For those who know me, I have never been very lucky with anything. In fact, any time we have disagreed in the staffroom on something like a rota and decided to ballot, I have always found myself with the undesirable options.
... until earlier this year, when, on the advice of Nyayo, I started small time betting, I can’t say that I have been a great winner, but I want to say here that I have been lucky a few times.
It all started in May. We were all at Hitler’s passing the weekend when Nyayo arrived to take his usual one pick up. As usual, he had his portable radio in hand and was following a soccer match.
“Leo nakula kitu,” he said, celebrating how Arsenal were losing a certain match. “Leo niko na bahati.”
By the 85th minute, Nyayo was on edge. He could neither sit nor stand – wishing the match ends. Sure that he was going to win, he ordered a pick up for all present. It was the first time Nyayo was buying me anything. As per his prediction, Arsenal lost the match, and a few minutes later, he received an SMS that he had won his bet, followed by a romantic SMS from M-Pesa with winnings. Nyayo was so happy that he ordered a second pick up for us. He had won Sh8,000, unheard of in Mwisho wa Lami. Nyayo told me he had never had Sh5,000 in his life all at once.
He left shortly after and as we would learn the next day, went straight to Cosmos Bar and Restaurant, where he entertained the patrons.
The following day, Nyayo took quite a substantial amount back to betting, expecting to win even more – but unfortunately, he lost.
Needless to say, within two days, Nyayo had neither the Sh8,000 nor an account of how he had spent it. “I thought Sh8,000 was a lot of money,” he would later say at Hitler’s as he asked for anyone he had bought something for when he had money to “return a hand”.
But the seed of betting had been planted in me. I decided to take a few lessons from Nyayo. With Nyayo unable to explain well, I went to Kuya, who had said that he had occasionally made some good money from betting. Kuya took me through the process, how to register, how to place a bet, the difference between a single bet, multi-bet and jack-pot. Depending on his wide knowledge of soccer, I started betting using small amounts of money with mixed results – wining on some day and losing on another.
Some time in July, Kuya showed me an M-Pesa SMS where he had won Sh41,200. I could not imagine that one could win such an amount of money.
“And I used Sh600!” he said.
That day I placed a bet and won about Sh560. My interest in betting however waned after I realised that I over depended on Kuya to guide me. And since we had differed over some matter I can’t remember, I believed he was deliberately misguiding me as I was losing every bet.
But what surprised me was how the village boys, including the likes of Nyayo who has never gone past class 6, and most of whom had a big problem comprehending anything in school, now had a very good understanding of betting and how soon, it became like a job. Every weekend, you would find them in market centres discussing bets.
About a month ago, we were at Hitler’s discussing who would be our next governor. While everyone said a certain candidate, Mr Lutta mentioned a different candidate and argued so passionately about how his candidate would win.
The discussion became so passionate, especially between Lutta and myself. It went on for some time until Kuya said. “Why don’t you bet, if you are so sure about your candidate?
“How much?” asked Lutta. I told him that I would give him Sh6,000 if his candidate won.
“You are not serious Dre,” he said. I am sure of my candidate and I will give you Sh12,000 if your candidate wins. Since I was also sure, I accepted and started planning how I would spend the money from Lutta, as I was 100 per cent sure my candidate would win. We agreed on Sh12,000 bet.
We would talk about the bet every so often, especially as the elections approached. Kuya suggested that we each deposit the Sh12,000 with him and that whoever wins would be given the Sh24,000. I did not agree. I told them that although I did not have the money, I would rely on my August pay plus another source that I did not disclose to pay off Lutta. The real truth was that I was not planning to pay as there was no chance that I would lose the bet.
Then the elections came. As you know, I was an official in the elections. By the time I was done with my role and went back home, results from many counties were already out, except ours which seemed like a see saw between my candidate and Lutta’s. I was at Hitler’s that evening, and my candidate was leading. As we drank, Lutta’s candidate started gaining.
Kuya, using his phone was the one giving us regular updates. Lutta was there present, saying he was looking forward to receiving the 12,000, but was also ready to pay.
“We have a winner!” announced Kuya excitedly as if he was the one receiving the money. Everyone stood up.
He looked at me in the face as said. “Dre’s candidate...” he said and my supporters led by Nyayo stared celebrating wildly “... has lost.” My people went quiet and Lutta’s people started celebrating.
Lutta, Kuya and their supporters all wanted me to give the Sh12,000 to Lutta but I argued that I needed to also verify the results.
“Kuya has just said who won here but we are not even sure whether it is true,” I said. “By tomorrow we will have known for sure the winner.”
When I arrived at Hitler’s the next day, I found everyone there, waiting for me to come and hand over the Sh12,000 to Lutta. He had promised several of them a drink, and indeed many had already taken drinks expecting that the money I would give him would pay for the drinks.
But I announced that I would not be paying. Everyone was surprised.
“What do you mean Dre?” asked Kuya. “Your candidate lost.”
“My candidate did not lose,” I said. “If you have listened to radio or read newspapers then you know he was rigged out. How can I give 12k to Lutta when we all know that my candidate was rigged out?”
Indeed, my candidate had rejected the results and have vowed to go to court.
“That was not the agreement,” said Rasto who was already drunk and was expecting that the drinks would be paid for from the proceeds.
“So what if the court rules that my candidate actually won?” I asked. Luta and team argued about this but Saphire was on my side.
“Why don’t we wait for him to go to court and let’s see how the courts decide,” said Saphire. “If the court confirms Lutta’s candidate then Dre will pay for it and if it confirms Dre’s candidate then Lutta will pay.”
There was noise from Lutta’s side that had smelt money, and they only accepted after Lutta accepted to pay for their drinks that day, and agreed to wait for the court case.
If they think I will pay them whatever verdict the High court gives, then they are in for a rude shock. This thing must go up to the highest court in the land. I will not part with Sh12,000 unless the Supreme Court says so!