When Esther Arunga faded off TV screens at the start of this year, Kenya went amok with a mixture of remorse and relief.
Remorse because she had styled herself as the Kenya’s screen queen, and relief because of the cloud of controversy she managed to stir on her way out.
The nation watched in disbelief as the beauty turned her back on her fiancé just weeks to their wedding, found comfort in the arms of another (rather controversial) man, got entangled in a web of accusations and counter-accusations over the (equally controversial) Finger of God Ministries, and, to crown it all, declared on national TV that she would vie for the country’s vice-presidency, aided through it all by her pastor, saxophonist Joseph Hellon (president) and Quincy Timberlake (prime minister).
Then everything went quiet … until last Tuesday evening, when the newly married Esther, her husband Quincy, her pastor and friend Hellon and his wife Vineyard walked into the Nation Centre — uninvited and unapologetic.
Accompanying the four were two ‘bodyguards’ and a woman by the name Idah Omondi, and all deposited their identity cards at the security desk. All, that is, except Quincy.
Then, after an interview with NTV, the two couples (Hellon and Vineyard, Quincy and Esther) sat down with ZuQka for an interview punctuated with giggles and winks and smoochies and — how shall we put this mildly — brazen love.
Romance has a way of bringing out the best — and worst — in people. As Esther sat there, her hand firmly in the grip of her husband (as if, in a way, he may bolt out of the room into the dark Nairobi night), she struck the poise of a meek wife, passive and subservient.
Next to her Hellon, in his characteristic style, waxed lyrical about their new political party, the Placenta Party, and the new philosophy that it will introduce into the country’s social fabric.
As the meeting progressed, it became clear that the four had come to Nation Centre to sell their new political gospel.
Hellon informed us that he had even scheduled a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in December this year, and that he meant business when he said he would be gunning for the presidency in 2012.
On her part, Esther steered clear of politics, but delved deep into her family life, and her new status as a legally married wife.
“I’d like to assure all that I’m legally married to Quincy Timberlake,” she said, and expressed her disappointment over the ‘intimidation’ her husband has been receiving ‘from the corridors of power’.
“I am happy that the government has acknowledged the citizenship of my husband,” she continued.
“We are now free to express ourselves without fear to Kenyans. This is my message, to anyone, any forces, that are still struggling to oppose our relationship: I’m officially Esther Timberlake, married to Quincy Timberlake, whom I first met in Australia where we were both studying law, although in different universities. We met through a social networking site ran by the Kenyans Living in Australia Association.”
On her union with Quincy, which has raised a lot of eyebrows, the charming Esther said: “This marriage is sweet and beautiful! I feel like I’m the most loved woman in the world!”
Well, the man who has swept her off her feet sat there, exuding that aura of haughtiness that has become his emblem over the years. His lips sparkling from the lip gloss he had just shared with his wife (sniggeringly and all), Quincy said he could not understand why people kept referring to him as ‘controversial’ or ‘mysterious’.
“I describe myself as ‘an anti-tidal wave’ and I deal with issues the buffalo way. My wife Esther stood her ground and defended me while I was in remand, but now it’s her time to take a back seat and I, as the head of the family, am ready to defend this family,” he said.
One of the reasons why he was in custody was because his nationality was in question.
“I have been cleared by the Immigration Department as a Kenyan citizen, registered under the Immigration Act of this country,” he said, adding that he comes from a village called Marera in the Rongo area of Migori District, Nyanza Province.
Quincy has his way with words but, during the interview, he left us with more questions than answers.
He said his real name is Quincy Zuma Wambiti, but declined to produce an identity card to confirm that, nor tell us when exactly he finished his high school studies in Migori.
“I’m not here to say which years I went to school, I’m here to give you my story,” he retorted.
But, speaking to ZuQka recently, rapper Darze of the Bilenge Musica Band said he only knew Quincy Timberlake as Dezato.
“Last year, he sought to join our band as a keyboard player, but since I wasn’t impressed by his work, I declined to recruit him,” Darze said.
To most Lingala music lovers, Quincy Timberlake is Congolese, not Kenyan.
Darze said the flamboyant man is fluent in Lingala, and speaks English with a deep American drawl. “Many of us actually never knew his real tribe or nationality,” he said.
Dancer and singer Kanda King has also confirmed having Quincy as a member of his African Rhythms Band between 2003 and 2004.
“I accommodated him at my residence at Savannah Estate, though all along I was never sure of his real identity,” Kanda said.
During his time with the African Rhythms Band, Quincy featured as both a keyboard player and singer and, after leaving, he joined Benga and Rhumba singer Igwe Prezda Bandason’s Patron Musica Band in the same capacity. “He often kept his identity secret,” Bandason told ZuQka.
Quincy has been a regular feature, either as an entertainer or patron, at most entertainment spots that feature Congolese music in the city, including Dream Village, Simmers Restaurant and Citizen Vibro, and here he has always been referred to as Congolese.
Musician and producer Longwa Disco said Quincy was among those in the front-line during a fund-raising dance for the late Lovy Longomba in the mid 1990s at then then Makuti Club Restaurant in Nairobi’s South B area. He is also said to have had stints with Aziz Abdi’s Benga Afrika Band.
On Tuesday, he said he has a degree from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, where he studied Psychology.
Immediately after that, he went to the US and joined the Washington State University to study Endocrinology (a branch of physiology and medicine concerned with the endocrine glands and hormones).
Apparently (he won’t give us the exact years), this is the same time he also flew to Australia and joined the University of Newcastle, where he studied Law.
Esther told ZuQka that, in 1996 (when, according to various sources, Quincy was doing his rounds on the local Lingala scene), she was in Form Two at Kenya High School, Nairobi.
That means she finished high school in 1998, and was in Australia in the early years of the millennium, when Quincy, then going by the name Fizzle Dogg, was in the process of doing a song with the late rapper K-Rupt, produced by the Ogopa Deejays stable.
Does he remember K-Rupt?
“Yes, I met him in South Africa, where he was recording a number at Gallo Records,” he said.
“We didn’t record anything at Ogopa. Actually, the song we were to do was recorded in South Africa — in a private setting. Then K-Rupt brought the song to Kenya and took it to Herbal Records for mastering.”
But Emmanuel Banda, the Ogopa DJs Artistes Manager and Spokesman, differed.
“We had already signed K-Rupt before he died in November 2003. He was the one who brought Quincy (Fizzle Dogg) to our studios. In fact, he even recorded a song that he performed at the Tusker Safari Sevens that year. We even have footage of him wearing a white track suit, and the next time he performed was at The Carnivore,” said Banda.
“I can assure you that K-Rupt neither went to South Africa nor recorded with Gallo. The only deal that we were to seal with Gallo was a music distribution channel, but not any recordings,” added Banda.
It is rumoured that after Ogopa DJs, Quincy went to Kanda King, who housed him and even played the keyboard in his band.
“I don’t know who this Kanda King is. In fact, my brother Hellon told me that he has been saying that I knew him. I have sued him for defaming me,” said Quincy.
But Kanda said he was not aware of any suit against him, “but my dancers have been telling me that some people have been looking for me.
"The truth is, I housed him for almost two years. I have proof of him playing the keyboard in my band.”
And so the intrigues surrounding this man continue. It is hard to guess what will be thrown our way next time, but be sure to catch it here.