Mohammed Muigai LLP

CLERK’S DIARY

Dear Diary,

I am glad to be back at work. The holidays are a time for relaxation, for refreshment and for rejuvenation. But these are merely passive processes; they tend to occur naturally once the mind and body have been separated from the usual stresses to which they are invariably subjected by the routine demands of professional life. This holiday I felt that I could do more. I therefore took it upon myself to do some reflection as well. I thought hard on the many ways in which this life of mine might be of some benefit not only to myself but also to those around me. Then I thought, why should I stop there? If I can be of service to those around me, might I not be of use to those farther afield, and outside my confines? Would that not be a more rewarding life? I read Shakespeare, and was inspired by his line from As You Like It, where Orlando is quoted as saying, ‘I desire to do better by strangers.’ In my reflective mood, I found that very moving. I discovered that it is not only Shakespeare and I who are thinking along these lines. In the book of Leviticus, we are told that “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.” These passages and others which I hope to come across have awakened in me a whole new world of thought and of feeling. As you can see, Dear Diary, my range of sentiment is rapidly expanding. I am proud of this; I think I am becoming a better person.

The Court has opened up its doors again today. I was up early and looking forward to getting back right into the thick of things. As I was parking the car, I came upon a somewhat curious scene. Right outside my car there stood a young lady. She was sobbing. When our eyes met she wiped the tears which were now streaming down her face, trying to conceal her distress. Evidently, she was overpowered by emotion, for as soon as she had recovered her composure, she began sobbing again, only this time more uncontrollably than before. She was disconsolate. She did not say anything; she did not have to. Her melancholic silence alone seemed to me as clear a call for help as any. Why was she alone? I wondered who could possibly have been so ungallant as to force this nice young lady into such a difficult position, and I quietly cursed him. What happened to chivalry? Reflecting with a mix of nostalgia and disgust, my mind went back to the long lost days when a gentleman would rush to comfort her, to offer her his handkerchief, or a shoulder to lean on. Anyway, I then locked my car – locked it firmly, and proceeded directly to the entrance of the Court.

For today our young advocate is appearing before His Honour, and has been instructed to defend a road traffic offence. I happen to know that His Honour will be in an interesting mood this morning, hence my anxiety to see for myself how the case will develop. His Honour is a Manchester United supporter, and like many Manchester United supporters, His Honour has lately been suffering from what seems to me some form of depression, or from a painful case of reality. At any rate, he is suffering. Our young advocate was instructed to defend this case yesterday at about the same time that Manchester United was conceding a third goal, without receiving even the slightest hint of a return of that favour from the opponent, an opponent that His Honour does not consider worthy of a contest with his great team. Having just been instructed, our young man will need more time to prepare, and will therefore be asking for an adjournment, and it is a tricky thing to make such a request when the Tribunal is not in good temper.

Yet there is still another reason why this relatively minor case should draw my attention; our young advocate has fallen head over heels in love with the prosecutor. This has been the state of affairs from the moment he laid eyes on her. It was, as he said, love at first sight. Unfortunately, our young man, at first sight, is not in a condition to fall in love with. This is something that experience has taught him to understand. To fall in love with him, more patient methods are needed, and other faculties aside from mere eyesight must be engaged. So far, however, he has been met with nothing but failure. He has sent her flowers. The flowers were sent back; failure. He did not despair. In his imagination, such a gesture was too obvious. More subtlety was called for, and so he decided on the need for strategy. Naturally, he turned to the great strategists of history, to Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager, and to Jose Mourinho, and to Pep Gaurdiaola, the inventor of the tikitaka technique. He soon discovered that what works for the game of football, which is a team effort, does not work for the game of seduction, which is a solitary venture, and this failed too. He quickly dismissed the two prosecutors, her colleagues, whom he had recruited to plead his cause. They had proved useless. In any event, he had now developed serious doubts about their loyalty, and could not be certain that his interests would not yield to their own. After all, when did a dog ever deliver a bone to another dog?

But what if he should consider political strategy instead? The success of political strategy depends on the charm and charisma of the individual, does it not? And so, considering these advantages, he read Machiavelli’s The Prince, and examined the life and diplomacy of Henry Kissinger, and studied the methods of Raila Odinga, and discovered, again painfully, that political machinations do not move the heart in the same way that they move the masses, and the vitendawili and proverbs and parables with which he saturated her inbox were received as ill-timed, irritating and tedious; and this led only to more failure. And, unsurprisingly, to the blocking of his messages. What if he should think of this as conquest rather than seduction? His imagination warmed as he reached for his biography of Julius Caesar, the greatest military genius of all time, and Napoleon, the conqueror of Europe, and Shaka, king of the Zulu, and of Israel’s Mossad and Moshe Dayan, whence he learnt that it is by way of deception that thou shalt wage war. But again, he soon discovered that seeking to partner and seeking to conquer are ambitions which, in concept and in execution, are diametric opposites, and that the heart is not among the many things that can be subdued by force, and so this failed too.

