He was seated at the Intercontinental Hotel’s Poolside Bar nursing a scotch. This was the tail-end of 2014. He was with an MCA lady friend who he’d known for dog’s years. “He will be here,” she said unperturbed as she brought her merlot to her lips. It was about to knock 7pm and the man they were waiting for – a politician – was running slightly late. They were waiting for the man because he needed to borrow thirty million shillings from the man.
At only twenty seven years he already owned two houses in Kiambu Road; in Edenville and Thindigwa. He had already quit a job in the energy sector a year before because he was making so much dosh he thought, screw this, I can make this dough on my own. So he had quit and his MCA pal, his homegal, had had the governor hook him up with a licence for operating the business and he had put up a shingle and gone ahead to make such “stupid money” in under a year.
There are chaps who come out of university with First Class Honours but once they land on the streets they can’t make a move because there is no coursework to be done in the streets, no term papers, just street smarts. And because no university teaches you to be street smart, these chaps drown in the city’s concrete because their street instincts are as sharp as the colour grey. He wasn’t one of those chaps. He was sharp, yes, a chemical engineer by education but also a street hustler by blood. He was shrewd. He thought on his feet. He loved numbers but unlike most people who loved numbers, he connected the dots with them. And he made money.
The MP came. An MP from western, easy going guy, terrible suit. He ordered a shot of Johnnie Blue. The guy knew because he picked the bill after. You don’t want to know how much a shot of Johnnie Blue costs in a hotel bar. It will cause you indigestion.
They got down to business. He sat all the way back because men with money sit back. They are the bride and you want their hand. The man explained his business model: I buy this from these guys at this amount, I sell it to these other guys at this amount. There is an opportunity here to also get into the market. I have contacts there and if we do this we can make much much more. Problem is, I don’t have that capacity to scale up. I need 30 million for this. The MP guy liked the idea but he was also a businessman. He asked questions. Eventually they agreed that the MP would give him the 30m but he would want him to pay back 5m in his account every end month and a further 2m per month for his trouble. That’s 7m every end month. The MP also wanted 51% shares in his company until he repaid the 30m after which they would go 50-50 shareholding. “I didn’t care. I was still going to be making so much money,” he said. They touched glasses. The following week a lawyer came bearing a contract. The 30 million landed in his account the following day. Then the MP never bothered with him. He trusted him to pay back. They started making money. In 6 months he had paid him back his 30m plus interest. The office grew to 22 staff in three towns, the lowest being paid 70k a month. More money started rolling in. He was young, he was smart, he was making stupid money. Life was good.
Now, what good is a story like this without a chick, ey?
They had met in uni, she was two years behind him. Hot number. Mad love. When she finished, she couldn’t get a job. He was rolling in it, so he kept her comfortable. When he bought his second house, he registered it under both their names and they moved in together. “My first mistake,” he says. He bought her a car; a Mercedes. She was a balling housewife, but a frustrated one, “because she really wanted to get a job.” So he took her back to school to do her masters. They were travelling all over. His relationship with the MP got closer. “ He was such an easy partner to work with. He never cared about the nitty gritties so long as money was coming in. He let me run the show,” he says. “Fridays our people would work half day and so he would come to the office with a bottle of his favourite expensive whisky together with one of his politician friends and he would tell them, ‘Kujeni muone kijana Mkikuyu ananitengenezea pesa nikikaa tu starehe.” They would drink the whole afternoon.
In 2016 his wife got pregnant (They had moved in together). In 2017 she got a job and a baby girl.
“One day the MP calls me and says we need to meet. Come to Sankara. So si I go,” he says. “We meet at the Gallery bar. He’s with two serious-looking gentlemen, black Americans I learnt later. I’m not a suit guy but I know a good suit when I see one and those guys were wearing serious suits. The MP tells me about the proposal these guys have. It’s tied to another political bigwig and it involves 10 billion if done right. He needed to raise 3 billion and he said he needed 112 million from the company, which is all the money we had. That would mean closing down the business. We talked late into the night. I asked for time to think about it, which I did for days. I talked to my father and he said that I should understand that a politician is a politician at the end of the day. I did my math and it seemed like a great risk to take. I stood to make 500 mic from this deal and with that I could invest the money in a fixed deposit account and sit back. Plus he told me that he had trusted me with 30m when I really needed it, and it was time I also trusted him. I didn’t have a reason not to. We had had a great relationship. So I paid all staff three months advance and told them that we would call them after three months. Then I signed away the money.”
