Lady Justice


The gavel bangs. Six months in the slammer for five souls convicted of illegal mining. All rise. His lordship is departing.

The court marshal leads the convicts down to the cells, where they’re to wait for a rickety van that’ll deposit them in prison.

They look pale and malnourished. Others have open wounds and worn faces with bewildered looks. Just a week ago they were trapped under a collapsed mine. They were buried for two days.

Their heads are bent in surrender, half-covered in shame, partly by exhaustion. On Prime Time News their story will run at the tail-end of the bulletin, right before sports.

One pleaded mercy from the court. He said he’s resolved to stop prospecting, and to always abide by the law.

The scowling lordship was having none of it.

The courtroom empties out. Only the prosecutor remains seated. He’s staring at the miners’ file, ruminating on his own career. His job description: Toss people in prison.

Twelve years ago he won his first case. Domestic violence. Manslaughter. Husband got a life sentence for stabbing his wife six times. It was thrilling to put the bugger behind bars. The law was word, and the word was fair.

But that was long ago, before he had sent an innocent soul to the hangman, before he started checking in to dusty pubs to drink White Cap, before Diana left with the kids. She couldn’t take it anymore. He was either at work or at the bar. She left on a Sunday afternoon in September, while Chelsea was playing Huddersfield. He came back to an empty house, and a note in her spidery hand dangling on a fridge magnet. I can’t take it anymore. Please find help.

These days he wonders whether there’s any justice in the world. In the hallway he’ll meet the activist – Okiya Omtata – heaving a pile of folders under his arm. At the exit our man will wave to the guard. And at the parking lot he’ll suddenly stop and think, Hm, what is Okiya Omtata doing all the way in Migori?

By the time he gets to bed at night he’ll have forgotten about all those poor miners. And next week I’ll also have forgotten about them because I’ll be back in the sea, treading water, keeping my weekly ‘Dusty Rugs’ deadlines at bay.

I wonder what will happen to those miners. How will they adapt to jail food? Are they scared about dropping the soap? Maybe they’ll get pardoned for good behavior. Maybe they’ll serve out the rest of their sentence with wistful grins as they recall the good old days at the mine, when they’d show up at 8 a.m. and scour for gold until noon, whistling to the strains of ‘Where Have All The Good Girls Gone’.


I’m out of breath. That’s the furthest I can run with that story. Most of it is total fabrication, of course, but it’s however true that, last week – while I was away – a gold mine collapsed in Kehancha and five people got trapped.

Kehancha is in Kuria West, which is in Migori, which is in Nyanza.

That Monday, Bett WhatsApp’d and said, Yo. Take a break this week. Exhale. Refill your cup. Exercise. Take a drive. Get laid. Anything to get rid of the writer’s fatigue you’re experiencing right now. Cool?

Suddenly my week was wide open. My week just lay back and spread its legs. My week looked so good I wanted to buy it some lingerie. I wanted to take it out on a date and fill her up with wine and sweet reggae tunes.

I had acres of time on my hands. The pressure her of my column deadline was lifted off my shoulders. And the part of my mind that sniffs out stories went to sleep.

The miners went down on Wednesday. Meanwhile, in Kitengela, I was taking a blissful afternoon nap. Incidentally, that was also the day I made ugali for the first time. But I’ll get to that.

Apparently it had been raining in Kehancha. The earth was slippery. It took two days to dig through the muddy rubble. Rescuers stuck a pipe through the clay to send down water and porridge.

The miners were finally pulled out on Friday, emerging from the clutches of Hades with soiled faces and squinting eyes, struck by a sudden flash of sunlight. They were taken to hospital, patched up, and the job was a good ‘un.

It was an unfortunate incident. But statements from the government lack any sympathy. Prospecting is illegal, and for that they must face the consequences. They’d been instructed not to mine around the area. The miners say they have no alternative. The mine has kept them from crime, and the gold has improved their lives.

A gram of the stuff goes for about 3,000 bob.

The last straw came from sirkal, though, when the Deputy County Commissioner said the piece of land is meant for the construction of a stadium.

(Can you believe this baloney?)

‘Stadium’ sounds like they plan to build something of Kasarani proportions, with field and track and some javelins. Like the next Olympics will be held at Kehancha.

Ha! Imagine that.

