Why honest colleague avoided his house on census night

Monday, August 26th, 2019 00:00 |
Census. Photo/Courtesy

MCA Gwinso

Among the things MCA Matayo and I have in common is ignorance about European football. I was therefore puzzled when he requested to come to my house on Saturday evening to watch football.

“But you have never been a football fan,” I remarked. 

“Bwana Gwinso, when you see me making such a request, just know kuna venye.”

I agreed to host him although I knew there was going to be a little problem: Mama Hirohito, daughter of my mother-in-law, would have to be persuaded to forgo her favourite TV programmes that evening. Going by past experience, this was not going to be an easy task. 

When I shared this concern with Matayo, he had a simple solution. “Just tell her we have an important issue we need to discuss and since it will be a census night, we need to be indoors.” 

“So you will be counted at my place?” I asked.

“No problem. I don’t want to miss the matches,” came a swift answer.

What I had thought would be an uphill task turned out to be very simple. Mama Hiro had no objection. “Let him come, after all, it is not everyday that he makes such requests, and I can watch my programmes another day.”

Win next match

Come Saturday evening , Matayo promptly arrived at my place. “By the way, which teams are playing?” I asked him.

“Well, I think it is… let me find out.” He made a phone call. “Oh, ni Man-U na Crystal Palace… then Arsenal versus Liverpool. Thanks.”

I found it a little odd that my friend did not know the teams to play the matches he was dying to watch! “Oh how I love these Arsenal boys! They will clobber these people,” he declared when the first match began.

“But I thought this is Man-u playing Crystal,” I remarked.

“Oh yes, Man-U. It has the best players in Europe.”

As the match progressed, our conversation shifted to matters census. We complained about the inconveniences caused by the process. “Must life come to a standstill just because we are being counted?” Matayo asked. 

“In fact, this is the second time we are being counted this year. That Huduma thing was also a census,” I said. Our chat then moved to politics. We were so engrossed that we did not realise the match had ended. It was Mama Hiro who alerted us that Man-U had lost.

“I knew they would lose,” said the guest, to my consternation. He then declared in no uncertain terms that Arsenal was going to win the next match. As we were taking supper, his phone rang.

Answer questions

“I am watching football at MCA Gwinso’s… just handle them… you have all the information, don’t you?” He then turned to me and explained that it was his wife calling to inquire how to handle the census people.

The second match began, and as had been the case during the first match, we talked about everything except football. At one point, he received another call.

“Ah good. I hope madam gave you enough information…Thank you so much… I will see you later…”

My guest was now beaming with joy. “I have to go home now,” he said.

“But the match has not ended,” I pointed out.

“Yes, there are 20 more minutes. Or is it because your team is trailing?” Mama Hiro asked.

“No, Madam. I need to do something at home,” he explained.

This turn of events perplexed me. However, I did not wait for long before learning the truth. As I was seeing him off, he opened up: Look here, Gwinso. It was not about football.

I did not want those census fellows to find me at home. The enumerator has assured me they are through with my house. There are some questions I would not know how to answer truthfully in the presence of Mama Watoto. You know I hate telling lies.”

As my friend drove away into the darkness, I went back into the house to wait for my turn with the enumerators. I am still waiting. Wakuje tu. [email protected]

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