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A fable: Kerenga – the faithless chief of the southern end

The late cartoonist Bob Brown was as interested in ethics as the author of this fable, Jimmy Awagl


KUNDIAWA - The sun was about to walk out of sight over the horizon in the western sky as, accompanied by his comrades and cronies Kerenga the chief strolled towards the coffee shop.

As they entered, Kerenga looked into their eyes with a guilty smile. He’d come up with a brilliant idea to steal a valuable asset from a local farmer.

The fish farmer owned many fishponds which produced world class red emperors and earned big money.

Kerenga told his peers that they would confiscate property without the consent of the owner.

“Gentlemen, be bold and confident that we will serve our personal interest.”

“This could be a brilliant concept,” said the albino, “so what is your notion?”

“Gentlemen, the owner is busy constructing a new pond over the range. While he is there we will draw down his huge red emperors for ourselves,” Kerenga said, giving a brilliant smile.

By the next day, the arrangements and logistics were organised and the group set their course for the pond.

The owner believed no one would think of netting fish from an old pond covered with weeds and waterlilies. No-one but wily chief Kerenga, who knew all about the red emperors and their value.

So Kerenga and his cronies threw a simple net into the fishpond and drew out the red emperors. Some he would share with the group but, as chief instigator, he had also invited a reputable friend from the north to dine on the precious fish.

His friend from the north had done nothing to deserve such a meal since he was used to good living, but he was willing to receive hospitality from a chief of a poor village in the south.

The dinner was nicely prepared and the prominent guest arrived on time. The fragrance of the meal dominated the air. The guest sat comfortably in the dining room where he was warmly welcomed by Kerenga.

“I’m humbled and honoured to receive you to dine with me and my family. If I have something big I would have done something better but what I have is a little gift that you can enjoy. If I do not meet your expectation, please forgive me, since I borrowed from others to make your dinner attractive.”

The guest gave a smile and thanked the host. “That is marvellous,” he said. “I’m happy to be part of your extended family. Give me a call if any need arises, that is my assurance.”

“I’m happy to be part of your invitation to nurture my family’s future,” Kerenga affirmed.

They dined for three hours and chatting on issues of interest. The core discussion of the host centered on financial matters and assistance to his area.

“What was the stuff that you borrowed to make this dinner a success?” the distinguished guest asked.

“I borrowed the red emperor to prepare this dinner,” replied Kerenga with a guilty conscience. “Because of your coming, I borrowed the fish from our friends within.”

The atmosphere then turned unfriendly and they decided to stroll outside for relief.

But the alarm had been raised. “My red emperor worth millions was reaped by the chief for a guest from the north without my consent.”

The critics became viral and the relatives of the farmer said the chief and his comrades were crooks.

Kerenga took refuge from the issue and pointed to his comrades and cronies as scapegoats. He hoped to hide his guilt from his reputable guest.

But the guest from the north walked away in disgust and with negative thoughts of his host, the faithless chief from the southern end.


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