With our super real-life drama, who needs ‘Game of Thrones’?

Tuesday May 21 2019

Zaheer Merhali Jhanda

Zaheer Merhali Jhanda poses with bunches of cash. He has been roped into the fake gold trade. PHOTO | COURTESY 

MACHARIA GAITHO
By MACHARIA GAITHO
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Confession time. I must be about the only person in the entire universe absolutely clueless about Game of Thrones. As the hit television series came to an eagerly awaited close at the beginning of this week, at least one person in our solar system remained blissfully ignorant.

SLEAZY CONS

I have never watched a single episode — not even snippets of a trailer. When discussion on my WhatsApp or Facebook turns to breathless accounts of what happened last night or who will kill who in the next episode, I generally skip those conversations.

Now, it’s not that I don’t like entertainment or my share of distractions and escapism. I will go to the occasional big happening at the cinema hall. I’ll never miss the latest James Bond on the big screen. And at home these days, I often find myself staying up late into the night watching assorted stuff streaming on online movie channels.

However, I like a movie that starts and ends at one sitting. In my younger days, I had the time and patience to religiously follow Dallas and other ‘To be Continued’ TV shows but now prefer one neat and conclusive package.

In any case, when it comes to lengthy drama, sex, lies, murder, betrayal, grand heists and bewildering twists and turns, we don’t have to turn to TV: We have our own riveting home-grown drama played out 24/7 in real time.

It’s a true story with a rich cast of characters playing themselves without a script or director, but actual happenings.

The Dubai gold episode currently playing out is just the latest instalment in a perennial series that has gone truly international, reaching to the lawless goldfields of the ‘Congo Undemocratic Republic’ onto the gilded royal palaces of the United Arab Emirates.

The cast is truly Oscar material. The likes of Zaheer Jhandi and Jared Otieno play the usual sleazy cons brilliantly, no doubt helped by real-life experience in flaunting real or imagined wealth and milking photo opportunities with the high and mighty to pull shady business deals.

YAHOO ADDRESS

Then we have Bungoma Senator and opposition Nasa coalition co-leader Moses Wetang’ula acting the link between the scammers and the A-list stars such as President Uhuru Kenyatta, his best friend and opposition leader Raila Odinga, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and an alleged Sheikh Rashid Maktoum of the UAE.

In the mix as a key protagonist behind the scenes is Deputy President William Ruto.

In the tradition of great mystery thrillers, it weaves a tale that leaves the viewer confused as to exactly what has just happened and keenly waiting for answers in the next episode.

Right now, we don’t even know whether the story is about fake gold sold to the Emiratis by local fraudsters or real gold from the Congo handled on their behalf by selfsame fellows, which has been impounded by greedy local officials demanding a ransom for its release.

The smoking gun so far is the leaked tape of a purported telephone conversation between a person who sounds like Mr Wetang’ula and someone supposed to be Sheikh Rashid Maktoum in Dubai.

The latter is demanding release of his gold after paying the money and the former throws in the names of President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Dr Matiang’i as the persons who can release the precious metal.

Also doing the rounds are copies of demand letters purportedly sent by Sheikh Maktoum to Dr Matiang’i. It seems extremely strange that the letterhead of an Emirate royal and leader would give a free Yahoo! address. Royal communication on behalf of a private company directly to a foreign cabinet minister, bypassing usual diplomatic channels, is also suspect.

DRAMA CONTINUES

All the same, Ruto loyalists in Jubilee have been lapping up and enthusiastically sharing the ‘evidence’ implicating President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Dr Matiang’i. Some have openly taken their tales to public rallies and social media — obviously oblivious to the likelihood that the evidence relied on is probably manufactured and circulated locally by the regular social media mercenaries serving their faction.

From the other side, political operatives are also working overtime to deflect attention from their paymasters and, instead, point the finger at Mr Ruto.

It would seem that even the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji is getting in on the act, as evidenced with a curious statement directing the Inspector-General of Police, Hillary Mutyambai, to get to the bottom of the matter. The same statement laboured to clear Mr Kenyatta, Mr Odinga and Dr Matiang’i even before investigations were concluded!

The drama continues. Adieu, Game of Thrones, we have our own show.

[email protected]; @MachariaGaitho

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