I am King

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I am King
Author: Trymore MacVivo
Genre: Fiction. African Fiction. Zimbabwean Fiction.
Publisher: MacVivo & Nzira Press
Publication Date: 2008
License: (c) Trymore MacVivo
CC-Licensed Version: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/
Print version for purchase: {{{pvfp}}}
Pages: 320
      • Below, the first three chapters.

I am King

Dedication This book is for my mother, Rosemary Nekete, who is the greatest love of my life.


I am King~1

The word spread throughout the sleepy and rustic and dainty town—fast, like the proverbial wild veldt fire. The word was passed from by mouth from one person to another so that by the end of that Tuesday, everybody, from those that dwelled on the western approaches of the town in Amaveni Township, to those poor wretched souls that eked out a precarious existence out by the highway that went to Harare in the north panning for the yellow shiny metal in the earth, and across to those over the desert dune-like granite pebble mounts of the chrome maker ZIMASCO in Mbizo Township by the railway, in fact, the whole town knew. Even those who lived a little out of the town in nearby Redcliff, their voice hoarse from the smoke spewed by the steel maker ZISCO, they knew that very same day, for the word that Chief Supt. Mawere had died had reached them, borne on the swift but sure morning wind.

In his life time, when his heart had pulsed and crimson blood had coursed through his veins, the people in the small town had either loved or loathed him. As one would expect, news of his death was received with both fierce ululations of approval and growls of anger with just as equal passion. “Good riddance!” those who celebrated his death behind closed doors and curtains said with vengeance and malice, their hatred for him preserved intact even in his death. They toasted his death by the corners of the town furtively for ethos dictated that it was folly and imprudent to celebrate death. “It was long overdue, this should have happened a long time ago” businessmen, street vendors, and gold panners retorted with rancour in their boardrooms, by their makeshift stalls and deep within their subterranean burrows respectively. Out across the street from town hall, “Cheated: A hero dies” the Kwekwe Expositor declared in an erubescent front-page headline. As everybody in the town knew, the newspaper was among the few of those who had viewed Chief Supt. Mawere as an angel, a messiah sent by go to preside over the small mining town.

Those new to the town of Kwekwe, and therefore unaware of CS Mawere, might have asked: “Who was this man? Why does his death provoke so much emotion?” Depending on who they happened to ask, they would have evinced a number of varied yet ardent answers. “He was the boss of the town...you know like a strongman? Or is it an iron man? Aish, I forget” a long time resident would have said, with a face contorted in a gesture of deep thought, a hand scratching the back of his head. “He was corrupt, ruthless and a maniac” another would have said, or, “You couldn’t do anything in this town for the past two and half decades without going through him or one of his cronies,” or, “Hi bo, the man was a Catholic, a God fearing man who fought to make sure the people live a better life. Didn’t he build the people homes? Authorized seizure of nearby land?” No matter how these purportedly informed residents defined CS Mawere, what was understood and accepted was that he had been the paragon of unadulterated power used for personal aggrandizement. Those who supported him either owned him and so eulogized him to escape and temporarily forestall his wrath or had benefited from one of his populist mechanizations.

What similarly made the death of CS Mawere fodder for the motor-mouths, those shadowy gossip peddlers, was not only the power he had wielded over the town when he was alive but the timing of his death. He was pronounced dead a day before magistrate W.H. Mudzingwa was to read out the verdict on whether he had found CS Mawere guilty as charged. “Thank God the country used the common law justice system for if a jury was to have sentenced the man, their impartiality would have been anybody’s guess” or something to that extent the residents in the city had said when the trial began. The charges CS Mawere faced were many and serious and multicoloured like an imported Persian carpet and read long like one expected of the Italian Mafia: corruption, racketeering, money laundering, kidnapping, trading in precious metals, hoarding basic commodities and selling them on the black market, selling the scarce government fuel at inflated prices on the street, directing an army of illegal black marker money-changers, murder—the only charge missing was that of possession and marketing of illicit drugs.