A slender Russian called Katya Petrova steps up to throw the javelin. She takes a deep breath. She shifts her weight from one long leg to the other. The air around Kehancha Stadium is tense. Everyone waits to see if she can break her previous record of 85 meters. Even the commentators go quiet.

Katya throws.

The cameras follow the swift trajectory. And, because Kehancha stadium is too small, the javelin goes out of the stadium and lands on the Deputy Commissioner’s head.

The gavel bangs. Justice is served.


Our housie also comes from Kehancha.

Three weeks ago she went on leave. She left her suitcase and promised to return after 14 days. But up to now she’s a no show. Her phone isn’t going through. Sometimes she’s mteja. Other times it rings out. Mom is furious.

She was an industrious lass with dark skin and strong legs. Her nose was like a button, placed like an afterthought. Her voice piped from somewhere below her chest.

We’ll call her Eunice.

And Eunice could sing. Boy, could she sing. Mornings I’d hear her in the compound, belting out some gospel song. Her shrill voice would stream into the room and wrench me out of sleep. Else she’d play music from her phone, carrying it in her pocket as she went along. Volume turned all the way up. Praise and worship in full swing. It got on my bloody nerves, to tell you the truth.

I didn’t like her perfume, either. It smelt like acid-dipped Aloe Vera. The fumes would hang in the kitchen like a dark cloud. The word ‘miasma’ springs to mind.

Eunice was SDA. She’d have Saturdays off, to go to church and the salon and wherever else SDAs go. Those days she’d powder her face, put on sunglasses and slip into some leathery heels. What was church without a little pomp, anyway?

One Sato she went and didn’t come back. Later she texted Mom and said she was at her uncle’s. She came back the next day, though, with a brighter face and a spring on her step. That “uncle” must have really made her happy.


Anyway, it’s been five days now, and since she left I’ve been tasked with house chores.

By nightfall my body feels like a sack of beans. I’m bone tired. I want nothing but to strip down and lie in bed, stretching my joints after putting out my back while doing the laundry. I was simply clueless about the work that goes into running a home.

Lately I’ve folded clothes, washed dishes, beat eggs, swept floors, scrubbed corners, chopped onions, diced tomatoes, rinsed spinach, peeled potatoes, hauled buckets, got stung by a bee while ferrying said bucket, boiled water, beat more eggs and accidentally dropped white lava on my foot.

You’d think I miss the help. I thought by now I’d miss riding the wave of Mom’s purse, putting my feet up every sunset, sipping a warm cup of coffee while someone else makes my supper. In the eyes of most folk I’m a spoilt brat, the poster child of shameless privilege, a lazy bag of bones.

But I hope Eunice doesn’t show up. While going about my chores I’ve found that, actually, I like to get my hands dirty. I’ve developed a sudden interest in cooking. I can make a mean beef stew. I’ve been using every bit of Eunice’s absence to learn my way around the kitchen. I’m even starting to wonder why we need a house help, especially since I’m capable of making ugali.

That fateful Wednesday Mom stood over my shoulder while I knocked the thing into shape. It was the first time I was doing it without any help. I stirred and flipped and stirred again. My bicep was screaming bloody murder, and the piece of cloth I used to hold the sufuria was heating up. Fat drops of sweat percolated on my forehead, and my toe was still smarting from a splatter of boiling flour.

Mom says it’s possible to know if the ugali is ready just by the smell and feel of it. But I prefer doing the wall test – smashing a bit against the wall to see if it’ll stick.

And then there’s the mukura, the underbelly, the part that sticks on the sufuria. I have cousins who swear by the mukura. They say it’s the best part about ugali. I’ve never cared much for the mukura. It’s just burnt flour, after all.

But that day I felt compelled to eat it. The mukura was the icing on the (African?) cake. So what I did, I grabbed a spoon and scraped every corner of the sufuria. I excavated all the crunchy goodness. I savored every crumb. I ate to my fill. I…

You know what? I’m out of breath again.

See you next Monday.
Follow Mike on Instagram: mikemuthaka

Call me Uncle
Finding the key

Comments (2)

  1. Aisha

    Hi Mike, I’m new here binge reading all your articles. I love your writing.

    • Mike

      Hey Aisha,
      Thanks for reading.

      And welcome to Craft It. Make yourself comfortable :-)

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Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

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