OPINION

Of moral police and marriage certificates

I retain an eerie affinity for drinking my favourite beverage in seedy joints. No, I am not suffering from any weird psychological condition.

The reason is that in these, down-at-the-heels bars, we journalists are likely to get tips for good stories.

If I were to choose between having a beer at the Exchange Bar at the Sarova Stanley (a really cool place, with the ambience just as in James Bond movies!) and Reke Marie Bar (Let them talk bar), somewhere downtown, I would choose the latter.

Of course, I have nothing against cool bars, where waiters and waitresses smile nicely, bring you cashewnuts on the house, balance five trays on one hand and still manage to walk as if they are made from eggshells.

Here, your bill comes encased in a leather folder, unlike at my local where a hastily scrawled figure is squeezed into a plastic bottle, weighed down with a piece of stone, not to fly in the wind (yes, there’s more than breeze here!)

I learnt to swig beer in some estate pub out there in Nakuru, where the waitress, an old woman of over fifty wore bathroom slippers of different colours. We shall not discuss the cleavage of the once-white dress but the sweater was long, reaching almost the knees and had two large pockets for holding change coins. One side hung lower from the weight of coins.

I find comfort in such joints, not because the chap selling mutura is an elbow away but because I am always welcome.

If you are following me, by now you know why I will avoid such joints as that hotel in Kericho, where you have to show proof of matrimony if you want to spend there a night in the company of a member of the opposite sex.

I am completely at sea as to why the management would want folks to prove that their union is legal in order to patronise a hospitality joint.

Speaking of which, the manager, a guy named Frank Kirui, has not bothered to explain to media folks why they turned away an MP (after she had paid for a room). This is the height of irony.

Maybe I am slow-minded, but please tell me why a guy called Frank is being economical with the truth? Why is Frank not frank with us?

My fear now is that I may not only have to carry with me my marriage certificate to be allowed near such joints. Maybe next they will want to know the watch I am putting on is not stolen, and ask for a receipt…

By the way, now that the courts have decreed that if a bloke likes a woman and starts to live with her the union is recognised as a marriage, how would such a couple prove they are man and wife in that hotel in Kericho?

Put another way, if a man showed up at the hotel entrance with his wife and ten children (that would be one productive marriage!) would he still be asked for his marriage certificate?

I know you have heard of that famous phrase two consenting adults. It means that if two blokes agree, and they are opposite gender, they can do anything. Well, almost.

It also means that as long as they have not broken any law, then its okay. I tend to agree with it, because as an armchair philosopher, I will tell you it is not easy to police morality.

I am trying to say that the Kericho joint may have a hard task justifying their actions. A clever lawyer might tell you that sort of action violates some part of our Bill of Rights, the one that talks of freedom from discrimination of any kind.

Now that our clever members of parliament plan to sue the hotel, that will be an interesting development.

Of course they will say that they have clearly stated on their premises that “management reserves the right of admission” but that is as colonial as they come and may annoy some magistrate quite a bit.

That guy called Frank (who is anything but) and his colleagues had better rethink their strategy, if any. Right now they are not getting a good press.

I do not pretend to know if that hotel serves geese, but if the threat by MPs to go to court materialises, then their goose is cooked. The hotel, that is.

You can also say they will be left with egg on their faces. They cannot eat their cake and have it, hotel or not. Enough said.

The writer is Special Projects editor, People Daily

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