Kizza Besigye’s first name means “darkness,” and he was understandly alarmed when KQ, the airline that proclaims to be the Pride of Africa, appeared to nudge him to board only after darkness.

I’m not interested in the ping-pong game that grown men and women played on our Ugandan guest, especially when he came here for treatment, not visiting his grandmother.

Moreover, his eyes can’t possibly see in the dark, not

after the jets of red pepper administered in generous doses to the eye a week ago.

Rather than take pity on the man whose arm is still in a sling, and eyes that can barely see beyond his nose, the airline is said to have played delaying tactics, and only relented when dusk approached.
I do not for one moment believe any of the stories being bandied about KQ; they are too proud of their reputation for that.

In fact, I’m more inclined to trust Besigye’s story that the airline was radioed by M7, which is the official title of the Ugandan President, and told in that chuckling voice, chubby cheeks swollen like a puff adder: “That man has been fighting to be allowed to walk in city streets. Tell him he is free to walk back to Kampala.”
Now, those who know M7 say he often means what he says, unless of course it relates to the terms he is going to serve in office.

Those who dare remind him to keep his word are often driven into exile (as Besigye was about to) or rushed into prison, as he barely escaped a fortnight ago.

That’s what Big Men do, but M7 declines to be lampooned among the continent’s buffoonery. He is too intelligent for that, particularly because he studied Economics when Dar es Salaam was Dar es Salaam, so he regularly organises elections to legitimise his long reign.

Both Besigye and M7 have known each other rather long, perhaps too long and closely, for the other’s comfort.
You see, one was the personal physician for the other, from those days in the bush when they had a common enemy they wanted to oust.

They shared other interests. I hear there was a woman or two, maybe more. One married the other’s mistress.
When M7 claimed, during a campaign rally many moons ago, that his old, field doctor had a terminal condition normally transmitted through sex, Besigye fired back that he had deflowered M7’s wife.

That explains a lot of things, like the specific areas targeted by the M7 goons when they stopped Besigye from his morning walk the other day. They appeared intent on occasioning soft-tissue injury, the sort that leaves no mark that can be displayed in court.

It’s transitional justice in the city
The decision by the Judiciary to move most of its courts to Nairobi’s Milimani area has been welcomed by many.

But commuters say some buses plying the Community and Central Business District route have changed their operations in a bid to compete for customers in the area.

So they pick commuters pretending that they would drop them at designated bus stops. But most commuters are left holding the short end of the stick, like those on a KBS bus, registration number KBA 931G on Monday.
The driver flatly declined to stop at any designated bus stop from Community to the Central Business District, in spite of commuters’ requests.

The driver explained, rather sensibly, one should say, that he had to rush back to Community to pick more customers and meet the fares’ quota demanded by the company management.
We appreciate kazi ni kazi (work is work), and times have been particularly hard for most Kenyans, what with rising oil prices and resultant fare hikes.

But what KBS should do, if it badly needs the money, is to scrape off the colours of respectability that the soft blue hues confer, and paint the buses like matatus that are a law unto themselves, and have no apologies to make for their brash manner.

Judicial insults and art of politenessThe Judicial Service Commission panel that has been interviewing candidates shortlisted for Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice positions have no doubt enjoyed their work.

Besides demystifying the judges, by literally removing those silly wigs most wear to court, they displayed their indecency in public by hurling brickbats at people who were in position to respond.

Sample this: “Some people say you have the mentality of a kindergarten teacher and lack the capacity to develop constitutional law…”

The interviewees would politely blabber about the criticism being unfounded and generalised when the proper response should have been: “That observation must have come from a kindergarten pupil…”
Another was accused of being disorganised, indecisive and regularly delayed rulings. She, too, carefully skirted around the issue without properly tacking the allegation, which only reinforced the perception of the candidate’s alleged indecisiveness.

By Peter Kimani


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