Colleague’s timely query that saved my team from defeat
I had always assumed ours was a united County Assembly until the Speaker announced that we would soon have to declare our stand on the Punguza Mizigo initiative.
“We don’t want that thing,” shouted MCA Chonjo.
“Who are you speaking for?” MCA Matayo thundered. “Don’t force your opinion on us.”
MCA Violata, Leader of the Minority, walked to the front. “Honourable Members, Punguza Mizigo is the best thing that ever happened to us.
It will make us MCAs the main drivers of development,” she said. “Let us all support it.” A section of the House applauded her.
Chonjo took her head-on. “Madam, the problem with you is that you only speak when you have nothing to say.”
This verbal uppercut caused an immediate uproar, with the MCAs on Violata’s side threatening to paralyse the proceedings in the House unless Chonjo apologised.
“I won’t apologise,” he declared defiantly. “Who does not know I have stated a fact?”
This remark transformed the House into a Tower of Babel.
“Honourable Members, let us be as honourable as our titles suggest,” pleaded the Speaker. “I know this is a divisive issue, but we need not lose our heads over it.”
“But some people here have no heads to lose,” shouted Chonjo, still seething with anger. I urged him to keep calm,and, thankfully, he listened to me.
The Speaker then announced that we would have to take a vote to decide on the issue. There were murmurs of dissent, but no one openly opposed the idea.
Interestingly, a count of the votes revealed that each side had an equal number of votes. There were no spoilt votes, neither were there any abstentions.
“Honourable Members, we still have to take a stand, despite the tie,” said the Speaker. “So what’s the way forward?”
“Toss a coin,” Chonjo shouted.
“Nonsense,” jeered Violata.
“Ok, I have a suggestion,” said MCA Pinto, Leader of the Majority. The House went quiet: we were expecting another Solomonic gem to emit from the MCA’s mouth, as usual.
“Since both sides have equal numbers, I suggest that they play each other in a game of football. Let the winning side carry the day.
It will also be a good opportunity for physical exercise which is good for us all.” Pinto’s idea was met with murmurs of approval.
“Ok, let both sides meet and organise their teams. The match shall be played in the stadium on Sunday afternoon,” declared the Speaker.
It was agreed that, to avoid unnecessary tension, the spectators were not to be told how the teams had been formed.
Our side met to share positions. I offered to be the goal keeper. “I will play striker. We have to win, or they lose,” declared Chonjo, our self-appointed captain.
Sunday afternoon found us in the stadium. The moment I set my eyes on our opponents, my heart sank. Those people looked physically fit. Pinto and Matayo looked like they had been playing football all their lives.
The members of our side did not appear ready for the match. Their appearance said it all. Chonjo, with his rather ample midsection, did not impress me as someone ready to score goals.
The other members too, did not inspire much confidence. We were obviously staring at defeat. Punguza ‘Mizigoists’ would carry the day. I called Chonjo aside and shared my fears.
“Don’t worry. We will find a way of having the match cancelled.” He sounded confident.
As if on cue, Violata walked towards us and burst out into derisive laughter. “Bwana MCA, why are you hiding a ball inside your shirt,?” she said pointing at Chonjo’s belly.
She then pointed at my legs. “And you, Gwinso, kumbe trousers usually hide those toothpicks?”
That did it. Chonjo flared up and had to be restrained from going physical on Violata. “How dare she insults us like that,?” he screeched. “We wont play!”
I got the drift and immediately joined in. “Hatuchezi!” Attempts by Pinto and his team mates to apologise on behalf of Violata came too late: We were already leading our team out of the pitch. They could play against themselves if they wanted. Hatupendi matusi.