Well, elections happened in 2017, and this deal was based on that election. They lost. Shit hit the fan. The MP collapsed and was hospitalised. They lost all their money. He was left with only 700K in his account. When he told his wife she flipped. “She said I was finished. That I was done. That I was foolish to trust a politician,” he says.
He had to sell his first house and other property to stay afloat. “Because I would undercut other dealers in price I couldn’t go back and deal. I was in a position where I was losing money daily and getting frustrated quickly while my wife’s star seemed to be rising. She got a promotion, she was travelling for work and she was drinking a lot. I was drinking a lot.”
Then his money ran out. “There is no path to broke-ness. It just happens and it happens differently to different people. If you had told me two years before then that I would be broke I would have told you that you are crazy. I didn’t imagine I would ever be broke in my life. My wife was slowly losing respect for me and it was frustrating me. She was travelling for work a lot, or what she said was work and always ‘hosting clients’. She would taunt me about the decision I made and taunt me for my lack of means. I was shocked because I was there for her when she had nothing. I had to sell my LandCruiser at some point and borrow her car, which I had bought but she would not allow me. She would come home drunk at 3am and not want me to ask her anything. So I put a tracker on the car and I would see her hop from one location to the next.”
The fights started. Physical fights. Drunken late night fights. She would come home and find him high on vodka, the only drink he could afford, and she would be drunk too and they would start abusing each other and fighting until the neighbours came. Things got worse.
“I would not leave the house. I would stay in my room drinking the whole day. I was frustrated and broke. I would not leave my bed, I’d just lie there drinking,” he says. “She moved from our room and started sleeping in the downstairs bedroom. I started to hate her. She hated me. There was so much hate in the house. Hate, physical fights and emotional abuse on both sides. One day she came home drunk as usual and came to my room and started abusing me, so I hurled her against the wall. I remember punching her in the face like you would punch a man, several times, and she was screaming and shouting that I was killing her. The cops came. I was thrown in the cell. I think I was thrown in the cell three times and she four times. She always told me that one day she would kill me. And she tried. One day when I had blacked out she came home and hit me over the head with a gin bottle. I woke up confused, wondering if I had spilled vodka in my bed. Kumbe it was blood. See the stitch here?” He shows me a scar on his skull.
“Cops were a common sight in our house. They would tell us to just break up because one day one of us would die. There is a cop who even tried counselling us. Nothing. I couldn’t leave the house because I was broke. She refused to leave because she was part owner. So the fights ensued.”
Then she started bringing men home. Random men.
“The first time she brought a man home, it was a strange, man,” he says. “I had woken up in the morning and of course she was not in bed because she would come home so drunk she would crash downstairs in the spareroom. As I went downstairs I saw a man leaving the spare room to go to the water dispenser. I was shocked and confused! I just stood there looking at him. He was a big, tall man. Very big guy. I thought I was dreaming. He went and got water from the dispenser and as he made his way back he saw me and he didn’t even act surprised. I said, ‘Hey, who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?’ He barely broke his stride as he replied and I will never forget his words, he said, ‘You are the one in the wrong place, I was invited by the owner of the house.’ Then he just went into the bedroom!”
“Whaat!” I say.
“I know. I didn’t even know what to do. By this time my self esteem was so low I was taking a lot of shit man. I asked her about him the following day and she said it was her house too.”
“Were you guys intimate at this time?”
She started bringing men over at 3am. He would hear them walking in drunk, whispering loudly, the bedroom door opening and closing. “I would feel so small. So insulted. So worthless. At some point I accepted this behaviour, amazingly. I stopped caring. I was drinking so much. Once the help was done with the knives and forks I would lock all the knives in my room because she promised to kill me.”
