Woman Scorned

3 Jun

They say, hell has no fury like a woman scorned…well they are right.
The woman screams! she screams so loud that her voice is hoarse and rough. she has been screaming for a very long time. Wailing her heart out. She is inconsolable. Outside, her petrified sons and their nanny stand helplessly watching the carnage going on inside their home through a window. The little boys watch with tears running down their faces and the nanny looks on helplessly not knowing what to do. Inside the house, the scene is chaotic. Everything that can be shattered by brute force has been smashed. Plates, glasses, flasks and everything else lies on the floor, broken to smithereens. Even the fridge is on its side, the door hanging by its hinges and the glass oven door smashed in. The wailing woman sits in the midst of the chaos, a look of disbelief or perhaps despair on her face. The mess before her eyes is a perfect replica of her life- inside and out. A life built on hope and faith, around a man she barely knew. The man who by deceit became her husband and father of her four children, of whom only two now survive.
This feels like a bad dream that try as she might, she cannot wake out of. Its been a long nightmare, woven over ten years of denying the obvious and trying to make things work. And now like a spider, the woman finds herself caught in a web of lies so fine, there is barely any wiggle room left. Everything has come to a head and now unable to bear the pressure she is having a nervous break down. Some people might say she is losing her mind. It is surreal. Her eyes scan the room barely seeing the beautiful pictures on the wall. On the far right, there is a picture of her and her husband on their wedding day. The smile on their faces that only earlier that day seemed radiant and warm now appears sardonic. The photo caption reads: Cecilia Weds Wayne
Now, his face, has acquired a cunning and foxy look that the woman knows has always been there but blinded by love, she never saw it before. On the other side of the room. A huge portrait of the father, mother and two young children takes up a big part of the wall-The not so perfect family-. She remembers clearly when this picture was taken. It was just a few months after she had her fourth child, a son, now 15moths old. The day of her 3year old son’s birthday. On this day, everyone was genuinely happy. But something happened on that same day that cast a shadow on the future of her family. Another woman came to visit uninvited but not unwelcome. She introduced herself as a friend to the husband and colleague at work. She was expecting a child. Her name is Thato – Meaning love in Sotho.
She told Cecilia, the fact that she was soon to become a mother, made her want to be around children even more. They chatted amiably over lunch but thinking back now, Cecilia knows there was something about her that didn’t look right. From her subdued position on the floor, Cecilia can now see what unsettled her so much about this woman.
Much younger, light skinned and shapely,Thato was way more attractive than her but it was not her beauty that sat like a bit of lead on her heart. It was the way she looked at her husband and the way he threw a lustful look at her now and then, when he thought she was not looking.
Thereafter, she seemed to turn up everywhere. She was there at the hospital when Cecilia and Wayne took their young sons for their immunization jabs last week and then again when Cecilia went to her husband’s work place late at night to pick him. Mr Wayne Owen is a hot-shot editor of a busy daily newspaper, while Thato works as an Editorial Secretary. That night, Wayne said they were both working late on last minute changes to the newspaper. No one could argue with that. Cecilia could not.
But everything became clear a few days ago, when cleaning out their bedroom, Cecilia found a diary, hidden at the very back of the closet and under a pile of old clothes. She opened it out of curiosity and intended not to go beyond the first page. She told herself, she had nothing to fear. She thought she knew all there was to know about Wayne.You see her marriage was one of a kind. They enjoyed a passionate open and warm relationship. She thought she knew all there was to know about her man and he about her. When they got married some ten years before, they had sworn to keep no secrets from each other and until that point, she had kept her end of the bargain, telling him everything about her movement, friends, intimate thoughts and all.
He on the other hand kept a heavy hand life. He monitored every move she made without making it too obvious. He had this unsettling habit of calling her whenever she left the house. He happened by in unlikely places when Cecilia was out with friends, and on numerous occasions, came home unannounced during odd hours of the day. At the beginning those odd days were filled with passion and love. He would come into her home office where she ran a budding PR firm, grab her from behind and make passionate love to her, right there on the floor. They treasured those moments because with two sons and demanding jobs to hold down, they seldom had time to be alone. Lately however, those moments had died down.
