Gacoro is not raving mad like Wambaire -who tells everyone she
meets so salute and call her ‘chief’. If you are the lofty type that does
not acknowledge orders, leave a1one obey them, you wil1 be brought
down to earth by the rough stick she wields landing squarely on your
head. But even if you are meek enough to comply, she will somehow
find it ridiculous and beat you up anyway. However, if you know
your way around Kenya, you are never to be caught dead with an
A ‘Kobole’ (five shi1ling coin) sends Wambaire grinning inanely to
her favourite spot at the market square.
Gacoro’s insanity is of an entirely different brand. Some people say
he is not actually mad. Women in my village say (when they think
you are either too male or too daft to understand their female speak
jargon) that he overstayed in his mother’s birth canal so his head
He is always on the move. He knows everybody by name. He never
forgets a face. What is worse, he has a knack for storing in his long
term memory the worst in a character. When he meets you, your
website flies open in his mind. He begins talking to himself about you.
Every time I meet him he shouts for all to hear: “Wacu, learn to use
the toilet properly”. This he said even last week when I was leaving
Kiguta’s Workshop. Kiguta had just told me that I was the most well
mannered girl he had seen all his life and would be coming to see my
parents. He is yet to come.
This started from a rather unfortunate morning, when I was in
Primary School. The bell for morning assembly had just rung and I
had made a last minute dash to the toilets. The toilets had just been
built. In my hurry to get back to the parade ground and due to my
inexperience with the new toilets, I messed up. Unfortunately the
teacher on duty was in a last minute inspection tour. That saw me
cleaning the toilets the whole morning. After the punishment, the
teacher firmly admonished: “Wacu learn to use the toilet properly”.
I really do not know where Gacoro was to hear this. All my attempts
to stop him even for a minute and settle things once and for all have
failed. He is talking and moving all the time.
This may not be as embarrassing as what he tells our pastor. When he
is rushing to Church in his purple suit and green printed tie and
carefully polished brown shoes, bible in hand, Gacoro says: “Wangai,
if you are afraid to visit Susanna, when her husband is away at work,
why don’t you rent a room for her at the shopping centre?”.
It is not known where Gacoro heard these words. It is also not known
why Susanna has rented a room at the shopping centre. Her husband
who works in Mombasa is said to be a very responsible man. Pastor
has learnt to counter Gacoro’s blubbering with “Shindwe, Shindwe!”
(Be defeated, Be defeated). That to the demon in Gacoro. The demon
is going from strength to strength.
When Murage died last month the whole village trooped to his home
for the burial. He had been found murdered at the door of his shop.
He had been an industrious young man. Although he was quite young
he had done better than the two older shopkeepers.
Just when the photographs were being taken and one of the older
shopkeepers was intoning in the most sorrowful of voices how sad
they were, Gacoro arrived.
With his trade mark long tangled hair and tall frame he strode in and
let out a cynical laugh. It started with a muffled giggle which
developed to a roar. We could have ignored him but he started talking
to himself: “TuguKang’ aria biu (We will drain him completely). We
did not come to sell shelves here”.
I saw Kobia, who was reading the eulogy adjust his spectacles
impatiently. A little sweat was beginning to trace the hairline at his
For the first time, the policemen, who had been called in to ensure
enough security, picked Gacoro up for questioning. It was really a
useless affair. I hear he kept matching up and down the cell talking to
himself. Alter all, he is a madman. What now worries the police is
that he talks of harassment and bribery when he sees their Land rover.
The cell, he says, is like his father’s pig house complete with dung
and urine and overcrowding and suffocation.
Now we know.
Our M.P. is coming next month. We really have to lock Gacoro up.
The M.P. should not have talked about road repairs and electrification
during his campaigns. When he came for a fundraising at the Girls’
School, Gacoro fel1 in fits of laughter shouting “tarmac roads and
electricity, Ha! Ha!.” He was an embarrassment. It is because of him
that the M.P. only gave Sh. 2,000/=. Even the students were able to
give Sh. 20,000/=! Now that the M.P. is coming Gacoro has to be
kept away. But he wil1 find his way to the meeting and he will talk.