KM learns a painful lesson from Nairobi’s con artists

KM learns a painful lesson from Nairobi’s con artists

- in Diary of a Developer

Drat, drat and double drat! How the heck could a seasoned developer like Yours Truly get caught up in such a mess? That swish you just heard is the sound of me punching the air. I am punching the air and cursing for the umpteenth time because I am in trouble. I feel like murdering someone, I think it would make me feel very good, squeezing the thieving, cheating, conning life out of their puny, smartly dressed, clean shaven domes. I swear if I had the guts, I would murder someone. To make matters worse, Dorotea is on my neck about moving. I wonder why bad things happen all at once. That ‘twap’ you just heard was me, this time punching the wall. I just did that because Dorotea just called me and I know she wants to get her morning dose of an argument we’ve been having every day for the past week or so. Some wise dude said that when a wise man argues with a woman, he shuts up. Ignore him, he hadn’t met my Doro. I have shut up on her, ignored her and even ordered her to shut up. She simply wouldn’t. She is one obstinate mother of my kids this, Dorotea. I am thinking of punching the wall again, but then the feeling from my recent experience is still fresh in mind. So I install a sheepish smile on my face and walk down the stairs to face my wife. She is sitting on the couch, arms behind her back. I don’t like that pose. Reminds me of my ma after I had done something idiotic, and was stupid enough to get caught.

“So when are we moving?” She starts, even before I am completely down the stairs.

“We ain’t moving anytime soon dear.”

“But all my friends are moving to Nyari. Besides, baby doesn’t like it here anymore.”

“Listen sweetie, moving is a really expensive and strenuous affair. We will move at some point but not…”

“But we are rich, we will just pay people to move us and we are moving into one of our houses.”

“It’s more complicated than…”

“What is? You think moving is more complicated than supporting a life form for nine holy months? You think moving is more complex than watching your skin stretch like a rubber band? You think moving is worse than all the soil I have to eat…”

That is my Dorotea getting started. In case you can’t notice, she is six or seven months pregnant with our fourth kid. For the past week or so, she has insisted that she did not like the house she made me build for her anymore. She has decided that she wants to move to an estate called Nyari. I have tried everything to dissuade her and I am now getting desperate.

“Listen dear,” I am begging, “even the soil in Nyari is very tasteless; something to do with proximity to coffee farms or something. Trust me, you won’t like it there.”

My Dorotea is no fool. She is just stubborn. She can never know why we can’t move to Nyari. She would never understand. My grandpa, God rest his soul in peace, taught me a few ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for living. One of the don’ts he insisted on is to not let your woman in on all your financial affairs. Said he, that once she gets to know the number of coins in your purse, she will budget for them, irrespective of the plans you might have made as a man. He insisted that our women are short-term planners; that they will spend with the hope of getting some more ‘wherever the other came from’.

I listened to my grandpa. He had a lot of wisdom in his old, wizened head. But he did not teach me how to go around this civilization thingie. This stuff that was invented by the white man and told our women that they had a right to anything and everything. I cannot keep all my financial transactions under wraps. But I cannot afford to tell Dorotea some things.

Let me explain. About a year ago, I bumped into one of my old friends at my local joint. After one or two (crates) of them bitter, bottled sweetness that is best served cold, my friend opened up and let me in on a deal that was going to make me some cool hundreds of millions in a short while. The brew had made us such tight buddies that he was willing to share this wealth with yours truly.

He told me of a large coffee plantation in Nyari estate, the only piece of undeveloped land in the prestigious estate. My friend told me that the owner, an old stingy man died about a month before and left the lucrative piece of real estate to his three sons who, as the story goes, could not agree on how to dispose it. The first born was hell bent on preserving the coffee plantation as their father would have wanted but the other two wanted the greenery out. As it went, they went to court and the first born was outvoted so it was agreed that the estate be split among the brothers. Each got about 8 acres of super prime property, so my friend said and he confessed that he was a very close buddy to the last born of the brothers. The best news was that he was willing to sell seven out of the eight, at a crazy price because he wanted to go abroad and do music or something.

To cut the story short, my friend took me, hangover as I was to see this brother the following day. He looked every inch a genuinely failed musician, one that needed the intervention of the white folks to produce something. Anyways, we drove to the undeveloped expanse of wealth. We found an askari manning a side gate that we went through and he saluted the ‘musician’ respectively, calling him boss. Inside the farm, we found another group tending the coffees and they too acknowledged the ‘boss’ respectively.

The ‘boss musician’ explained that due to the court duel with the brothers, the titles and land rates certification could take a while to process but all we needed to do was draw an agreement with the lawyers to the effect that he had sold seven of his acres to me. The price was 14M per acre and I was salivating by the time we got back to his lawyers offices. I was imagining the amount of dough I would mint out of the property as the bloke struggled to make an album. Anyways, either the greed, my trusting heart, naivety, stupidity or a combination of all made me transfer eighty million, my entire savings, from my account and proceeded to draw development plans.

I discovered three months later, very painfully that the entire set up was stage-managed, including the fake askari and the workers in the plantation. My friend and his musician buddy were con artists and I own no land in Nyari though Doro must never know…

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