The four men in the club house looked frail and tired, very much unlike the tough persona they liked to front to the public. Even without their saying a word, an outsider would easily have spotted the leader, Mr. Chumbe. He was a born leader, the best the country never had. He rubbed his forehead slowly, tiny bits of sweats sticking in his hand. Today, he was beat. The rest of the leaders knew it, and he knew they knew.
A storm was brewing outside the club house. The other party members waited for the news breathlessly. The tension was palpable, the suspense too much to bear. Secretly, most of them were hoping to be on the list. The much awaited list. For today was the day. The day the successors would be chosen. The day THE successor would be chosen.
Mr. Leakey cleared his throat loudly and the other three were instantly brought back to the present.
“I believe we’ve reached an impasse,” he began in a shrill voice. It was a voice everyone in the room hated but no one dared to say in his face. For Leakey had a huge following in the country and especially in his region. He was what they commonly referred to as “the king maker”.
“This doesn’t have to happen.” Mr. Chumbe drawled. “It was supposed to be an easy process, why are we are making it complicated?”
“That’s because you, mheshimiwa, are making it so. You want your son to succeed you. We have no problem with that. In fact, we all agree that that’s fine by us. Even though we all know that your son is a drunkard. And a wife batterer. And he loses his head sometimes and beats people in public. Heck, he even wanted to shoot a police man the other day with an AK47. Dammit Chumbe we all know of the incident between your son and the school girl he killed—“
“That’s enough!” chumbe was on his feet. His eyes a bright red, his hair standing on ends. “You will not insult me and my family like that,” He said through clenched teeth.
“Please sit down mheshimiwa,” Leakey said calmly, thoroughly enjoying himself. “I am just stating facts. There is no crowd here to lie to. It is just us and we have nothing to hide amongst us. Each of us has had problems with their kids. We all know how they turned out and it none of our faults.”
Tom and Cannon looked at each other and said nothing, flinching at the blatant lie. They both knew it was their faults their children turned out to be what they were but for the sake of peace said nothing anyway.
“So I was saying, even though we all know what type of a person your son is, all of us agreed for him to succeed you. The only problem we have is with you saying no to our sons succeeding us. Why don’t you want our sons to fill the remaining top positions?”
“Because,” Chumbe said without batting an eyelid “that will look like a dictatorship. We will be the butt of jokes for years to come. We can’t have the four of our sons filling the top four positions.”
“Let me get this straight Chumbe,” the soft spoken tom begun. “So it is dictatorship if we want our sons to get the top positions but not the same if it’s your son being handed the same?”
Chumbe shrugged and said nothing, staring each of them straight in the eye. He was a shameless politician, this one.
“Well, this is ridiculous,” cannon uttered.
“But your son doesn’t even want to be in politics,” chumbe pointed out.
“Then I’ll force him to be,” cannon said angrily, on the verge of losing it.
“We all know how that turned out during the last general elections, the pussy tried to kill himself.”
“Listen to me and listen to me carefully. If I want my son to be a politician, that’s exactly what he’ll be. I know what’s best for him. My father handed me this seat and I will in turn hand it down to my son. He is obligated to do the same to his son too, my grandchild. The better the ungrateful brat realizes that, the better for all us.”
“What about you tom?” Leakey asked quietly. “Your son has been living abroad all his life. He does not even know what’s good for the mwananchi. He does not even understand what problems the citizens are—-“
“Cut the bullshit Leakey,” Tom said loudly, the agitation clearly on his face. “There is no public gallery here to dance to your tune. As it is now, my son is travelling back from abroad next week. He’ll be here just in time. He needs a position too. A top position”
Chumbe’s hand flew to his forehead again. They sat quiet for a few seconds before he begun to speak again.
“Your son is a renowned drug lord abroad.”
“So what? Whose son is clean here? If yours is, raise up your hands or be the first to throw the proverbial stone. Chumbe, your son is a murderer. Leakey, your son has wiped clean the elephants in this country for their ivory. It’s an open secret. As for you cannon, let’s not even begin on the sins your son has committed.”
The four men hang their heads again, the distress obvious in their faces.
“All our son’s will take the top four positions the party has to offer,” Leakey repeated for the hundredth time that evening.
“I believe we have reached an impasse,” chumbe said for the umpteenth time.