One night she came home with this particular guy she liked. He had blacked out on the sofa in the living room so he heard them open the gate. He was drunk. He got up and as they opened the door, he told the guy to bugger off. “I had had enough, I wanted to save what was left of my manhood. There was shouting. I hit this man with a wheel spanner. He drew a gun on me, in my house! Anyway, I got his car’s number plate and searched for him, got his name. He’s one of your media guys.”
“What’s his name?” I ask. He tells me a name I’ve never heard.
He then started stalking him on Facebook. He found his wife and sent her a message. They met. “I had become that petty but I wanted this man to pay. I hated how he disrespected me in my own house, how he made me feel helpless. I was angry and I wanted to hurt him. I told his wife everything. The wife was one of those crazy ones. She was pissed off. You know what she did? She went to my wife’s office and caused a major stink. It was ugly.”
Her drinking got worse. He wished her dead. He wished she would crash and die in the car while drunk. “Every time my phone would ring from an unknown number I hoped it was the police calling me about her death.” He even went to Eastleigh to find cyanide but he was told it was 200k which he didn’t have.
On 9 January at 1:11am he sent me an email for the first time. I try not to check my emails after 8pm until 8am the following day because emails can sometimes just depress the hell out of you. This time I don’t know why I checked my email when I woke up, just before my run. It was a sad email, maybe even drunken. An email of disappointment and frustrations. He said he wanted to tell his story. He finished by saying, FYI, she just walked in with a man as I type this. Let me know if you want to hear this story. I said sure, of course. Then silence.
“I was drinking daily and heavily. I had lost weight. I couldn’t leave the house or my room. Then one day I said, you know what, this woman won’t kill me. So I moved to Nanyuki, where I had some property. I would come to Nairobi on Fridays to see my daughter. She was always drinking.”
One day he was in a bar drinking in Nanyuki with a guy he barely knew when he got a call. The guy on the phone mentioned his wife’s name and asked him whether he knew her. He said they have a child together. The man said, “You might want to come over; she is dead. Road crash.”
“I told him that there are emergency numbers on the windscreen, they belong to her relatives and that he should call one of them. The man was shocked. He said, ‘I’ve just told you that the mother of your child is dead and you want me to call her relatives?’ I hung up and the man I was drinking with asked me why I looked so happy and I said, ‘My wife is dead.’”
“Who called you?” I ask.
“I don’t know. Just some random guy.”
I sit back and he continues with the story even though I’m now distracted because his story now has three holes. I suspect strongly that he’s lying. His daughter is now roaming in the bar. We talk for another hour. I pay the bill, thank him and I leave. In the car I went over his story in my head and thought there was something that didn’t sit right with that guy. This was Sato. Sunday I wake up and start writing his story and at some point I stop because what use is writing a story when your hunch is that it’s based on lies? I go back to his first email he sent me reaching out. Then I read the second email.
On that email dated 6 Feb, written at 12:15am he had mentioned that he got the call of her death from one of the men his wife used to bring home. On his earlier email there was no mention of him hitting the man who his wife brought home, with a wheel spanner. Or of cops. Then there was the general aura he exhibited. His body language. How he occupied space. He didn’t come out as a genuine person. These things had bothered me a little, but I ignored them because you can’t judge people harshly the first time you meet them. Normally I do basic background check to see if basic things check out. Yes, some people might embellish somethings as you would expect but I can’t control that. But I try to make sure that people don’t come posing as their alter-ego, blowing smoke up my ass, feeding me grass.
Anyway, I start digging. I call Ivory, who I work with now and who has worked in agency for a while, and I ask her if she knows anyone at The Agency* and if she knows if a chic called X works there. [His alleged wife].
“Why?” she asks suspiciously.
“Something I’m trying to confirm.”
She calls me moments later and says, “Nope. There is nobody by that name at The Agency*.”
“How many guys did you ask?”
“Can you ask two more people?”
