There is a new breed of man in town. The so-called lying man, and baptised the woman-eater.
True, the smooth talker has existed since men started chasing women for dates.
But this particular man's lies have evolved. Instead of the usual Casanova, easiest-way-to-get-in-to-her-pants lies, this new man is crafting a whole new persona complete with flashy job titles and huge business interests to bait his target.
Unlike the former, this new breed is also preying on a particular calibre of women. While the emotionally desperate, easy to bed women were seen as an easy target in the past, this man is after the successful, well-connected woman.
His modus operandi is simple. He sets his sights on her, weaves his way into her life using lies and then uses her social, political and even business connections and goodwill for his benefit before he moves on to the next one.
He holds several personal attributes to snare his prey. He is a smooth-talking emotional blackmailer, charming, kind-to-the-eye, conniving, and both attentive and calculating.
He is also hungry for the good life using the mantra 'working smart' while doing little.
He will alienate you from your close friends and family and pounce on you with his clingy claws.
Once he has his eyes on you, there is no saving you, unless you have been wisened by age or experience.
Jane Mwikali, 34, narrates her relationship with one such man who she met six years ago. She is still in love with him.
"You wouldn't understand," the bubbly PR professional tells me when I raise my brows at her confession.
She met this man whom she only refers to as Alex a few months after she had walked away from an emotionally abusive relationship with her son.
Her son was only three at the time. She had also just left the newsroom where she worked as a reporter for a high profile PR job.
Her life was finally falling into place and when she met him, the final piece of her life seemed to come together.
"He was very good looking. He was 29 at the time, just a year older than me but he seemed to have accomplished so much," she recalls.
Every time she had a conversation with him, she went home feeling challenged.
He first told her that he owned a high-end garage in Industrial Area where he repaired top-of-the-range vehicles for politicians.
A few months in, while listening to music at a club, he claimed that he had bought the recording studio that released one of the songs playing, a song by one of Kenya's big musicians.
Then he claimed to own a famous jewellery shop in town; he even gave her a gold ring to prove it.
"The fields that he claimed to have investments in were so diverse that I sometimes fleetingly wondered whether it was true. But he always had a lot of money to spend and was always driving expensive cars, so I believed him."
At first, Alex didn't appear to want anything from her. He took her out on dates, bought her son gifts... then he began asking her for contacts from her media days.
First, it was phone numbers of top musicians, then he began asking for phone numbers of politicians.
He claimed to have business proposals for them which she found very confident and attractive at first.
He kept asking for numbers until it got uncomfortable for her. "About two years with him, a friend of mine met him and remarked that he looked like a drug dealer. My antennae shot up and I sat him down and asked outright if he did or dealt drugs.
He denied. I wore him out until he told me that he was a con artist. He told me about big names in the government that he had conned.
The funny thing is that he talked me round to see why he did it. He told me he only conned greedy people. By the end of that evening, I was sympathetic to him."
Alex was good at his stuff. She stayed with him for another year, feeding him phone numbers when he asked and getting dates and 'love' in return.
A NEW PERSONA
They only broke up when he confessed to impregnating another woman. While she can now see how he baited her, she is yet to deal with her emotions.
She still sporadically sees him. "If he calls me for coffee, I go. Other than the one fault, he was perfect," she says.
One of the most memorable news stories was that one of William David Tett, foster son of former assistant minister Betty Tett, who was sentenced to death in 2013 after being found guilty of robbing his father at gunpoint.
In a 2011 Daily Nation story, William was painted as a cunning man. The story recounted how at just 16 years old, he was able to convincingly pass himself off as a well-adjusted adult, and even carry on a romantic relationship with and impregnate an adult woman.
Like William, the social-climbing man is like a shapeshifter. He has mastered the art of putting together an imitation of the man who the woman he wants to scam wants.
He will put together an image of a successful, powerful or even dangerous man to endear women to him or command respect amongst social circles.
Joseph Irungu, aka Jowie, who has been charged with the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani, seems like the perfect example of just how well a man can craft a new persona.
In October 2018, High Court Judge Justice James Wakiaga set the internet ablaze when he described Jowie as a woman-eater.
This was about his romantic relationship with media personality Jacque Maribe, who has been charged alongside him and the fact that at the time of his arrest, he didn't seem to have a clear source of income or even a permanent address.
Fast forward to last week when this murder trial resumed and a witness who had spent some time with Jowie and Monica on the night she was murdered recounted conversations with Jowie, where he claimed to be a security expert working with Interpol and the Office of the President, and to have the ability to help the said witness acquire a firearm.
His social media is littered with images of him holding guns which he couldn't provide permits for.
Going by the photographs, he also appears to have had a celebrity lifestyle and fine taste.
When police began uncovering the mystery surrounding his life last year, sources claimed that he had in the past worked for two military contract companies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
CAUGHT UP IN A FANTASY
Cambridge dictionary describes a man-eater as a woman who uses men to have a series of sexual relationships but does not love the men.
Woman-eater would be a man with a similar behaviour. The only difference is that this current breed has taken things a notch higher.
He is using the same web of lies but aiming for so much more than just sex.
Linda Kirika, 33, shares about how her encounter with one such man almost ruined her financially. She shares how she fell for his tricks.
"When I was with him, I felt like I was the only woman in the world. In retrospect, I remember how bad at sex he was but at that time, I didn't see that. I kept thinking that something was wrong with me," Linda, a hotelier, recalls.
She met him at a friend's wedding five years ago. She had just come out of a relationship with a lying West African man.
This man promised her that he was different. He had a heartbreak story of his own and he kept reassuring her that having lived it, he wouldn't do the same to her.
"Initially, he told me that he was an engineer with a degree from the University of Nairobi. I had no reason to doubt him. A few months in, there was a six-week stretch when he told me that he had travelled to Egypt to broker a huge business deal," she recalls.
BUYING THE LIE
When he came back, he claimed to have gotten a job with the UN. He would regularly hang around with two men who he claimed were his colleagues at the UN.
One time there was a bomb scare and he showed her an email purportedly from the UN to all its staff on precautionary measures
He was selling her a lie. Meanwhile, he had practically moved in with her, was driving her car, and her twin daughters were calling him dad.
In almost four years, she only visited his 'house', a beautiful maisonette he claimed to share with a friend in Parklands, just once.
Interestingly, despite having this prestigious job with the UN, he still found time to laze around with his 'colleagues', drinking from as early as 2pm.
Then, he put up a 'side-hustle', a KRA agency office. Linda is from a wealthy family and she took a loan from her parents to help him set up her business.
He promised to repay with interest. He used her family connections to grow his business every chance he got.
"It ended very badly. He took money from many people under the guise of the business without rendering any service. The last I checked, he had been arrested for swindling a politician whose name he used to throw around when we were together. I came to learn that even the name he used wasn't his birth name," she says.
Their relationship was a pile of lies. All she is sure now is that he can spin a really good story.
You could argue that all relationships are transactional. That you must give something to get something even in romance. The problem is that with this man, the stakes are usually high.
Seeing as he is seeking the easy way up, he is also likely to be engaged in illegal activity and association with him may lead you to the wrong side of the law.
Unlike the lying men of yesteryear who preyed on the women they could easily bed, the social climber is seeking the accomplished woman.
Being aware that you are not above being lured by him would be the first way a woman protects herself.
A relationship with this man is also likely to wreak financial havoc for you.
When getting into a relationship, financial expert Jean Chatzky, in her book Women with Money, reckons that it is impossible to separate emotions and money and advises that women work their emotions around money.
Strive to make sound financial decisions even when floating on a cloud of love.