AfricaPress-Kenya: It must suck to be Cleophas Malala right now. His heart is broken, but no one knows. He must keep up the stolid persona he has sold to the public. To them, he is –and must remain–a rebel lest the elders banish him.
Instead of letting all the pain out, he bottles it up. And he is right to do so. The last time Malala (pictured) expressed his feelings, everyone called him a crybaby.
The paparazzi captured the first teardrop leaving his eye that September day last year and tracked it as it coursed down his formerly chubby cheek and caught it as it landed into his waiting palm. They followed the second and the third tears, clicking away until his face was a mushy mess.
That evening Malala had to watch himself choke on his words after he was ‘falsely accused’ of faking his arrest. The entire country watched as his colleagues exchanged awkward glances, unsure of whether to hand him a tissue or offer comfort.
Doubtlessly, the Kakamega Senator wouldn’t want a repeat of that. What would his elders back home think of him if he cried a second time, he must have wondered.
So he took his recent sacking as the Senate’s deputy minority leader in stride to prove to elders that he had been raised well in the way of ugali and ingokho, and that he hadn’t been converted into eating rice by those in the big city.
In all the stare-downs between himself and the cameras, Malala has brandished his white, straight teeth, smiling from cheek to cheek. At times he has smiled so hard that he seems to be hurting his face. His eyes, surprise-surprise, have stayed dry.
Word has it that it would take more than his plastic smile to convince those who speak to the Mulembe gods directly that the former thespian was as hardy as they make their men.
Malala had almost convinced them following his altercation with a policeman during the Matungu by-election over some money he claimed the officer was stealing from him.
Reliable sources intimate that the elders had made arrangements to reward the son of their soil with a burnt offering, in honour of his heroics. They, however, cancelled their plans when they watched a video clip of the scene after noticing tears teetering on the edge of his eyelids, and that bodily features that should have stayed hidden were visible during his struggle the altercation.
But they may soon give him a pass, given that the universe is conspiring in Malala’s favour courtesy of the third Covid-19 wave. First, the ban on gatherings will limit the senator’s appearances in public.
He may decide to weep in private and keep up the strong act out here. The waterworks would not end up in public and the elders would never learn of his teary nature.
Then there is the fact that Malala would, most likely, not be gracing Bunge any time soon. That should insulate him from the heartrending tribute–for which Malala is famous–his colleagues would accord him and have him recall his tears.
But, more importantly, closing Bunge will keep him from seeing the cafeteria–the venue of the Wednesday meeting that sealed his fate–and hence keep him from topping up his cup of tea with his tears that are never in short supply.
Furthermore, with movement into Nairobi banned, he could choose to stay with his Kakamega homies. Familiar faces should come in handy during this low moment in his life.