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Open letter to Mheshimiwa Johnstone Muthama

By Patrick Wachira
Monday, March 2nd, 2020
Mheshimiwa Johnstone Muthama.

Hi pal,

Greetings. And happy New Year. I know the year has aged considerably but that is beside the point. As long as we have not met this year, it is in order to wish you a pleasant one.

Bwana, we have not met for eons. You may not recall me but I wouldn’t blame you for that. I reckon you are a busy guy, both as a politician and gemstone dealer.

I trust you are doing okay, which is to put it mildly. Anyone involved in exporting ruby and other gemstones cannot be doing otherwise.

Even the rings that adorn your fingers attest to the pleasant fact that you are doing okay. 

As for me, there isn’t a lot to say, really. I still pound a computer keyboard for a living, which is to say I am a wordsmith. In other words, and I have plenty of these, I juggle words for a living.

Not exactly the same way the late Transport minister John Michuki (he of the ‘if you rattle a snake’ fame) used to say he is a liver juggler, which not many people understood. But that is a story for another day.

I was telling you about myself. As a lowly-paid word juggler, the closest I come to gemstones is gawking at shop windows where they sell jewellery. Even my wristwatch is a China-made trinket that I bought for a song in a dingy nightclub on River Road.

I doubt that you know where that is. It is one of those dimly lit joints where cigarette smoke hangs in the air just below the ceiling for days and the women serving you beer are somewhat past their prime, but holding on to hope for tomorrow.

Make big impression

The purpose of this letter, my brother, is to introduce an association I founded last year, for the bald, of the bald and by the bald.

Going by your rapidly receding hairline, you qualify to become not only a life member of our association (of which I am automatic patron) but also President.

As President of the association for folks whose faces grow large every day by dint of the thinning hair, your roles and functions will be outlined shortly. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

As we mull the association, there is this other small matter of recruiting me into the lofty and exclusive club of guys who export minerals.

Okay, not exactly like good old pastor and brother Paul Mansukhlal Kamlesh Pattni, who said he wanted to make Kenya a country of gold through a company he called Goldenberg.

My idea is for you to find a way through which we can invite folks who deal in gold from the DRC.

It is really very simple. At your expense, we invite two or three of such blokes into the country.

I know they do not exactly trust us, knowing as they do that we smuggled some of their gold here a few years ago.

You remember, of course. Their President came over to try and find the missing gold.

That is water under the bridge. 

Once the folks are here, we must make a big impression on them. We must find our way to the house on the hill, where we shall have our discussions.

This should take 23 minutes. Why 23? It is a magic number. Ask a bloke called Echesa.

Now, anyone having the privilege and honour of even getting near the house on the hill knows how powerful one’s cronies must be.

Anything we tell the foreign investors shall be treated as not just the truth but gospel truth. After that, voila! it should be smooth sailing.

The advancing desert on your head aside, you and I need some retirement money.

I imagine you have bought a ranch somewhere, you know, such as the one Mutula Kilonzo had. I hear he owned lions as pets in his ranch.

Tour farm

Maybe you did not go to a very good school, just like I did not. But I gather you can tell the difference between a farm and ranch.

 You tour a farm on foot. See a few bony cows, geese and a fowl or two. As for a ranch? You are driven around to appreciate its size and contents; wildlife, the lot. See?

Bwana Muthama, there is no harm if we retire at some ranches, perhaps neighbouring each other’s. Think about it.

Give me a call and lets make it a reality, at least for me. Have a contemplative day, sir.

Wordsmith Patrick Wachira.– The writer is Special Projects Editor, People Daily