“Y2k” beams the judge as I hear my number, in heavily accented English which makes me wonder whether the court was unable to source the services of English or an American judge who would pronounce the number correctly. Y2K is the number that I was given the moment I entered this dreaded, God-forsaken jail, really it’s not God-forsaken, with an unlimited access to the internet, a solo bed, 5 star food and a 29 inch television, how can it be God forsaken?
All the same, I don’t belong here! You see, I came here due to fitina from the other communities in my home country somewhere in Africa. They said I had helped aggravate the violence that was witnessed after the incumbent stole, yes stole the election. I mean how do you explain that a gap of 1 million people is covered in less than 12 hours? Hiyo in wizi wa mapafu, or is it, mabafu?
“You are hereby charged with 100 counts of murder and blah blah blah”, the heavy set white haired judge continues, apparently he is Italian, why doesn’t he go to his home and concentrate on dealing with the mafia instead of wasting his time here deliberating on cases that take eons to end? So as he continues, I drift onto how it all started……..it was spirited campaign we had put up and our camp were sure that we were winning, the opinion polls were tipped heavily in our favour and the mood was all right for a change after some few years of misrule in the country.
I have been here for the last four years, after that snoopy, fat, old pig decided to indict me through a bench of ignorant, though learned, fools! How dare they do that to me? I was a very important person in my country; in fact, I was touted as the president-in-waiting for my country. Sadly though, that is water under the bridge because I am stuck here in a God-forsaken jail and only God knows when I will ever come out.
It started as a joke but turned out to be ugly, nut I was not amused and was not sorry for the deaths and plunder that characterised the after-math of the election results. I think any sane man would realize that they were people venting out their anger the best way they knew how and that was it!!
Here I am with the who is who in the world of crimes against humanity; Al-Bashir, a.k.a Hitler, gosh this guy is scary; I know one day he will kill me, he always speaks in Arabic, always reciting the Quran. Now he acts spiritual? Please, give me a break! Why did he not act that way before slaughtering the poor black souls in Darfur? Eish, wonders will never cease. Charles Taylor, my man, and my best friend, he is kind of cool for a guy accused of cutting off human limbs in search of diamonds. He has even shown me the best places to visit when I want to be “high” and indulge in some fun and fornication. Some guy he is! Felicien yes the Rwandese is here too! Shocked uh? Don’t be. They finally caught him; sadly no one got the money because it’s the F.B.I who did the trick.
So after the results, we felt cheated, deprived, robbed and oh yeah rigged out, we had to act. Really, we could see our hard fought campaign just fizzled by one incompetent body. We called for mass actions, they were meant to be peaceful, but the police disrupted our march to the freedom (Uhuru) park and we became incensed and fought back. In the end many of our supporters died but we soldiered on. Some have to die for the team.
I stroll around and see a wall inscribed “Milosevic was here”, I remember the guy, and he died while still on trial. He was apparently responsible for the Kosovo massacre his trial took such a long time that I even forgot it was going on, until I heard of his death, I wonder whether that will happen to me? No please God don’t let that happen to me!!
It was a long struggle to put an end to vote rigging in the country. Our leader, pray why was he spared from taking this trip to Netherlands? Anyway, that is a story for another day. So our leader said if this was left to go on, it would set a very bad precedence for the country. And so we demonstrated marching through the city center, our corresponding allies doing the same in the country side, the country was literally charged. The victory was in sight for our team.
It is the 30th time my case is being mentioned, its been a roller-coaster ride for all these years with the lawyer, a barrage of lawyers, that I have sorry, telling that the end is in sight, but I don’t see any end here. It’s like I have been running for years and there is no finish line in sight. Every time a near end is in sight a new piece of evidence comes up, that pushes the case 6 months back!! I am tired of this cyclic trend. I think I will have to go and tell the judges to get their act together or just dismiss the case altogether! That though will require a person with balls of steel.
But for what its worth, the Hague jail is not that bad at all, it’s a place where any low cadre person would pay to live in. With unlimited supply of internet supply, a nice bed, well not really nice for a guy of my class, but all the same better than most of the beds in our jails at home! Top that up with a big screen TV to access all news from around the world, food is world class eish!! Really not bad at all!!
But am not here to enjoy food and the rest of the stupid stuff here! Only a fool can be here for that. I should be at home shaping the future of the country. And the interest of my people are still in my heart, my people here I mean myself and my family.
So the demos continued un-relented, I was at the fore-front in seeking for the masses to address the issue and put the case of rigging into death-bed once and for all. Basically the police were used by the “government” and were geared towards intimidating our supporters. Really if you are so sure of victory, why do you have to use all the force just to validate and justify your occupancy of the office?
Never mind, the struggle continued, we were unstoppable. When you disturb an already irked charged crowd, fresh from losing what was an obvious victory what do you expect? Destruction, looting, cries of war and (God forbid) deaths are what you get and that is what the masses gave the people that had harassed them. It is akin the Newton third law of motion “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”!
My lawyers have told me that this may be the last time am appearing in court, it is NOT the first time they are telling me that. It is a vicious cycle of promise after promises. Cyclic redundancy is what I have coined it to be, they have told me this phrase one time too many, like Thomas of the good old book, I will believe it when I see myself outside the jail. “Seeing is believing.” So they say.
It is a bright day today and I am very optimistic of my release today, this coincides with a by-election, to be done in four months time, in my former constituency. Can’t get any better than this! It is at the point just about when the judge starts reading his verdict that the prosecutor raises a motion to call for more witnesses. Apparently this is because as he puts it “a new crucial evident has been cited”. At this point I see the only person I hoped never to see! A citizen whom I paid for him to be killed, nah that’s harsh, to be silenced because he had very incriminating evidence against me! This is going to be ugly; I might as well be resigned to stay here forever.
More in a fortnight.
© Peterson Mutua 2010
If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Friday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.