Tinga the Son of Odinga (Flame of Freedom)

Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga is the quintessence of the reform movement in Kenya. This nine stanza poem is symbolic of the nine years he spent in detention without trial, fighting for change, for a better Kenya. We celebrate him today, Mashujaa (Heroes and Heroines) Day, 20th October 2015.

Agwambo Tinga the son of Odinga,
you are the arc of the rainbow
the fresh orange of the sun,
the umbilical code of hope!

Tinga our eye is cast to the sovereign sky,
we are awaiting the patterning of the stars
our hope for people’s power shall never die,
‘cause we’re emboldened by revolutionary scars!

Amollo Tinga the son of Odinga,
you are the anthem of the people
the movement of a revolution,
massive democracy in motion!

Tinga your history is the flame of freedom burning,
them tried but never imprisoned the struggle
the intrepid lion grew up roaring in the jungle,
your liberation song was for all tribes of a nation crying!

Agwambo Tinga the son of Odinga,
you are the living legend of true patriotism
the selfless soldier of justice,
our shield and defender!

Tinga you’re the wheels of the hurricane,
lift our great land to fly like a free plane
that we may wipe away clouds of negative ethnicity,
felled upon our land like long rains of animosity!

Amollo Tinga the son of Odinga,
you are the anthem of the people
the movement of a revolution,
colossal democracy in motion!

Tinga they took away your tears with a gas,
them tortured democracy in their chambers
for your conviction they convicted you without trial,
never could they detain the people’s arsenal!

Agwambo Tinga the son of Odinga,
you are the arc of the rainbow
the fresh orange of the sun,
the umbilical code of hope!

Warning To All Bachelors: Marry At Your Own Peril.

I have decided, after a long pensive moment with myself, to pen my thoughts – away from poetry and art, on this question of marriage and love. Friends and relatives alike have tirelessly sought to know why Sidang’ is not married. Here is my opinion.
Caveat Lector: I am the least qualified to give a lecture on this absurd topic because I am the most inexperienced in matters nuptial. The better!


I start with a footling question: Have you ever heard that someone either was hospitalized or died because he never married? But for sure you have heard severally of men who died because they married. Point number one: you are better off a bachelor than a married man! Though we have to accept some facts too – a generally disorganized man gets organized when he gets married but organized men (like myself) will most likely get disorganized and disoriented when they get married! That’s not the point, let’s set off!

