Friday, November 1, 2013

Happily Never After

Media is a beautiful Kenyan damsel. But if one aggressive suitor called Government has his way, when he marries her, she will be gagged airtight, and her movements will be severely restricted. Her opinions will have to be filtered through Government's prior analysis, her self-willed exclamations will be punished by whippings, confiscations and dark lengthy detentions. The only way Government will be able to thus ill-treat Media will be by making her his lawfully wedded wife. But Government, though fully set in his mind to be a controlling, sadistic and exacting spouse, is also wily and calculating.

Some years ago it seemed that Government's plans were thwarted, when a new Constitution appeared to give Media freedom to stay single and speak the truth as freely as she saw it. Everybody seemed to like the idea, so Government grinned and swore under his breath all through the party. For a while life became unbearable for Government as Media went around declaring his underhand scandalous lucrative gettings-on in graphic detail. Turning red with embarrassment at home and abroad, Government revenged by casting aspersions on Media's patriotism.

Yet, quite unexpectedly, the tide turned in Government's favor. It all happened too fast, a haze of activities, major events in dizzying quick succession. All what Government remembers, vaguely, is that, there was an election. Somehow, amidst the nitty-gritty of keeping his ears cocked for hate speech, while diverting funds to various factions to influence the outcome, lo! Government woke up with a hangover one morning to find a groggy Media beside him in his bed. 

It was awkward at first, but government liked the arrangement, and Media afterwards was not so keen to gossip about Government's dirty linen anymore. Shortly, the rumor mill buzzed with claims that Media had been severally spotted hand-washing Government's dirty linen. But these things were said in hushed tones at watering spots on the Information Superhighway, while Media herself strenuously denied everything. At the end of the day rumor is hearsay.

The election results came and went, with Media afterwards helping to propagate a conciliatory "Accept and move on" message to try help assuage whatever lingering  resentments still festered in the losing demographic. Then she congratulated herself for keeping the peace, not finding Government's surreptitious winking at her inappropriate at all.

Nothing definitive would have been known, had some horrific event not occurred. Suddenly, foreign combatants, terrorists, attacked, killing indiscriminately. Rumormongers alleged that in the haste of quick response, Government's right arm and left arm shot one another in the leg. Media waited outside to hear how the battle went. Government's contradictory progress reports came in quick succession, but Media parroted them nevertheless. The contradictions pursued one another with Media asking very few clarifying questions, betraying either an unfortunate gullibility or a convenient mental vacuity. Perhaps she was afraid, maybe anxious. #WeAreOne

However, at length, after the siege was ended, CCTV footage of it appeared, reviving Media's conscience somewhat. She started to ask belated questions. Government didn't like that. "Women should know their place", he muttered aloud, "Making me look bad, that unpatriotic tattletale. I'll summon her, that'll show her!"

This attempted Government gag against Media, indefensible as it is, can be explained as follows. Government is moving swiftly to formalize the erstwhile illicit union with Media, once and for all, in broad daylight, before the pregnancy shows. But now the unwitting bride rouses her mind from her drunken stupor, only to find herself in the thick of a shotgun wedding. Panic grips Media: she knows Government too well - he is generous (read "wasteful and unaccountable"), hence perhaps good for a fling, but certainly not marriage material. It's not too late, it seems, there may be hope yet; it appears the vows and rings have not been exchanged, nor the reluctant bride kissed yet. She determines to move heaven and hell to weasel her way out of this tight spot. Somehow. "Look," she imagines, "This officiating priest seems like a sympathetic fellow…"

For our own sake, let us help her succeed this time. Let us plead to the president to intervene for her. In the name of the not-so-new-anymore Constitution, let him not declare them man and wife.

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