When the story broke the following morning, a shocked and disbelieving President Yoweri Museveni rang my eastern brother (Ofwono Opondo -OO) who totally denied shoplifting underpants and a biro pen.
He assured His Excellency that the entire nonsense was a fiction created by the malicious Daily Monitor to tarnish the honourable name of the President by savaging that of the Director of Information at the Movement Secretariat, whose office was at ministerial rank.
OO then got hold of some UPDF soldiers and rushed to Uchumi where someone (name witheld) intimidated the Kenyan General Manager into telling The New Vision that the incident had not occurred at all. The GM was threatened with immediate deportation back to Kenya if he did not comply. New Vision ran his denials but repeating our entire Kasyate story under a headline along the lines of “Opondo Denies Panty Theft.” 😁
The President did not express doubt in the explanation of my eastern brother but nevertheless sent the Head of State House CID to Uchumi to verify the denial.
The General Manager contradicted everything he’d told The New Vision while desperately pleading that Museveni saves him from deportation. The State House CID Officer spoke to the 9 or 11 Garden City and Uchumi Supermarket security guards who confirmed that they had seen the theft on CCTV, arrested my eastern brother, grabbed him “jeck” and hauled him him to the guard office where the biro pen and the stolen underpants were discovered after a strip search involving the lowering of trousers to ankle altitude.
A shocked President sent the Director of the Media Center, Robert Kabushenga to get a more detailed explanation from me. I briefed Robert (my former Legal Officer and defamation preventer-in-chief) who almost died of laughter on the phone when I told him we had obtained sworn affidavits from the oba 9 guards, about 3 sales assistants and 4 customers and passerby before we published the gobsmacking story. Robert promptly reported back to the President.
With the New Vision story in his artillery barrel, my eastern brother filed a big defamation lawsuit against Daily Monitor, seeking dozens of millions of Shillings in damages. New Vision ran a headline along the lines of “Opondo Sues Monitor Over Stolen Panty Allegations” 😁
That very day Daily Monitor filed its defense and our lead story was on the front page the following day with a headline along the lines of Monitor Welcomes Opondo Lawsuit – Lines Up 19 Eyewitnesses.
We published the detailed witness list including our Newspapers Delivery Clerk who used to access a cup of tea in the Garden City Guard Room in exchange for allowing the guards to read one newspaper every day. He had witnessed the strip search from the waist to the ankles and had seen the stolen biro and the underpants falling out of said trousers to the floor.
For the third day a totally baffled and perplexed President took steps to understand this bizarre theft. He rang his nemesis Andrew Mwenda and asked him to see me immediately and obtain my explanation for WHY the Honourable OO had stolen underpants and a pen worth Shs 13,000/-. Our story revealed that Uchumi had imposed a Shoplifting Penalty of Shs 130,000/-, which my eastern brother had promptly paid. He had Shs 150,000/- on him.
I told Andrew that former high school OBs and former residents of Makerere’s CCE Hall had shared multiple allegations of serial kleptomania and I strongly advised that my eastern brother should be forgiven and not be sacked because I understood kleptomania to be wholly involuntary and very hard to stop doing though it could reportedly be cured by the psychological shock of extreme public exposure, arrest or ostracization.
The President reportedly laughed till he had tears in his eyes saying “klepto-nenkyi?!!!” 😁
The long and short is that my eastern brother remains unaware of my pleas that he survives the presidential sack and while he has subsequently attacked me several times on Capital Gang and Frontline, I bear him no hard feelings. I still believe that in stealing the underpants, his actions were wholly involuntary.
Gleefully, on receiving our defense submission to court, my Senior William Pike ran another front page story headlined:
“Opondo Panty Case Starts.”
24 hours later the headline was “Opondo Withdraws Panty Theft Lawsuit.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect our editorial stance.