By Denis Wabuyi.
At around 10 pm we heard gunshots. All signs showed they were coming from Kimwanga side. Fear gripped us and we all headed to our houses. Even us the elderly men rushed to the main house on recommendation of our mother even as we didn’t find it necessary. It cannot be rebels because highway robbers are typical of that stretch from Namunyu to Magodes.
It is such incidents that remind us that we have a father who has seen a lot, the turbulent times of Amin, post Amin and the famed saba saba. The most interesting was the guns that ushered in the current government.
That was the sound of guns as the junta was being ousted. Past midnight he told us how they had run to as far as Busukuya only to return and find their houses and livestock looted by Bashibalayi from Lwaboba. If anyone wanted to loot, they could just come running and tell you to get away as far as possible only for them to take over your farms and houses.
The moving story was of Wayeno who went to Tanzania promising to come back with a better government. When Mzee starts talking about his brother Wayeno, a tear or two can be seen rolling down his eyes.
It must have been my first time to hold a gun but I can’t believe the precision with which I was hitting the enemy troops, they were falling one by one and their bullets could not get me and I was moving forward. Suddenly the dead bodies I had jumped over rose up and surrounded me, they were all holding knives. As one reached out to me, I screamed to the top my voice calling on to uncle Wayeno to save me. I then awoke to the dim light of the tadoba. Apparently, sleep had taken me up while listening to Mzee and they had left me in their sitting room seeing I was comfortable there.
“Dreaming about the dead means they are not comfortable wherever they are but we also knew that people who die of AIDs never return. Why does my brother return to disturb my son” My father mused. My feet were cold and yet I was sweating profusely the result of my wrestling with the spirit of the dead.
I spent the whole day indoors and never had energy to ask about yesterday’s shootings.
At dawn we were awoken by gun shots again. Suddenly it was silence. Whatever was happening we only got to hear about in the day. As suspected, Monday gunshots were a highway robbery and a one Khaukha “Umutekhe” is the prime suspect. The soldiers had come to arrest him but he eluded them. Khaukha is called Umutekhe meaning the cooked one because he is shielded by ancestors from harm. We hear he can turn into a cat or any animal to elude arrest. He is said to be having a gun but he is also very generous so no one cares. After all he boasts to steal from strangers only. Having failed to arrest Khaukha Umutekhe, the soldiers rounded up all the neighbours and caned them to reveal where Khaukha was hiding but no one could know. “Who knows he maybe that cat which is staring at us”. The old man who said this was kicked hard in the ribs and he peed in his trousers in front of his”bamasaala” daughters-in-law.
Khaukha was not got but the scar left on his neighbours, the wound is too big to heal. “Why should we pay for Khaukha’s sins all the time?”
“Do you think they beat us because of Khaukha or because they want to be seen to be working?”
Despite all this mess imbalu is still being celebrated everyday. I was however
summoned to a clan ceremony.
We were supposed to clear the bush around Wayeno’s grave, slaughter a goat, and celebrate with some malwa. Every time there is a ceremony involving ancestors, a goat has to die. Blood is an important aspect of our culture. That is why we are circumcised, to bond us with our land!
It is told of Busiu police officers who reached the shooting scene of Monday at 10:00 am on Tuesday when the shooting occurred at 10pm on Monday. Cowards would never go there to face the mighty Khaukha. We hear that when they learnt of the gunshots within their territory they went and hid their guns and deserted the police post.
is the sound of the drums as we take the boys to face the knife. The men put on bitsetse, women put on nyombe and dance seductively to the beats of the drum. Kadodi has been around for ages but when we hear beats of the drum you may think it is the first of its kind. This culture runs in the blood in our veins passed on from Mwambu to our generation unlike Kundu who out of cowardice ran and settled across the big lake.
On this day everything and everyone rests. We who don’t have to pray every Sunday wake up to lukhamu and cards “karata” despite the ban by the RC. After all even his sons play!
Till then we shall keep you posted.
The writer is an accountant, researcher and writer. Mr. Denis Wabuyi writes the X-Files every Thursday. You can find all his work with a Google search.