Undeterred and unrelenting, he wondered if he might be complicating things too much. Perhaps simpler methods might be more appropriate. After all, in love, he is told, it is the simple things that count. So he resolved to keep it basic. Actions, he said, speak louder than words. He therefore sent her money on Mpesa. Here again we see the dangers that present themselves when a simple mind sets out to colonize a sophisticated soul. It is courting frustration. But this frustration is only a result of the difference between his aims and his achievements. What he should have realized by now is that his aims are the more adjustable, and that as soon as he should attend to those he should at last find peace. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and experiences teaches us, if it teaches us nothing else, that the heart wants most what it can’t have. It is true that actions do speak louder than words, but actions must be animated by a minimum of thought, and when, as here, the ratio of thought to action is uncommonly low, actions produce the same result. So it was therefore, as we expected, that the unsolicited Mpesa gift was returned forthwith, and this hopeless, unbecoming gesture thus added embarrassment to the growing catalogue of failures.

Our man had tried everything and failed. As you know, I normally care very little about his life of blunders. They do not disturb the tranquility of my spirit nor the regularity of my meals. But, I must confess to feelings of concern when I saw that his google search contained such inquiries as ‘how to make a prosecutor fall in love’. Nevertheless, he decided, when all else had failed, that he would make an impression where it would most count. He would show her, by the sheer force of his rhetorical skill in Court, that he was a worthy suitor. Such illusions may seem to us desperate, but our hero is not one to despair easily. His hopes were dampened for a moment when he saw his beloved greet the Court clerk with a hug, for it was a less than formal embrace. Nevertheless, he did not allow the agony of the moment to persist too long. Figuring that this can only be a sign that she is in warm spirits, and imagining that on balance, he was probably due an even warmer demonstration of affection, investing as he had so much mental and financial effort, he now saw in this unhappy spectacle, the opportunity he had long been waiting for. Suddenly, incredible though it seems to us, his hopes were revived. Moving while the iron was still hot, he stretched his arms out, closed his eyes for reasons which I could not Legal Pulse Check: Your guide to staying legally informed immediately apprehend, and politely asked if he too might be entrusted with a hug. This closing of the eyes, whatever its intended purpose was, only added to the strangeness of the scene. Nevertheless, the hug was denied, and he had to settle for the customary, if too formal, handshake. From that moment on, the Court clerk was his greatest enemy. The feeling was no doubt reciprocated, for now they were rivals. In the meantime, asserting his own authority and unable to resist his malevolent instincts, the amorous Court clerk had removed our man’s file from the top of the pile and placed it at the bottom. Our man would have to wait for his moment.

Such then was the setting of the stage, such the cast of characters, when I arrived in the Courtroom as the case was finally called out.

Rising to his feet, our man placed him hands behind his back, adopting a regal, imperial posture for effect, and to prepare us and her for a feast of eloquence. ‘Proceed, Counsel’, his Honour beckoned, without looking up. ‘Your Honour’, he began, in rather a loud voice, ‘They said it in Greece and they said it in Rome!!!’ His Honour, looking confused, quickly grabbed the papers before him, wondering what this is all about. ‘Your Honour’ he continued, this time a little louder, the tone more declamatory than conversational, ‘The rights of the people!!!!’. ‘Counsel,’ His Honour interrupted, ‘I see that your client’s accident happened in Ngara, is that correct?’ ‘Yes Your Honour.’ ‘So what are we doing in Greece and in Rome? I take it you wish to ask for an adjournment to allow you more time to prepare?’ ‘That is correct Your Honour’. Adjournment granted. ‘Thank you, Your Honour.’ Our man now had to excuse himself as he had another case in the Courtroom next door. Before leaving he heard His Honour mutter, ‘Greece, Rome, nonsense,’ under his breath.

Anyway, we rush to the next Courtroom just in time for our man’s case to be called before His Lordship. ‘Proceed Counsel’, says His Lordship before our man has had a chance to catch his breath. ‘M’Lud’, he commenced, ‘They said it in Greece and they said it in Rome……………….!!!’

Oh no

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