“The f*k for?” She’s a bit of a sailor, Ivory. “If you are going to make me ask questions on a Sunday about this chic you have to let me know why.”
“I want to find out if she’s dead,” I say.
“Yeah. In fact ask if anybody who worked for The Agency* has died this year, February.”
Meanwhile I send feelers out to my contacts in agencies to look for lady X. Nobody has heard of her. I google her. Nothing.
Ivory calls me ten minutes later and says I’m chasing a ghost. Nobody from The Agency* has died this year from a road accident or any other form of death. I tell Ivory the story and she says, wait a minute, someone mentioned some story that sounds familiar but the name you mention is different. So we run his number on TrueCaller and his real name comes up and it doesn’t match the name on his email, which is Lawrence. I go on FB and I see his picture, which was the same picture he had as his Whatsapp profile earlier in the year. I realised later that the names he gave me for his alleged deceased wife were shortened names but also names that appear on ID but which she didn’t use officially.
In short, it turns out that this man wasn’t even married to lady X. And lady X isn’t dead. He had turned the story around, demonised this woman in his story. We later traced the protagonist, the man who lady X was allegedly bringing into his house. It was all so disturbing. But one thing was clear; he was giving me a cock and bull story, sending me on a wild goose chase. I sat there and thought, but why would anyone spin this elaborate lie? What could possibly be his motivation?
So I called him and I could hear the daughter crying in the background. I told him I wanted to ask him a few questions. That must have set off his alarm because he promised to call me back but he never did. He Whatsapps me 15 mins later and says the baby is asleep. I say good, call me then. He says, no, we can chat. I ask him what his name is and he gives me his email name. I tell him actually that’s not you name, your name is so and so. He gives me more bull about that being his grandfather’s name etc. I ask him what his wife’s name is again, he refuses to tell me. I ask him if she worked at The Agency* when she died and he says, actually she moved to a place in South B. I ask for the name, he says he can’t remember. I tell him that X wasn’t his wife, that she is his baby momma. And she isn’t dead. I send him a picture of her and his daughter and ask if those people look familiar. He says, “Let’s leave the story then.” I say but we can’t just leave the story, you need to admit that you lied. I need to know why you would lie about something like this, make me understand as a fellow man, why you would wish death to the mother of your own child. I’m giving you a chance at common decency here.
“She isn’t dead but she’s dead to me,” he writes. I tell him it isn’t cool at all, this wild goose chase he sent me on. I was honestly shocked at how someone can voluntarily email me and lie so elaborately about his story, his own truth. And to make matters worse, drag his own daughter to this elaborate theater of deceit and use her – his own innocent blood – as a prop to his grand deception. It takes a special kind of human being to do something like this, a pathological liar, someone lower than a douchebag.
I have done interviews for close to close to ten years now, and often I can flag discrepancies in a story because the devil is in the details and most people don’t care for details even though that’s where the story is. Whilst I will confirm the basics by doing a rudimentary background check I can only do so much to corroborate your story. I realise that people can be prone to exaggeration and hyperbole and this is fine, but fundamentally you should respect the truth because it’s yours. If you meet me to try and feed me wild fiction you are not only disrespecting my work, you are disrespecting yourself and guys who come here to read that story.
This blog is not a tabloid. We are here to be stimulated, to be entertained and intellectually provoked. The point of Men and Marriage is to open up as men, to share our stories about marriage with the hope of learning from each other, as men. We are not here to bash women or settle domestic scores or wash our sins. The conversation here is based on emotional honesty.
Fundamentally, we are all flawed as men. We come with great baggage and limitations, but eventually we have to strive to be better human beings by willing to not only see our flaws in other men but also try and correct them but also learn from them. If we can’t be honest with ourselves as men, then how can we be honest to women?
We have about five stories left then I close Men and Marriage and embark on Women and Marriage. This is the final call if you want to tell your story. Also, yee happily married men who have been married over 9-years, I’d love to hear your stories. Kindly email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration for the 19th Writing Masterclass is now open. It will be – tentatively – on June 5th to 7th. To lock down a slot kindly email email@example.com