The Land Cruiser Evoque slid along Ngong Road from Karen on Tuesday securing furtive envious glances from men and a few jealous ones from women (exactly what’s expected in a world where Miss Independent either gets what she has by greasing the joints of some corporate honcho or spreading her legs for the boss to climb up the ladder, or worse still, by peddling her flesh on public coffers looted by some politician).
At Argwins Khodhek roundabout to the Ministry of State for Defence Ulinzi House, a pedestrian had been hit by a KBS bus and jam was just beginning to clear. Another soul had been demoted to mortality. May she RIP?
I was subjected to a scrutinous search at the MOSD gate – I couldn’t complain, plus the Evoque doesn’t have diplomatic number plates. That notwithstanding, security is of utmost importance especially now when the KDF have residence in Kismayo, Somalia, after rooting Al Shabaab from their main financial hub while the terrorists and their sympathizers are having a field day back home hurling grenades everywhere and ambushing their soldiers on routine and administrative duties.
After being told that I had used the wrong entrance, I was showed in by a red beret soldier I came to know later was the Military Police. When I told him I did not know where the Department of Defence (DOD) offices were, he took his time to direct me with a crispness that bordered on discipline and competence.
I drove in, still getting the same glances I get on the road, though these latter ones spelt military discipline and curiosity of whose lady was behind the wheel.
Ulinzi House came into view as I came to a vast car park and saw the entrance I ought to have used. As instructed, I went to the military police at the gate and explained who I was, what I wanted and where I was going. I surrendered my passport and was booked as Brigadier Nyeike’s visitor and issued with a visitor’s badge that I hang around the neck. It reminded me of my young reporter’s days.
At the reception at the front entrance to the building was a female soldier in a red tunic ceremonial dress as opposed to the other’s I had met who were in combat camouflage dress and boots. She had a brilliant PR smile that I envied and wished could get to Gevin Technologies, but I was not about to suggest she abandon her brilliant military career and patriotic duty.
“This your first time here?” she asked with an accent I was sure was like that of Eve – Gikuyu.
I shook my head no.
“So, you don’t know where you’re going.” She said more to herself than to me, a statement not a question.
I told her that I was going to see Brigadier Nyeike and without much ado she picked the desk phone, punched some numbers and waited. When (presumably) it was picked from the other end, she explained to someone whom I presumed was her senior (because ‘sir’ prefixed and suffixed everything she said) why she was calling.
A moment later, a tall, average, well built guy in a black Armani suit with a complexion that suggested exotic cross-breeding in the genealogy appeared from the screen door behind the reception. He introduced himself as Major Sang, and would I please follow him.
Sure, why not.
The guy talked less and I could feel the tension that was getting the better of me as we wound corridors and staircases for what seemed like an eternity. I glanced at doors as I followed him, noting the titles of the owners of the offices – SOI Logistics, SOI Trg and Ops, SOI Pers. I did not know what they meant (it’s said that the military is the jungle of jargon) thus I was not impressed. We stopped at a door that was emblazoned with the words ‘Trg and Ops’ and Major Sang knocked softly before opening.
A tall man, probably of Somali descent, was gathering files and folders and when he saw us he said, “Welcome, Miss Golan. Nice to meet you.” He offered his hand that I shook nonchalantly. “The meeting is just about to start. Let’s go, shall we.” He said as he led the way. “I am Brigadier Nyeike, by the way.” He had an acquired American accent.
Major Sang followed closely behind and I did not want to think that he was devouring my rear view.
We entered a well furnished, squeaky clean conference room. There already were a few military guys there, I guess part of the quorum, and I shook their hands – mentally noting the title tags at each seat on the table. I had not known the Israel Ambassador to Kenya was to attend.
A moment later, the Minister for Defence, flanked by the Israeli Ambassador and the Chief of Defence Forces, entered the conference room. The meeting was called to order.
The agenda was what I had been told – defence contract for development of stealth software for the military’s hardware being developed by AeroStar Corp.
“Why Gevin Technologies?” I wanted to know.
“Israel and Kenya have a long standing relationship bordering on virtually everything, and Gevin Techologies being the best software company in Israel, came highly recommended by AeroStar,” the ambassador said. “AeroStar, as you well know by now, is producing weapon systems and hardware for Kenya, but for them to be effective, according to Kenya’s specifications and requirements, you come into play there. It’s no secret you are the best.”
“Well,” I grunted.
The CEO AeroStar joined in, “The hardware is now under technical evaluation for installation of the prototype software that we’d use for compatibility tests.”
“I hope you are not suggesting pressure on my side.”
“Absolutely not, but commitment and dedication precedes GT. We know you could work with deadlines,” it was the minister.
“Word has it that it took you only a month to do it for Syrians.” It was the Defence Permanent Secretary.
“And how did you come by that piece of information?”
“Nothing to worry about, Miss Golan; bottom line is you are the people we need,” it was the ambassador, again. “AeroStar are through with the UAVs and the fighter jets. When you are ready to do it, which should be within a week, your people should brace themselves up for long days and nights at Laikipia Air Base. In case of any malfunction after installation they should be there to rectify it promptly. I have already cleared with our, and your, people back in Israel.”
“I see,” I muttered. “And what makes you think we are taking the job?”
“You said ‘when’, not ‘if’. That tells me the decision is already made.”
The ambassador did not answer, but I got it.
Three hours later, the meeting ended and Major Sang walked me to my car, not as quiet this time round. However, what I picked between the lines was interest. God knew what I had done to pique his curiosity.
“I am from the Fifty Air Calvary Battalion, Embakasi,” he told me. “I am a helicopter pilot. I was in AMISOM One as pilot for the MI17 attack helicopters. We too want to know whether that software can work on our helicopters.”
“Just for the record,” I said. “We develop any kind, and type, of software. Just tell us your needs and you’ll have what you want.”
“I’m impressed,” he said. “I would like to discuss this at length with you. Here’s is my card,” he said reaching in his breast pocket. “Call me when you are ready,” he told me with a shrug that I interpreted to mean ‘who knows what might come of it’.
The rest of the week has been great, and the girls have suggested we go for a speed-dating event next week.
I sure will. Who knows what might become of it.
I haven’t forgotten my 2012 New Year resolutions, especially the cardinal resolution.
Copyright ©Elove, 2013.