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‘His Popularity’ wrong-foots me during ward visit

MCA Gwinso

The announcement that His Popularity the Governor was going to inspect new development projects in all the wards in our county sent me into a panic mode.

The only project we had started so far was ..well..  communal comfort rooms – unschooled people will call  them public toilets. Was this a project worth inspecting by a whole governor?

Of course there were other projects in the pipeline, but we were yet to set up the relevant implementation committees. The determination of the governor to visit the wards was confirmed  by a memo that gave his itinerary, and my ward was among the first to be toured.

To avoid embarrassment, I decided to go to him privately and tell him my ward was not yet ready for the inspection tour.

“Bwana MCA, you can’t tell me since the year began, you have started no project at all.” His Popularity didn’t look happy.

I was not feeling too amused myself. So, after a quick consultative meeting  with my wisdom, I discarded my pre-pared excuses and decided to go frank.  After all, we were once close buddies.

“Sir, we have only begun the public comfort rooms,” I said.

“Ah, a project is a project,” he declared. “I am coming to see that one. And please ensure the media people are there, especially the TV guys.”

I had to act fast to plan for the visit. The two most important things I thought of were entertainment and decorations.

I contacted my man on the ground, Nzaya Nzayadio, and he assured me he would take care of things provided I “did the necessary”. I then alerted the contractor in charge of the structure of interest about the impending visit.

“Bwana MCA, the thing is not yet ready, and remember you people still owe me some money,” he said sounding unenthusiastic.

I pleaded with him promising to “sort him out” soon. After much bargaining, he agreed to put the toilets..er..comfort rooms in an inspectable state.

Come the d-day, I was at the site very early. I was impressed by the work that had been done in preparation. The place was well decorated, and a choir of flamboyantly dressed singers was already rehearsing, pulling a sizeable crowd. Nzaya had evidently done a good job.

At exactly 9 o’clock, the governor and his entourage arrived. I welcomed them to my ward. Meanwhile in the backround, the choir was belting out a tune in praise of the governor’s love for proper hygiene.

“Bwana MCA, where are the TV guys?” he asked. I was caught off guard.

I had completely forgotten to invite the media people. I mumbled something about lack of punctuality and moved aside to make a call. Luckily I found a friend who promised to send over some cameras and notebooks immediately.

Meanwhile, the contractor engaged the governor in a conversation, explaining what he had done so far and what was still left. All the while, the governor nodded gently to each statement made and spoke very little.

Before long, the media arrived. Then things changed: the governor became visibly animated.

“Tell me, why haven’t you completed this project?” he asked the contractor, rather loudly, the TV camera facing him. “But I have just explained…”

“Explained what? How long does it take to build a toilet? Eh? And you have been paid. These are the people letting us down,” he said facing the camera.

The contractor was now a sorry, trembling sight. I tried to intervene but the county supremo gave me an intimidating glare.

“You are also corrupt!” he roared at me. “You have eaten toilet money!” I looked away from the camera.

“I will be back in a week, and I should find this project completed,” the governor said wagging a finger at the contractor and me. He then led his entourage to the vehicles and away they drove.

Well, obviously these events did not air or publish anywhere, after all. Next time, the governor should know better and invite the media himself.   In fact, he and his ultimatums can go to hell, kwani iko nini?- [email protected]

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