The trial had dragged on for more than two months, “too slow” the residents of the town felt. One wished for those days of old when the small town resembled a wild-west mining town when justice was dispensed to the accused fairly and by the people and swiftly. For the town of Kwekwe, whose name was conjured up by an old gold prosper, out by the banks of the swift Munyati River, from tree frogs that disturbed his dreams of striking it rich by crying ‘que!’ ‘que!’ ‘que!’ during the wee hours of the dark after a storm, had once been a town where mob justice reigned. At first CS Mawere had staunchly professed his innocence, as one would expect of one so charged with so many a crime. The Kwekwe Expositor’s Ms. Vimbai Mangwiro had quoted CS Mawere as saying: “I’m innocent. What I want all to know is that I demand my day in court to clear my tarnished name,” a day after the honourably DA, Energy Tivafire, had served him with the court papers. An acidic and vitrolitic columnist of the Expositor suggested, however, that a dark and sinister and faceless force was behind the smear campaign against CS Mawere, the man who had recognized the housing shortage in the town among the poor and built them decent houses out in Mbizo Section 4, using his own hard earned money. “They want to bring him down” he lamented, “and smearing him with these baseless and slanderous charges is the path of least resistance they have chosen.”

“How?” people in the town started asking the hard hitting questions once the shock or the glee evoked at hearing the news that CS Mawere had died had waned. The people bought the Expositor like buns the morning of Wednesday following his death hoping to find answers in the obituary they knew the newspaper would unquestionably carry. They were disappointed. Immersed in fine print on page four, among messages of R.I.P from companies around the town that read like birthday wishes, the closest the intrepid chief political reporter Ms. Vimbai Mangwiro came to reveal the truth about the cause of death was when she wrote: “CS Mawere was discovered in his bedroom during the early hours of Tuesday.” She left it to the imagination of her captive readers to answer questions like: “Who discovered the lifeless and cold body?” and: “What had caused the death?” Where there are blanks about the life of one such as famous, people in the small town were known to fill in the blanks with whatever they could think of, complete with twists like a Jane Austen murder mystery. “CS Mawere hung himself to escape hearing the verdict from his trial” some suggested, and: “The net was closing in so he used his police service pistol to shoot himself in the mouth...you know, like what police officers are usually depicted doing when they are cornered in Hollywood movies? Yeah, just like that.” Those with an active imagination claimed he had eaten rat poison, but the good doctor’s efforts to pump the poison of his body had been a futile and desperate exercise and so the man had died.

Of course, as with any suspicious death that plays out as a mystery, especially for one so prominent, there were people who would have provided the vital answers to all the questions the people of the tiny town had. Elizabeth Mawere, wife of the dead man, could have solved the mystery once and for all. The people had seen her by her husband’s side everyday as he walked into court, although they knew very little about her. What little they knew didn’t put her in their graces—it made them look at her with unbridled scorn instead. “Wasn’t she the one who kicked out the old white lady out by the Munyati River from her farm?” they said in passing. “Didn’t she make countless shopping trips overseas using money meant for the improvement of the town?” or, “Didn’t she build that thirty roomed house, large as a medium-sized hotel, above the kopje three miles out on the eastern periphery of the town?” They also knew her as the one who dressed in Gucci dresses and hid her face from them behind dark celebrity sunglasses. Of course, the fact that she was thirty years junior to her husband was an open secret. So was the fact that her former husband, a Dr. Chihota, was now a pauper making a living by panning the shiny yellow metal out of the earth out by the highway to Harare.

But I digress; I hope the reader will forgive me. So, Elizabeth was the person best placed to give answers to questions the people had, but alas, right after her husband was commuted to earth, the police had declared her a person they were not keen to interview regarding the death of her husband. As many people expected, her driver drove her to Harare in the dark of the night together with her young children. Some said she took a flight out of the country while others claimed she changed her identity and was now living, incognito, in some town in the hazy east of the country. Whatever was the truth, the fact remained that she was not there to provide answers.