Now when he came hone, he seemed suspicious of something. He was irritable and uncommunicative. Cecilia had noted an odd phone habit with him lately. Where before he took calls freely, he had begun to receive his calls outside or in the bathroom. Once when Cecilia, tried to answer his cell phone, he came out of the shower stark naked and dripping wet, grabbed the phone and shoved her aside. He then spoke hastily into the phone and hang up. Later he gave her a pep talk about how private his phone was and why she should never answer it. Cecilia was shocked and hurt because she believed they had no secrets between them.
Discovering the hidden diary had shaken her faith in her husband and marriage and confirmed with a sinking feeling, what she had known for awhile now. Her husband led a double life. He was not the man he said he was and their life together was nothing but a sham. An extension of a mind boggling web of lies, carefully woven by him to cheat and deceive everyone around him.
Cecilia remembered opening the diary and flipping through hundreds of entries made during the period they dated and during their marriage. He wrote in graphic detail describing how he plotted to lure her into a marriage that to him was just a coverup. In it he admits marrying her to fulfill an obligation.He married her to make his aging parents happy. As the first born son in a deeply traditional african family, it was expected of him to produce an heir. Marrying Cecilia at the age of 38 was a necessity, long over due. He described in graphic detail how he lusted after her from the first time he saw her in the office. How jealously he bid his time as Cecilia flirted with other men at the work. He plotted to lure her into his lair have his way with her and when the time was right, dump her.
That revelation came as a complete shock to Cecilia, for all the year, they had been together, there had been no indication that their marriage was not real. He did all that was expected of him as a husband and father but truth be told, there was a little part of him that told Cecilia he was not all in. He seemed emotionally detached-The unexplained disappearances, the sudden withdrawal of affection and lately his strange obsession with his phone, pointed to a deep rooted problem, which Cecilia thought until now could have been worked out. But it was the entries about other women that blew her top.
He wrote with vivid imagery how he baited women for sex, three four or five different women every week and sometimes even two different women every day. He marveled at himself, wondering how he had been able to fool his wife in to believing he cared for her even as he slept with other women. He was disgustingly indiscriminate with the woman he targeted. They ranged from the cleaner at the office, the fruit and vegetable vendor on the roadside, his children’s nannies to the secretary at the office, colleagues at the office to random women he met in bars, and prostitutes he paid for the thrill. Cecilia could not take it. She knew the secret to his high libido. For a man in his late 40’s he kept his libido at an amazing high with the famed wonder drug, viagra. She knew because there was a blister pack of Viagra in his jacket pocket. She found it when she emptied his pockets as she often did before putting the laundry in the wash every week. The dairy was explicit about his children born out of wedlock with other women. As a staunch Catholic, Cecilia found this fact particularly sinful and very hurtful. There were three other children sired by him. One of them a girl, born in the first year of Wayne and Cecilia’s marriage. Two boys had been born within a few months of her own children. It was horrifying to think that he had at least three women pregnant at the same time. Thato was his latest catch, who Cecilia knew without a doubt was expecting his child.
When she found the diary, she brewed and drank numerous cups of coffee to settle her nerves, as she read, then she drunk a bottle of wine and when that failed to calm her nerves, she went out for a drink with a girl friend. The evening quickly graduated into a teary mess as she narrated to her girl friend what she had found. By the time she drove back home that night, she was a nervous wreck. She retired to her room, showered, drank some more wine and waited for her cheating husband to come home.
He came home in the wee hours of the morning and an argument ensued right then when he tried to convince her he got home much earlier. He infuriated her even more when he claimed the clock on the wall which showed 3.30am was wrong. This enraged Cecilia because it was not the first time he was doing it. He did it all the time as if to imply she did not know how to tell time. Cecilia thought how he took every opportunity to belittle her. He played that hurtful game best when in the company of their friends, telling them what a bad driver she was. He told anecdotes about the days she lost her car in the mall and how she lost her way back home on the same route she took going away every time. The joke was intended to make her out as a brainless moron.