I believe you have witnessed how men, young and old alike, are trapped in the slavery cage called marriage. No. They aren’t just trapped. They willingly turn themselves in like a guilty suspect in a Hollywood movie, running away from a trigger-happy sleuth. And they submit to their jailor with a genial smile, exchanging rings for their wrongs – a clean slate for a new mate. Ha ha. We have a nice word for all this cacophonous ceremony – wedding! Wedding rings are meant to stop circulation [of blood!]. When eventually the blood stops circulating, the heart is in turmoil and irredeemably under the control of the one and only one bitter half!
Men are born free and everywhere they are in chains. These aren’t my words; these are the words of the great French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau. For the sake of my argument here, let’s treat men as male human beings. So yes! We men are born free and everywhere we are in chains. Not women, we men! It seems like most men have chosen to be chained eternally – till death do us part (or is it till love dies?!). I don’t know. But that is not the tragedy. The disaster is that most men have chosen “eternal chains” for the wrong reasons, the worst of them being love. But some men marry because their mothers want grandchildren. Really?? Can’t you make babies without getting married??? No, I can’t – my religion does not permit that! My wedding has to be blessed by Pastor Con (for Conrad? Concord? Convict? Connive? Convince? or Convenience? – O like Convenience)…the name makes a lot of sense given the kind of money you got to pay the good pastor for your wedding before you fly out for your money-moon (excuse the typo please; what with the money? It is honeymoon!).
Before I talk about the tale of love, just take note that there is another group of men (socially they are female, biologically – male); they fall in love with their fellow men and demand a wedding (you may kiss my **s – oh no!). I respect them too. We shouldn’t talk about them even though certain nerves aren’t meant for penetration and titration (this is for the sake of rhyme – ignore the meaning!). No, I shouldn’t have said that; after all when UK (the president) met US (the country) the other day, UK insisted it is a non-issue while US stated it is a serious issue. I agree with UK – we shouldn’t talk about it at all; it is a non-issue. There are more important things to talk about like marital corruption, the dwindling shilling and how it hurts the wedding enterprise, the financial cost of divorce vis-à-vis the emotional implication of ‘let’s give it another try’!
No. This homosexual thing cannot be a non-issue. America is always right. UK was just serving his sycophants a morsel of his trademark PR. Come to think of it, it was a populist response or what do you think? The problem is conceptual – or isn’t it about rights? Any open mind would see sense in big brother Barry’s position, on behalf of America. I therefore couldn’t agree more with US: let’s talk about it, let’s get murky and question the collective intelligence of our culture, let’s listen to our brothers like Binya. Merit lies in big brother Barry’s position which appealed to reason, UK appealed to the masses – thinkers call it ad populum!. America is the superpower and America has spoken (though the Pope must not hear this – he’s on his way here!). We can’t keep talking about this – we need a commission of inquiry as long as it is instituted by our own big brother Barry! So the ayes have it; your eyes will soon have it – here! Let my pen roll.
I have digressed and I wish I could retract what I just said because we shall have a deep, perspicacious and intellectual intercourse about gay rights and wrongs some time later. No, I cannot retract – my words aren’t side-mirrors of a Toyota Wish. Talking of wishes, a month ago I was wishing my way to the village in a Toyota car and I was struggling to come to terms with my mother’s expectations: my son marry and get me grandchildren – that’s all I ask of you. Should I tell her what Ngugi told Kenyatta in 1977: I will marry when I want? Of course not! I have to give her hope but as well explain that women of today are not like women of their time! I also could tell her I am mining gold and I will only stop when I come across the finest nuggets of them all! But coming to terms with reality, how do I fulfill my mother’s wish when courtship itself is an investment on its own; about two years of purchasing love and sacrificing time. Time is money and it flies! Ever wished you had a woman who doesn’t nag, always demanding expensive gifts? Well, you wish! Nearly all, if not all, love expensive gifts. The term gentleman is a financial construct: a man who’s ready to do anything and everything for them. In the eyes of our lovely ladies, Jared Otieno is a gentleman. O yeah he is! It seems like women are opportunistic…uhm I do not know about that. But have you ever wished you fell in love with the right woman? What a stupid question? How do you know you are in love with the right woman? There is no right woman out there; and it is never about love or love-falling, some of us are too heavy for love. Marriage – if you found yourself in it by accident or by design (it’s better by accident – at least you ain’t responsible) is about love, love and love: true? Is it about love, love and love? That is utter hogwash. Augment your imagination, the end-game is you – always! It is politics.
Now, straight to the point: the myth of falling in love only deepens the fiction that is marriage. A little bird once told me that marriage is the biggest killer of ambition, particularly for we men – once again, not women. Plato whom I love to read (though I disagree with him at times!) says that marriage is an obstruction to clear thinking; do not marry! His teacher Socrates disagrees with him and exhorts bachelors like you to get married because when you get a good wife, you live a happy life and when you get a bad wife, you become a philosopher! Well, some good thinking to do here! But Aristotle – Plato’s student, struck the middle ground – marry only out of sympathy! (Now, this surely cannot be a middle ground). Remember these are ancient thoughts of ancient thinkers. However, I have had a chance to reflect on these statements and I am slowly coming to terms with the reality. Just take a look at your married friends. You will realize that a bachelor with a mistress is thrice as happy as a master with a wife! If you want to falsify the Platos of this world do not anchor your marriage on love. Love (a nice word for emotional connection) withers. When it withers, it crumbles. When it crumbles, your heart is broken. When your heart breaks, you go looking for an expert in heart repair. Then your heart is stitched like a deflated football by a cobbler of love who also happens to have a broken heart. The sad story of a blind man leading another! Marriage and love? Go easy man!
Love-based relationship is like a virus, it evolves; it starts off at the initial-cum-primitive stage of instant love and it’s all about sweet nothings and sugar-yummy (or sugar mummy?) messages messaging hearts of two strangers and before you know it you are spending your life-savings on a wedding (meant to uplift someone’s self-esteem). By the time you are on honeymoon far away-from-the-world, you are on a new level of mutual interest. It is about you and your future together but sadly anchored on love. Love withers and that is why your relationship inexorably rolls into the latent stage of conjugal fatigue. Iron finally rusts, unless it is the one in your blood! And when this happens you have no choice but tolerate each other as partners in crime and so your relationship opens her doors to mutual tolerance. This is near-scientific. It explains why most marriages end up in divorce. What they don’t tell us is that after divorce, there is another chance to get married and divorce again.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living – whether you are a pastor or a psychiatrist, a lawyer or a jobless fellow hustling down town, a marriage counsellor or a university professor, a fresh graduate or a retired army general, if you build your marriage on love, you build your marital house on sand! Marriage should be built on convenience. Again, marriage is built on convenience – that is the cement of relationships. Be authentic and introduce yourself as Mr. I-can-only-marry-you-out-of-Convenience! Ask yourself this simple question: what do I get out of it? What can I achieve with or without her? What are her strengths that I can exploit to achieve what I want? What does she want from me? Is she a schemer? How do I know? How do I counter-scheme? How will I know the answer to these questions? If you get answers to these questions and you interview your candidate properly (treat her as a candidate always; a pupil of your eye!) then you will most definitely find compatibility. You may discover she’s seeking convenience too and thus convenience becomes mutual. When nurtured well, it becomes eternal! Then you realize that you got to support each other. Convenience gives birth to trust and trust sires love – not the fantasy love common with the herd but intellectual love that is caviar to the general. Love, for your information, can only be intellectual; it requires intelligent people to love. Convenience is the only thing that justifies marriage; the rest are myths and comedies for emotional entertainment. That’s why they hardly last.
So my fellow bachelors, you are on the right path. Relax and make merry. Do not be deceived to believe you are missing out, they are. Let those who want to live in soap operas do. We are the operas ourselves!
P.S: I have never fallen in love so stop thinking I was once heart-broken. I do not fall in love, love falls in me; intellectual love I mean. And no woman can ever break my heart, maybe they can try out my cupid arrow!