Today marks the first Moi Day after a long lull. It also reminded me of a certain incident in my past.
They say, SHORTCUTS ARE SOMETIMES DANGEROUS. However, at some points in time, one doesn’t have any other way but to take a shortcut.
We were once nearly shot for trespassing the Lodwar Airstrip where president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi’s plane was parked.
It was after a game day when all the students of Lodwar High School were allowed to go out into the town to purchase some necessities.
Olum* and I were late going back to school because he had to see his girlfriend.
That evening was not one of the best for us.
We were accused of sleeping with daughters of some top DCI (then CID) guy in town.
Always, with my innocent face, I was not a suspect (I truly was innocent) ?
So, after a lot of back and forth. I thought we would be whipped but it ended well.
But Olum couldn’t take it. He was fuming as we were going back to school. He had actually been accused falsely. Me too. We hadn’t done anything with those girls.
That time, the Lodwar Airstrip wasn’t fenced, people, animals and cars could criss-cross the tarmack without much care.
Most times, a plane that wanted to land would be forced to circle once so that people and animals are aware, and get off the tracks, before it lands.
Anyways. So, off we went back to Lodwar High School.
The shortest route from Lodwar Town was through the airstrip. So we set forth when the sun had already gone down. It was a few minutes past 7 pm.
A few metres from the airstrip, I warned Olum, reminding him that Daniel Moi was in town and that his aircraft was parked on the tarmack and it would be dangerous for us to pass near lest we be mistaken for terrorists.
Olum, still fuming couldn’t think straight. He was a guy who when his mind was set, it was set. And he was nicknamed Agwambo, because of his influence and tough headedness. Most people in school wanted to debate him. I was one of his ‘medicine’, because I knew how to corner him in those debates.
This time he won, and so I took a chance and run to catch up with him, we passed the ‘gates’ of the airstrip and were crossing next to the plane when a security officer, who one couldn’t see because it was already dark, shouted, ‘nyinyi’ (You!).
I froze, I nearly urinated on myself. A thought went through me that we would be shot and made to disappear forever, like we were aware how dissidents and opponents of Daniel Moi often ended up.
We stood still.
He approached and asked where we were heading.
Luckily we had uniforms and we identified ourselves as students of Lodwar High School and that we were heading to school.
He looked at us, sizing us like soldiers do, and let us go with a stern warning.
Phew! I can’t forget this experience.
*[name changed to hide identity]
True story from 2002, Happy Moi Day.