in the morning. Amos was sworn in and they planned a homecoming party to celebrate the win. A day before the home party, Amos went away on a day retreat with Papa Doc.
Amos met Mildred at his homecoming party. She was there with some of his friends from Nairobi. Her laugh is what made him turn. She had this loud belly laugh. He watched her laugh and smiled.
Mildred was an upcoming lawyer in Nairobi. She was the real definition of beauty and brains. A combination that made it hard for her to get a mate. Her beauty made men jealous and her brains made them insecure. She was tall, her legs looked like they went on for days. Her dark skin glowed. Her make up was tastefully done.
When she stood up, he was mesmerised. She walked like a swan gliding on water. Her long neck made her look so elegant. Her eyes were mischievous, her smile completely disarmed you. Amos had no chance. His body was drawn to her. He had to know her. He walked over to their table and introduced himself. She flashed a polite smile at him. He knew he would not fight his feelings when she spoke. He voice was deep. She spoke softly. The sound of her voice cast spell on him. Being around her did things to his body that he had no control over. He had never been so aroused before, and she had not even touched him.
Amos spent the next few weeks wooing Mildred. He was so distracted by her that he genuinely forgot about his wife to be. His mother had to remind him that he needed to set a wedding date. He got a nice house in Nairobi and moved Tumi there as they prepared for a traditional wedding. He shuttled between Nairobi an and Saba Saba to serve his people. He often went on these trips with Mildred. It was not long before word went back to Tumi about this affair.
Tumi was so hurt. She had grown to love the idea of being Amos’ wife. She was not going to give up without a fight. She tried all manner of productions when Amos was at home in a bid to get his attention. He was just not interested. He had never been attracted to her. The marriage was out of duty. Tumi felt humiliated. It was now common knowledge that he was frolicking with Midred. The blogs were having a field day at her expense.
Amos was having the time of his life. He was sort of an enigma. The people loved him. He was in his element. Then having Mildred by his side made everything perfect. Exciting actually. He was alive, powerful.
The political enemies he inherited from his father were in awe of his political prowess. For a young man, he moved like he was born for this. He had his consultant to thank for this.
It was getting clear to Tumi that Amos would not marry her. The writing was on the wall and it was also on display for everyone who had eyes. Mildred was pregnant. Amos did not even have the audacity to tell her to her face. He kept avoiding her.
Tumi knew where to confront him. At his home in Saba Saba. He had his weekly consultations with Papa Doc. She knew he would not miss those sessions even if his mother was laid up in bed, dying.
When she got to the family home in Saba Saba, he was just having his breakfast. Mildred was there too. So his mother was in on this charade as well? When Mildred saw her, she excused herself and went out of the room. Tumi could not believe this was happening to her. Her face was hot with humiliation.
“Amos, so this is what has been going on?" She asked.
Amos finished drinking his tea.
“I have a session with Papa Doc. Have some tea. We can talk later.”
With that, he stood up and headed towards the study. She sat down. Her hands were shaking. She had spent days campaigning with him. She had given up her life, her friends and this was the thanks she was getting. A donkey shows you gratitude by kicking you. The more she thought about it, the more furious she got.
She stood up and walked towards the study. To hell with Papa Doc. As she got towards the study, she had strange noises. Amos sounded like he was gasping for air. Papa Doc was muttering in a strange tone. There was a pungent smell coming from the room.
Tumi did not badge in as she had planned. Instead, she quietly opened the door. What she saw almost made her collapse. Who would believe her if she told them? She remembered she had her phone in her pocket. She quietly removed it and made a short video recording.
Then quickly sent it to her cloud storage and walked out. She got into her car and drove away without looking back.
The next day Amos was trending. It was all over social media and the local news. His phone was jammed with messages and calls.
He sat on his bed next to Mildred. Crying. He was ruined.
He watched the video in disbelief. It was a video of him, stark naked in a trance as Papa Doc chanted and danced around a smokey pot.