I did not go to town to meet Gwen at our usual joint.
She took Lang’ata road from work and we met at the coffee Java at Nakumatt Galleria. As usual, I was final editing my week’s poem when Gwen’s perfume wafted up to me. A moment later, her velvet soft lips glazed my cheeks.
We exchanged hugs, sweet pleasantries, smiles and ‘I missed yous’ before the waiter appeared to take our order. Gwen, as always, went for coffee and kebab. I am a tea lady. You don’t expect that from a Java house, but guess the customer is always right.
It was over coffee, and tea, that Gwen told me why she wanted to meet me.
She took a sip of her hot drink, pouted her lips and said, “I’d like to think it’s coincidence, but I don’t believe in coincidences.”
“About Frank’s disappearance I guess.”
“Here’s the deal. The director of public prosecutions is a friend of mine, a kind of mother figure for me. She’s covered my ass, as wazungu say, many times and I owe her quite some. I had to tell her of what our investigation had unearthed. As far as I’m concerned,
I was obliged to clear it with her first before airing it. I did not want her to get heart attack from evidence.”
“Why is that? It is her office that has been slowing down prosecutions and justice from being served.”
“Not the case with her. If there’s anyone in this country that’s committed to the rule of law and ensuring the justice system is above petty politics is her. Sometimes the right hand might not know what the left hand is doing.”
“Are you suggesting that the cover-up has been going on without her knowledge?”
“Something like that. It seems there’s a cabal of rogue judges in the judiciary who would bend the law, even break it, for reasons best known to them. She was flabbergasted that something like that existed in the judiciary and the chief justice was not aware. Some wheels are turning as we speak now.”
“So, what’s this with Frank being kept from prosecution?”
“I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but this sounds like it. Word has it that threats were issued; even the judge who was originally handling the case was removed off the case without explanation. The then serving DPP died under mysterious circumstances, while the autopsy showed that it was a myocardial infarct. It was coincidental that he died when he was pushing for a public inquest into the death of the bishop and a day before the judge was pulled off the case.”
“So, what’s this got to do with your mother hen DPP not being aware? She was the Deputy DPP at that time, wasn’t she?”
“Yes, but as I said, a faction in the judicial system is after preventing justice from being served to some people. Apparently, it’s kind of a government secret protection program for criminals and the church is involved.”
“Does that mean that Fr. Frank’s disappearance is not an accident?”
“That one is not known at the moment, but that’s the piece of information we came across as we went about with our investigation.”
“So, who didn’t want the story of Frank being told?”
“I’d tell you if I knew, but we’ve got to find out to rule out anything. At this time, you can’t tell white from grey.”
“Point is, Fr. Frank is off the radar, coincidentally or incidentally, but whatever is happening is deeper than we thought.”
It was almost eight o’clock when we parted ways. I went straight home, not to ‘Miser and Miseries’ but straight to bed. I was thinking of what Gwen had told me – the office of the DPP, the AG and the High Court were protecting a murderer, Fr. Frank.
The emergence of the new evidence had changed everything. Fr. Frank was going to jail, but had disappeared. Not coincidence. But who had alerted him? He sure had not had an ‘accident.’
However, that was reason enough to dig deeper to know what really was happening. Well, I am not an investigative journalist per se, but that’s one of the media roles. Moreover, I ain’t a detective to engage myself into some police procedure kind of a thing.
Today is Wednesday and my sick leave is over. I reported to work eight sharp, much Sheila’s delight and everybody else, except Purity I guess.
Just as I perched my burgeoning butt on the managing editor’s seat my cell phone vibrated.
It was Daliah.
“Oh sweet sis, what an early riser you’ve become,” I said when I hit the connect button. It was seven o’clock in Jerusalem, too early for her to be in office. “I’ve waited so long for you to call me.”
“Yeah, especially when you don’t wanna tell me of how you’re doing. God, you’re the only sister that I have, do you ever think what it’d do to me if I lost you?”
Now, that was a shocker. I was expecting her to tell me what she thought about trading our shares at the Nairobi Stock Exchange, but here she was alluding to my health if I heard her well.
“Have you been dealing, Daliah? Because I never knew you to hallucinate. Or what kind of nightmares are you having? Are you sleep-deprived?”
“Don’t you play smartass with me, Shiri. Did you think I won’t know? God, you’ve been sick for – like what? – three months? And you never told me. Even the last time we talked you’re sick.”
I was cornered. Who the hell had sold me out? I would eventually find out.
“Who told you?”
“What does it matter? We’d have known eventually.”
“Please, don’t be mad at me. I had to do what I had to. Please…”
“I wish I could hear you.”
“Does dad know this?”
“Thank God he doesn’t, yet. But he will, soon.”
“Please, don’t tell them. I’ll be coming home shortly.”
“Yeah, you better come, and sooner.”
“Why the hurry? I’ve got some things to do here before…”
“I bet those things can wait.” Her voice was edgy.
“How do you mean?”
“It’s about your operations over there. Dad wants you here for the AGM next week.”
“But I told you not to tell them first…”
“Shiri, I heard you the first time, but seems like I had no choice.”
I took a deep breath and was lost for words. I knew Daliah was in one of her famous mood swings, perhaps because I had kept my sickness from her and was peeved, or probably because she had woken up on the wrong foot.
“I’ll try I come,” I said. “And Daliah, don’t be angry with me.”
“If I was, I no longer am. At least you are alive.”
Sheila stuck her head in and seeing that I was on phone closed the door silently. Whenever am talking on cell phone she knows that I am on a private call and she knows better than to interrupt me. However, I knew that what she was trying to tell me was urgent, or important, because I had not picked her calls on the office phone.
“Dal, I gotta go,” I said to my sister and I could sense the tension over the space. “I’ll call you in the evening,” I said. “Dal, I’m so, so sorry,” I said. “And I love you, sweetie.” I told my sister before blowing her a kiss over the phone and hanging up.
As though Sheila had been listening, she came in as I hang up. She told me that there’s a meeting at 10:30 a.m. and would I please check the memo and appraise myself with the files she’d brought me.
Of course yes.
And I was looking forward to that meeting.
Copyright ©Elove, 2013.