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They Don’t Care About Us

Daniel Kakuru
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By Daniel Kakuru

Daniel Kakuru
Daniel Kakuru

Whenever my old man was no longer able to stomach our misdemeanors, he weaseled out of the house. Sat outside by himself, usually under the jacaranda tree in our compound. This was his love language when he was in a foul mood. No impulsive fights, nothing. He wore his emotionless poker face until it was finally time for us to go to bed, cover ourselves up and snore the night away. And then he would come into our bedrooms, fish us out of our beds like mice from their hideouts and teach us lessons. He always taught us lessons, that man. Well, I miss him now – and his lessons – but maybe we too shall cross the bridge and find him there. And shake his hands. His large palms will probably still be soft as cotton. And then we shall live in that imaginary place where there shall be no more death.

For close to two days, I have been foaming. Something bilious happened the other day in Kakira and left me asking myself questions whose answers I’m hardly likely to ever give myself. Now, Kakira is found in Jinja, for starters and whenever it’s mentioned, I think about sugarcane. We all do. Do we not think about symptoms when signs are mentioned? Do our minds not wander away to conditions when terms are mentioned? You know those things that make sense only when they appear in pairs. In this case, Kakira and sugarcane.

A man in Kakira died on Wednesday. At seven and twenty years, his future was supposedly all ahead of him. Until his wife somehow conspired with fate and muscled in. Denis Avaga, the deceased, was a mufuna-mpora; an askari at a sugarcane factory. On the night of his discontinuance, he gets home from work. It’s 10 pm or thereabouts. His wife does not throw herself at his feet saying kulikayo mwami. Instead, he hears blissful moans in his bedroom. He knocks. No, she does not hear him; she’s in the clouds. Every knock is answered by a moan. He breaks the door. Gains entry into his house the same way robbers would have.

In his bedroom, a fistfight ensues. Denis wants justice. Or maybe he’s just fighting for the sake of it.; hardly anybody makes rational decisions in that state of mind. Unfortunately, the woman picks a horse in this fight. She hands a knife to the man she has been caught with in her matrimonial bed. By the time the fight comes to a halt, poor Denis is dead. He has sustained multiple stab wounds and bled all his life out. Everything that could have gone wrong has.

According to James Mubi, the Kiira Region Police Mouthpiece, a handful of arrests have since been effected following this murder. The detainees include Raphael Onzima, the man who easily bested our dear Denis, killed him in his own bedroom over a vaginal tissue that rightfully belonged to him. Raphael wasted no time on the run; he turned himself in and asked the cops to please handcuff him before an incensed mob could lynch him. This, ladies and gentlemen is a discrete sign of victory and that was his most appropriate way of commemorating it.

Another male neighbor of the couple, Geoffrey Echoku is also in the coolers. Why? In the stead of trying his best to stop the fight, he cheered them on. Just the way Romans sat in the arenas and cheered on as gladiators tore themselves apart and spilled each other’s abdominal content. The landlord, too, is behind the bars peeping like a captured mudfish in a fishing basket. When he learned that there had been a murder in his house, he kept his lips shut. Reported nothing to any authorities; not even the ones at the grassroots. According to him, they should have the ability to smell the crime and summon themselves to solve it. You guessed right: his wife is also in. How could she have gone scot-free? As more facts emerged, it was confirmed that the knife with which Raphael slew Denis belonged to her. The killer blow is that she cleaned the knife, the murder scene and the corpse itself in an attempt at killing the evidence. Only she knows what she was thinking. The list of people arrested in connection to this murder goes on and on. But we shall not.

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, his 1996 protest song was played all day long on the television in the dining hall at my primary school. I was too young to know the dead music icon, but instead of the news, one of our teachers who happened to be an obsessed fan of Michael Jackson forced us to mourn him.

All I wanna say is that they don’t really care about us, sang the television as we pecked at our posho. I didn’t understand the song then, but now that I’m a man, I do. While Michael’s was a protest against prejudice when he wrote and recorded the song, the battleplanes have since been redirected. There is a silent war that has been waged against men today and nobody is willing to tackle it. Nobody wants to admit, there’s a false credence that men are naturally in the wrong. Nobody tells you that before the game of life begins, a man is already a few goals down and has to catch up along the way.

If your woman is hopping from bed to bed, being generous as a parent, the world says you are the reason she’s behaving that way. Maybe you are too occupied with work to spend any of your precious time with her. You’re making yourself too busy for your conjugal duties. And when you do turn up to bed on one of those rare occasions, your spear is soft and short and emaciated. It does not stab her deep enough, and she won’t remain thirsty forever. It gets worse when you are readily available all the time. She will accuse you of suffocating her. Your uninterrupted presence is a burden too heavy for her shoulders. You demand to chew her all the time and she has blisters from the incessant tumbles. Being absent is criminal, but so too is being readily available.

And when it dawns on you that she is eloping with whoever it is, you have no right to complain. You have to be a man and examine yourself internally. Only then will you understand the role you played in her adulterous behavior. Maybe you were too poor to afford her a trip to Dubai on her birthday. You couldn’t afford buying her the latest iPhone in town. You haven’t bought her the Subaru Forester she asked you for. We all know without being told that her parents wouldn’t afford any of her stupid demands even if it was the only way for them to save their lives, but again, we are only allowed to think and not say so. You have no right to tell your side of the story even when she opens her mouth and tells blasphemous lies about you. A man shouldn’t be petty, should he? It doesn’t matter that the ‘pettiness’ was an attempt at making some facts clear.

They don’t care about us.

Today’s society does not care about men. A man will catch his wife committing adultery in his marital bed. Instead of consoling him, apprehending the intruder and making sure justice is served, they will expect him to ‘understand’ that what he just saw was nothing serious; she just got tempted. They will tell him it rains everywhere. They will tell him men don’t cry. They will ask him why he had been away from his home in the first place. In extreme cases, they will help her kill him. Because the one mistake we made at the beginning of time was being born male. We cannot turn back the time, we cannot push back the tide. We can only pay the steep price, but the bad news is it’s not comfortably affordable.

About the author: Daniel Kakuru is a worthless MugOfPorridge. His articles have appeared sporadically in print and online. He drinks, smokes and hopes to die by suicide.