Long ago during the Kanu era, we had a neighbor back in Kericho called (S.K.) This dude reached Class Two. S.K was a racketeer and very good with people. He was witty. He was also very attractive to ladies for two reasons, his money and his looks.
When I was in class 8 myself, I first entered a Brand New Mercedes for the first time. By brand new I mean the one with wrapped seats and a driver’s manual in the glove compartment. It was still smelling of the factory in Germany. This was S.K’s Mercedes.
Every time he visited us, he came in driving a Brand new vehicle and we couldn’t wait for random road trips.
He had 4 homes. Two in Kericho, one in Nakuru, and one in Lavington in Nairobi. He had 3 Wives. He had his first wife, a Kipsigis lady in his Kericho rural home, his second wife a Luo lady living in affluent Kericho, and his third wife a Kikuyu living in Lavington. His Nakuru home was just a playboy mansion. His Lavington home had a rooftop pool. SK lived the life.
One day, Special Branch came home to see my mzee about this fellow. They were looking for him. Soon after, it was the CID after him.
SK went missing for some time.
One night, at 2 am in the dead of night, our watchman called the intercom to announce a visitor had arrived. The visitor had traveled from the heart of Chepalungu and was seeking a place to rest for the night. When my father inquired who it was…it was SK.
SK had arrived in a very old Chevrolet Pickup that was smoky and rickety. He was wearing tattered clothes and the pickup had potatoes in the back. He looked like a traveling farmer taking potatoes to the markets. The only thing that reminded you it was SK was that he had his 24 Karat gold wedding ring still on his finger.
During those days, all landlines were tapped by the state if you were a person of interest. Houses were bugged and spies were all over. To beat Moi, one had to be very innovative. I know. Our home was bugged severally.
My mzee gave SK one condition. To leave very early and never to return until he had sorted himself out with Moi.
SK was a very cheeky fellow, he slept in our worker’s quarters and very early, went with his jalopy to wherever he was going to.
He had needed some items from his house which was about a kilometer away from us and he had earlier on sent some of his boys to sneak in and take the items. His shaken wife, a beautiful Luo lady, opened the goat pen, put the files in, and went to sleep. SK got his documents and came to sleep at our worker’s quarters.
One year later, SK was arrested in the sprawling tea plantations running a gambling business illegally. When he was booked in, the OCPD noticed who he was and the radio was made to Nakuru HQ and he was whisked in those Peugeot 504 flying squad speed cars to State House. Moi had wanted him personally.
See, SK had become a multimillionaire. On the surface, he was a farmer. In a real sense, he had developed very close friendships with State House Nakuru operatives.
We had had Abraham Kiptanui and later Franklin Bett as State House comptroller. Moi loved State House Nakuru because being close to his tribesmen, it was the seat of all rift Valley political shenanigans.
Moi hardly ever slept in State House Nairobi. Kibaki was the first president to live there. Even Kenyatta the first never did.
This is how this fellow made his money.
SK used to make calls to his contacts at State House. He would then make fake appointments for clueless land investors who wanted leaseholds and land contracts for all manner of businesses that required executive permission. Also, any wheeler-dealer who needed Moi’s signature for land grabbing, etc had an errand boy in SK.
He would then, with a few crooks in there, forge DT Moi’s signature and append it on the documents. He would take his marks to the statehouse and keep them waiting at the various waiting lounges. He would then ensure the officers receive these men and be seen laughing and seeming at home at State House.
Shortly after he would be ‘summoned’ alone by the operative. “MZEE WANTS TO SEE YOU ALONE”
He would then walk out with the signed document and tell them Mzee had a delegation from Kurdistan and couldn’t see them but the documents were signed.
The victims would pay him millions in gunny bags and he would go buy a new Mercedes from DT Dobie.
When Moi finally found him…. it is reported Moi just laughed and told him he had been very innovative and that he must have been very smart to outrun Special Branch for One year. Moi pardoned him and in exchange, all his wealth was confiscated and his money(hundreds of millions) taken away from him.
Unfortunately, his Lavington house had been transferred by his third wife to herself and she kicked him out and sold it.
How It Ended
SK resigned himself to racketeering and small-scale farming barely making ends meet after that.
I put it to you…This kind of conmanship has been going on for so long that’s why it was easy to con Merali into giving out 10M purportedly for Uhuru.
The real crime here is getting caught. The secondary crime here is covering it up.
In my homeland, we say, Taret Taret.
Moral of the story: There’s no formula to living. Ishi tu Maisha yako ndugu.