He laughingly told anyone who cared to listen how he put a tracker in her car to help find her when she got lost as she often did. Back then, it sounded to Cecilia like a harmless joke but now the truth was dawning on her in blinding sheets. This was his way of manipulating her. Making her think a lot less of herself everyday. He had taken a chisel and hammer to her self esteem, chipping at it daily, with the things he did and said to her.
Tonight however, Cecilia is determined to have her way. She wants to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So when Wayne attempts to brush her off as he has done many times before, she refuses to budge. Wayne has always been great at avoiding things. So when cecilia hurls the incriminating diary at him, he ducks, changes hastily and gets into bed, turns to face the wall and covers his head, silent as a tomb. Enraged, Cecilia, flips the covers off the bed and yanks him out of the bed with all the force she can master. He reacts by slapping her open handed across the face. The pain comes as a shock to her!. For all the years they have been married, Wayne had never hit her. Granted, he did a lot of damage to her with words, deeds and in what he failed to but never once did he physically assault her until now.
But there was this one night when after a string of nights spent away from home, she refused to give him sex on demand. Then, he lost his cool and became obsessed with having her, any way he could. He grabbed and pinned her on the bed, face down, then he took her from behind! that was as shocking as it was thrilling and even though she knew without a doubt that she had been raped. She enjoyed it so much that he often threatened to repeat it when she was naughty.
Cecilia realized in horror how, in some twisted way, Wayne had succeeded in dominating her, abusing her and taking away every shred of self respect she thought she had. Until today however, Cecilia had thought nothing more of that incident. Now she saw a clear pattern of a serial abuser of women. A man so self centered, he didn’t care whom he hurt as long as he got what he wanted.
But in the wee hours of that morning when she confronted him, she knew this was a fight like no other. Not even a slap across the face would stop her from finding out for certain whether she had built a family on one big lie and even brought two adorable children into it.
Cecilia still wept for her two dearly departed children, who died before they were born – One was a still birth and the other a miscarriage in the first trimester of her very first pregnancy. She did not even know she was pregnant when it happened – As a newly married couple, Cecilia and Wayne were on their honeymoon, traveling across three countries of Botwana-Zambia and Tanzania-to Kenya, where they were born. The trip was blissful, filled with love, passion, great food and wine and of course the beautiful sights and sounds. The miscarriage happened in Lusaka Zambia, where in the middle of the night, she was jarred from sleep by a sharp pain in her womb, followed rapidly by huge clots of blood. Admitted in the Lusaka National Hospital for three excruciating nights, Cecilia begun to write her obituary. But if the loss of their first child early in her marriage put a dent into their relationship, it was the still birth of her third child, that drove the first nail into the coffin of her marriage.
Losing a full term baby is never easy for any mother but without emotional support, the loss can be devastating. Cecilia received little of that from her husband or family and that threw her into an year long depression, during which time she toyed with suicide and thoughts of running away and leaving her young son, then barely two years old, plagued her mind for days on end. Looking back now, she blamed her husband for the loss of their child because it was around that time that he begun seeing other women actively. Diary entries around that period confirmed her suspicions. In some African cultures it is believed that if a man slept with another woman during his wife’s pregnancy and then slept with his wife, that child would not live.
Even though she believed herself to be above superstition, Cecilia put down the loss of her handsome baby boy to a bad omen. How else could one explain the death of her child at 38weeks after a healthy pregnancy. She had attended all her pre-natal clinics and done all the tests necessary and not just at any hospital but at one of the best private hospitals in Southern Africa and not one doctor picked up a problem with the baby. She had even shopped for the boy, decked his nursery in blue and prepared her elder son for the new baby’s arrival, then out of the blues, her doctor said he could not find the fetal heart beat. That on the day before she was due to deliver was the hardest thing she ever had to bear.
Cecilia remembered that day vividly. She had planned an elective C-section and told Cecilia to come ready to receive her baby so she packed her baby bag, dressed in a blue loose fitting gown and told her nanny to clean the baby’s room one last time. She then phoned her husband to meet her at the hospital before she drove herself to the Gaborone Private Hospital. She was mentally prepare for the elective c-section agreed upon with her doctor on account of her narrow pelvic canal and nothing could go wrong.
She hummed a beautiful tune as she drove through the streets of Gaborone that warm summer day, eager to receive her second bundle of joy. Nothing could have prepared her for this. The tragic news sat like lead at the pit of her stomach when the doctor said he could not find the fetal heart beat but determined to save her baby’s life Cecilia rushed out to a nearby clinic for a second opinion. She got the same devastating news! her baby was dead. in fact, he had been dead for a while because by the time an emergency procedure was done to remove the fetus, rot had set in.
The boy came out fully formed with a full head of hair and nails. He weighed in at 3.4kg. Cecilia remembered holding his lifeless body in her arms moments after he was born with tears strumming down her face. She recalled how tall he was, when they placed him on the weighing scale. His legs went right over the top. The mental image of his handsome face-handsome even with his eyes closed would remain with her forever. But it was the heart wrenching funeral that followed days later that she wished to forget in a hurry but could not. In a dark corner of her mind is a another picture of an amazingly small white coffin and in it, the remains of her dearly beloved and departed son. The echo of the soil hitting the coffin, still rings loud and clear in her mind more than a decade later.
Her reverie is shuttered by a loud knock on the door but she does not open or make an indication that she has heard, until the door is kicked in with brute force, bringing the man and the door crashing into the house to join the pile of broken pieces of her life on the floor.
Cecilia is enraged. She sets her feet firmly on the ground daring the men who have just burst into her home to touch her. The men respond with enough aggression to dry her tears in an instant. They waste little time before grabbing her roughly and dragging her out screaming and writhing, between two men. A third male pushes Cecilia from behind and then shoves her roughly into a waiting car. Sirens blaring, the car carrying the woman and two burly men, one on either side as though barring her from escaping drives off with screeching tires on the drive way. Two chase cars follow at top speed, leaving behind a bewildered crowd of curious onlookers gaping after them.
The cars stop outside an imposing building outside of town. Two armed and imposing police men escort their handcuffed prisoner in to the building. This is a maximum security prison somewhere close to the kalahari desert, notorious for its brutal prison guards and inhumane conditions under which prisoners are held. Cecilia now hand-cuffed is pushed into an interrogation room where a male officer, baton on hand begins the interrogation. Sitting across the long metal table, Cecilia looks and feels frail. She is accused of killing her husband and father of her children. Up until that point, the husband is nowhere to be found. No one can say for sure whether he is dead or alive but before he disappeared, he reported a threat on his life, made by his wife.
Police were called to the house by a frightened house maid, who woke up to find the mistress of the house trashing the kitchen. Police responded fast, since an alert was already out on the same address. The burly officer sitting in the interrogation room is cross. She addresses the, accused tall but trim with stern crisp tones. He wants to know what she has done with her husband’s body and if the meltdown his officers witnessed earlier that day had something to do with her husband’s disappearance.
The officer claims to have the murder weapon, a hammer that police say was recovered in the house. Shocked, Cecilia remains mum. She stares across the room as if in a trance. Mumbling to herself. The violent confrontation that took place outside the room where she is now being held is playing itself out in her mind and in the minds of everyone present. No one can tell who that woman outside was. She accosted the woman now in the interrogation shoving and pushing and addressed her in a foreign language, deepening the intrigue surrounding the woman in this room. The police will hold her for the next 24 hours for questioning to try and find out what happened to Wayne but with no evidence of a murder being committed and no body to show for it, they know all too well they will have no choice but to let her go.

