"Who is this girl?"
“Ah, that’s Konveniens, my second wife. We have no children and are not planning to have any either”.
“You married again? You first marriage went wrong is it?”
“No. No. Friend, your mind sounds really middle class”. He laughed at his own joke which I did not understand. I hoped it was a joke. I looked at him waiting for an answer.
“Deliverance gave me no problems at all until I met Konveniens. Deli was useful, instrumental, but she could not serve an important purpose. She could not deliver me into politics where the real power, glory and wealth is. She was only part of my destiny to be a great leader. You understand? ”.
I was beginning to lose his train of thought.
Not waiting for my response, he continued, “You see my friend, Konveniens was the daughter of the then deputy President of my country. In my country, the President decides who succeeds him. Konveniens’s mother is the daughter of the then President. Her father later of course became the President. And guess who is President after him?”
I was trying to put the facts together. It dawned on me that I could be sitting with the potential President of Juburti. My mind started to calculate. If he likes me and he becomes President, he might make me his chief legal advisor. Not bad. Chief Advisor to the President! Surreal!
I blurted out, “You mean, you are next in line for the Presidency? ”. I had to know so that I can orchestrate my behavior accordingly. The devil in my mind was already planning. But his answer punctured all my hopes and the devil in me just absconded as all devils do when the ship sinks.
“No. No. I was the President of Juburti for 5 years.”
Wait. Did he say “was”? Surely he meant to say “am” and poor English is playing havoc with my emotions?
“You mean you ARE”, I said emphasizing the word “are”.
“You have problems with hearing my friend. I said I was. Two years ago, I was illegally thrown out by the subversives of the State who abused the legal instruments of the State. I am still the President in exile.”.
I stumbled back into my sofa visualizing my chief legal advisor to the President’s post flying away. It is always just close but never close enough for me. I let out a sigh. But he did say “unseated illegally”. Maybe this is where my legal expertise will come in. I allowed myself some hope.
“Are you ok? Don’t feel sorry for me. I am now fighting to get it back. But let me finish my background story first”. He did not know I was feeling sorry for myself!
“But how did you become the President? Did you marry Konveniens or what? Didn’t Deli object?”, I inquired.
With an impatient look on his face he said, “if you stop interrupting I could finish my story”.
“Sorry”, I muttered. “Well yes, I had to orchestrate my marriage with Konveniens…and what a challenge it was. Come to think of it, the planning of the marriage prepared me for political maneuverings.”
He puffed on his Havana cigar and continued, “Well, my father in law finally died and I replaced him as the governor of the Central Bank of Juburti”. I raised my hand to ask him a question. He said “Yessss?”
“Er…the job cannot be hereditary I am sure? In any case, I am sure you didn’t have a high education since you were poor? Hey wait! When did you do your doctorate?”
“My friend, you have a lot to learn about life. Money and influence are the gods of normal men. If you control these two, you become their god. I have two degrees and masters in financial and business studies from the National University of Juburti and from one American College. My honorary doctorate was conferred on me by a prestigious University from England on account of my reformation of the financial sector in Juburti. I also contributed financially to a program in that University”.
I really did not know what to make of this man. My instincts tell me that he must have bought those academic qualifications. If he did, how can anyone in his country still allow him to be the Governor of the Central Bank? I ventured a question to him: “What reforms did you do to the financial sector in Juburti?”
The pupils in his eyes dilated as if he was going to express an ingenious program launched by him and said ‘ I liberalized the sector!”.
That’s a word, my mind said. “How did you liberalize?”, I asked him.
“Simple. I opened up the market to the American and English financial institutions. I am proud to say that because of me, there are many American and British banks in my country. In fact, the chief adviser to the Central Bank is an American. With America, you cannot go wrong can you…especially if the investors are powerful Americans.” And he winked at me indicating something which I did not understand.
“Now can I get back to how they married me to Konveniens?”
“As a governor of the bank, I had access to foreign banks and especially Americans. Now, my father in law loved three things in his life – wealth, power and women. He could never get enough of those which I can understand. I was able to supply all these to him discreetly. Over the years, he liked me and trusted me. I managed all his off-shore wealth with the help of Americans and British of course. I held much of it on trust for him. One day, he sat me down and said, ‘would you marry my daughter?’
“I was of course pleasantly shocked at his suggestion. The old fox was worried about his wealth that I am holding for him overseas. So, I told him, ‘I am honored…but I love my wife……and I am not sure any woman will share their husband”.
“And he replied, ‘If you say yes, I will handle the rest.’ My mind was reeling with excitement. Married to the Deputy President’s daughter! I was careful not to mention this at all to my wife. Since that day, I made sure I made more time for her, taking her out for dinners, buying her gifts and so on. You know the usual boring, turkey stuff. Anyway, two months after that while dining with my wife, she looked at me pensively and said:
‘Darling, I have something to say to you which I hope you understand. The deputy President spoke to me last week and I had thought about what he said thoroughly. Please understand that I love you….but he has complete trust in you. He feels you are needed to lead the country one day. He wants you to succeed him’. Then she paused looking at me. I put on a puzzled look on my face, feigning innocence and bewilderment.
She continued, ‘Well, I think the nation’s interest comes first. The only way you can be president is if you marry his daughter….and I have agreed with it. He says he wants to check with me first before he talks to you.’
Dr Juburti smiled at me and said, “Friend….can see you how willy and cunning this old fox is? Anyway I told my wife if that is what she and the deputy President think is best, then I shall follow suit. That’s it! Done deal! On the way to be the President! Konveniens became my wife in a grand ceremony and I became president-in-waiting”.”
All this was just too abnormal for my normal understanding of life. Are there really such devious people on earth where everything is fair game for manipulation for pure selfish ends? I experienced a cramp like sensation in my stomach. I wanted to get up and go home. I also had alot of work to complete as I had a trial the next day. I excused myself. He walked me to the door and handed me an envelope.
"See you tomorrow night. I will tell you sensitive secrets"
NEXT: Chapter 3: Different faces emerging