Ghetto dances: Of dry boreholes and dry politicking

I WAS having a hard time trying to convince Mai Maidei that there was nothing between me and Sister Lynete who was a hairdresser at the barber shop which was adjacent to Zororo Bar.

“I saw you two getting too cosy talking together,” said Mai Maidei.

“I was only trying to get change from her,” I protested.

“I saw you with my two eyes. Your eyes were all over her. You did not even notice me at first because she had made you blind.” Mai Maidei was breathing fire. The more I tried to be defensive,  the more she dug in with her suspicions. That was not the first time. She had always thought that there was something going on between me and Sister Lynette. She was wrong.

I decided to go to Zororo Bar before things got worse. I could see that she was spoiling for a fight. What made her short tempered was that only the previous day the municipal police had raided the market place and confiscated all her stock together with that of other vendors at the market. And to compound matters, she had just replenished her stock that morning and so the loss was unbearable.

When I arrived at the shops, there was quite a crowd. The sun was beating down relentlessly than never before. Chester was a well known businessman and was campaigning to be our member of Parliament. There was free beer everywhere. The crowd was gathered behind Zororo Bar just next to the open space where Fatso was operating his car wash.

Only a week before, Chester had drilled a borehole in the open space. So on this day he wanted to make a big impact by officially donating the borehole to the community. I could see Baba VaTata, Fatso, Rasta and Chris who worked in the mines but was rarely around. Baba VaTata handed me a pint of castle lager to quench my thirst.

Chester stepped up on the podium with a smile that rippled from ear to ear for the cameras. Addiction was not only confined to drunkards, politicians in general tended to be camera addicts big time. The smiles and posturing in front of cameras was for posterity. Chester was wearing a crisp white shirt and black suit. It was a crowning moment for him. The big crowd drinking the free beer from his benevolence assured him of victory against his opponents.

Chester was quite sure that the borehole was going to unlock many votes for him. He cleared his throat.

“Ahoy my brothers and sisters. I am going to bring development to our community,” he started.

“For development to come, all you need to do is to cast the ballot,” he said. Now and again he spiced his speech with catch phrases.

“You vote for me, you vote for progress! You vote for me, you vote for better schools and clinics! You vote for me you vote for real development!

“To show my commitment to this community, today I am donating to you all a borehole,” said Chester.

He was getting excited by each passing moment. The people were skeptical but as the free beer kept flowing the people seemed to forget about the empty promises of the past.

I saw Maromo, who was one of the campaign organizers reach for the borehole together with Chester. Everyone had been waiting for this moment. Chester, with a huge smile from ear to ear opened the tap which was connected to the borehole. At first there was nothing. The atmosphere had become tense all of a sudden. Then there was a small drop.

After that there was nothing. Then after a little interval some drops of brownish dirty water trickled out.

I could see dismay on  Chester’s face. Sweat began to flow. It soon dawned on everyone that the newly drilled borehole was dry. Whoever had done the water survey had missed the mark completely.

The crowd, now drunk with the free beer, erupted in anger and disappointment. Chester was quickly rushed to his sleek SUV vehicle for his own protection.

The voters had been taken for a ride before with empty promises and nothing ever seemed to change.

  • With Onie Ndoro, educationist, IELTS tutor and ghost writer
  • For feedback: email [email protected]/ follow Twitter @Onie90396982

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