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Gagging The Kenyan Press: A tale of strange bedfellows indeed

4 Nov

I have been listening to the discourse about the Kenya government’s attempt to gag the media with their ‘draconian media bill’ with interest. As a long serving journalist working in and outside the mainstream media, I could see this coming but perhaps  not so soon.

What has the media done to warrant a government backlash? If you ask me, the profession has laid itself bear allowing all and sundry to take potshots at it without any fear of being challenged. 

The Media has lost the respect of the government and the public, whose interest it claims to protect. They have allowed the profession to become a free for all, where there are no regulations and no minimum entry requirements to operate.  It is only in Kenya where anyone with a mouth, a pen or keyboard for that matter, and an opinion, can be a journalist. If you are pretty and know the right people,  you can become a broadcasting sensation over night.

This has meant that people without the skill or even the zeal to learn on the job run the media houses. These non professionals  do not understand even the simplest thing about media ethics, libel, slander etc, let alone fact checking or the need to remain impartial on the job.

As a result, we see blatant violations of these principles daily. The profession has become so grotesquely unprofessional the public no longer respects the media or see them as the bearers of unbiased truth. The media can no longer claim to be the opinion shapers of  those  whose right to know we claim to protect. We cant blame the politician, a person who makes a living by exploiting situations to his/ her advantage for seizing an opportunity such as this to settle score.

Granted, the media has  rubbed the lawmakers the wrong way by blowing the whistle on their excesses and that was a good think because the public interest was squarely served. The public got to know what their representatives were up to and act to curtail them.

There has been talk of the media being unpatriotic when it comes to their coverage of the Westgate terror attack. From where I stand, the conduct of the media was on the whole, questionable. Some of the reports we saw failed to be sensitive to the conflict and the safety of those caught in siege. We saw footage that traumatized viewers and hurt the families of the victims. The daily Nation, the largest newspaper in Kenya was forced to apologize after splashing a horrendous portrait of a bloodied victim on its cover perhaps with the intention of driving the sales. Let me wondering what kind of editor was at the desk that night. Most probably an inexperienced one who failed to see the sensationalist nature of that headline, choosing to see only the sales figures.

Was the desire to drive ratings the motivation for the media to behave the way they did when they got hold of the footage obtained from the cctv camera’s at westgate. Did they put their interest against that of the nation? I believe they did. Showing footage that trashed the image of the KDF, the people’s heroes, at the time they did was irresponsible and thoughtless from where I stand. The media was caught in a frenzy of calling our soldiers thieves, even without any effort to check the facts. No mention was made about the selfless work the KDF did rescuing kenyans under siege.  

If you ask me, did the public need to know this? No they didn’t. Were the journalists unpatriotic in doing what they did? Yes they were. 

Who determines the public right to know and how?. Every Journalist knows that the right to know must be measured against the good that knowing something will do to the one who knows or maybe the  harm that not knowing would do to the public.

In this case, exposing the KDF to public ridicule did nothing to help the public sense of hope after such a vicious attack. It only served to demonize and demoralize our soldiers who are the last line of defense when the country is under attack. That footage gave ammunition to enemies to gloat. The more it was aired, the more people began to feel that what the KDF deed. ‘alleged stealing’ was worse than the act of terrorism-invading the country and killing innocent people.

Was that a betrayal of our nationhood and was it damaging to our collective sense of patriotism? Yes it was. But is reigning in the media this way the right way to address this? the answer is no. 

When all the dust has settled, the media will till needs a free environment to inform, educate and entertain the public but they must do so responsibly. The media must swallow whole meal this time, the bitter bill of self regulation

The media needs to put its own house in order first. They must restore their image as a noble profession where only the best join the profession and are proud to belong and to serve with honor and dignity. 

We are all to blame for the loss of face of journalism and we all must work together to regain the enviable position we once held as the watchdog of society whose moral authority to interrogate and question social ills was unquestionable. As things stand, the media is far from home on this one. 

When given a chance to self regulate, the media failed miserably, creating ineffective bodies like the media council and even the media owners association who appear to be self serving. 

Life and what you make it

5 May

Good morning!

Its a great day to be writing this. Why?  Because i woke up to a bright drizzly day alive and well. Sure the agonies of last night and the night before that persist but what does it matter? it is a new day and who knows what tomorrow will bring.

I can predict that tomorrow will be another day just like today but what i decide to do with it is up to me.

So here we are…

Hello world!

26 Oct

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!