Celebrating East African Writing!

Kulipa Ushuru ni Kujitegemea

Written by Ken Odero

So I’m jobless, and I spent like all my time doing nothing at the ‘Base ya Machizi’, I am proudly Kenyan and guess what, I believe in the tag; ‘Kulipa Ushuru Nikujitegemea’, (Paying tax is self reliance) I hear somebody from KRA coined up this stuff, these guys from KRA must be good!

Anyway, I hear that there are around 222 guys who can feed the whole nation with their monthly earnings, as a matter of speaking, of course. But word is around that they have refused to pay ‘Ushuru’, (Tax) does that mean, ‘hawajitegemei’? It must be so, because the opposite is ‘Kutolipa Ushuru Sikujitegemea’.


Machizi’ (Hustler) at my hood would like to know, ‘kwani’ who are they ‘tegemearing?’ )
We are eating up our brains over this. The base can report that these guys are like the highest paid in this country, in fact almost in the world and ati they have a choice if they want to pay tax or not. I loathe this life, and ‘Machizi’ are wondering how they can manage to make it there, I hear you need to invest a lot to be able to sit among them.

You know, I also hear, that these guys are really stressed out most of the time. I wouldn’t love stress! They go to funerals! Harambess! They pay for students school fees, they give handouts to machizi mtaani, not at our base because I only hear of them after every five years, saying stuff like; I will… I will… they never say stuff like; I have… I have… So this guys have stress and a lot of responsibility and won’t pay tax. I also hear that they did not get it easy, they blackmailed that Michuki guy. Oh…boy that guy can work, thanks to him, I have used a seat belt within my lifetime!

As I was saying, they blackmailed this guy, Michuki, by threatening not to approve some money for the budget, that was to build roads, and other things for ‘machizi Mtaani’, as well as roads for their cars to use, That would have been very bad, my boys appreciate what this Michuki guy did for them, by standing with them.

For the ‘Simu ya Jamii’ (public payphone) that we operate at this base, the Majiwa guys, speaking of Majiwa, is he still the mayor?, demand from us some Kenya Shillings 50, every week, they say it’s for the city council to be able to offer us services but here at ‘Base ya Machizi’ we wait for those services in anticipation. Actually we have no idea what these services are. If we do not even know if that Majiwa guy is still the mayor, how can we know what his services are?

Okay so we pay Kenya Shillings 50, every week, simply because we want ‘kujitegemea’ (self reliant) as those KRA guys put it, since being at the ‘Base ya Machizi’ does not mean that we do not want kujitegemea. And is that a jobo????
Since this few rich fellows are blackmailing that Michuki guy, there is also a common feeling among ‘Machizi’ that we too blackmail that Majiwa guy, so that we stop paying the Kenya Shillings 50.Here in mtaani we are racking our brains on how we are going to do just that, of course we have various options, as you know, Yes We Can.

Option number one; Assemble a group of machizi, write some placards and march into the streets yelling ‘Hatutalipa Ushuru, Hatutalipa Ushuru, Majiwa Must go, Majiwa Must go’(We will not pay taxes, we will not pay taxes). See this will threaten the security of the nation and they will send those boys in blue and boy oh… oh boy they will tear gas us and beat the crap out of us. So that will not work.

Option two, we can close down, the Simu ya Jamii business. See we won’t have any source of income, this won’t work either.

Option three, we move our business to parliament, no one will ask for tax and if they do we will blackmail them. See we will need to move the entire mtaa to parliament, this too won’t work; I think that place is meant for only 222 guys.

Option four, beat up the tax collector. See ‘Base ya Machizi’ won’t allow that, first because she is someone’s mother, second she is a mother to all of us, third she had been so nice to us when we were starting up the business and lastly those men in green, the Majiwa ‘askaris’ would land in our base and take away the simu ya jamii and boy ah…boy that won’t be good for the base.

Option five; we have no way out but to pay the tax. So is a ‘chizis’ situation we a have all the rights and again no rights at all.

Anyway my old school boy, the IDP is still in Eldoret, he is calling in, to touch base with the boys at the base, He tells me, the special minister has paid them a visit and she claims that soon he will be an ex – IDP, I ask him if that has any impact in his CV, like if he will include it, when applying for a job or something. He says only if the job has anything to do with; Sleeping in the cold, under the rain, and watching at night. I register my congratulations with him, for he has just earned himself, another title, Ex – IDP.

He tells me he is not yet, but he thanks me anyway, he is calling to ask me if he can come down so that we can consider option number 1 above, as it turned out he is so frustrated and angry at the 222 guys who earn by just showing up their faces into some fancy house, saying a word or two and walks away to run their numerous businesses

I tell him ‘Base ya Machizi’ down here is not willing to take that road, since, there is no water to wash away the tear gas that men in blue so enjoys to use. He is a little disappointed with us, he was expecting to find a reason to come and run up and down, for a ‘worthy’ cause, probably to remember his days when at the University.

He says he is got to hang up, he has to attend to some other business, he says he will touch base and tell us what this business is all about, but he is building the nation, this much he says, and apparently he is also paying taxes at the IDP camp in Eldoret.

I assume my position at the base ya Machizi the Majiwa mama is early today and now I have to pay Ushuru. Because ‘Kulipa ushuru nikujitegemea’. From base ya Machizi to the fans.

©Ken Odero 2011

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 Sunday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week on the next Monday. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.



2 comments on “Kulipa Ushuru ni Kujitegemea

  1. Ken Odero
    January 25, 2011

    Hey guys this is me would like for you to read my story and criticize my style to enable me improve my writting…will be highly appreciated…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wambui Wairua
    January 28, 2011

    I think I find this style better for a blog post than a story competition… But the issues you voice are real and steamy. Id give you a 5.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: