A satire on the traditional African gentry when their way of life is brought under mockery by the teachings and philosophies of The Son of Man. They have no option but to try him-even if they have to by hook or crook-in five different courts and still find him innocent. A transposition of the Son of Man’s final twelve hours.
The battle to silence a popular religious teacher hits the wall when he becomes unstoppably smart for the traditional elders and keepers of ancient faith.
There’s ploy using the laws of the land, which don’t incriminate him, and so they resort to use their religious influence to rally support from the judicial courts which also don’t have much jurisdiction on the matters religious.
There’s comedy, satire, and irony as they move from one court to the next with false accusations, relying on arm-twisting tactics and brute force of the crowd to force the Son of Man denounce his ‘novel’ approach to religion.
Finally the villains seem to triumph in getting their way, forgetting one thing, killing the messenger doesn’t stop the message from getting heard by the ears of multitudes. [I’m currently working on an ‘Aftermath of the Trial’ and you’ll find out how universal truth triumphs over evil—no matter how evil plots. Truth is bigger than ourselves.]
P6-14 Prologue: The Arrest and the First Trial.
“…SON OF MAN: (Turns weakly to his sleeping companions) in your weariness, you have yielded to the stupor that overpowered you. Come now, O ye and place hands tenderly beneath the head of your fainting and famished master, and bath that brow marred indeed sore than the sons of men. Arise now, O sleeper, that we may trod the gardens all over, behold the Second Adam prevailed. (They stir a bit one after the other)
Come sleep o sleep; the certain knot of peace
The bathing place of wits, the balm of woe,
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release
The indifferent judge between the high and low
MAKOKHA: (Half-awake, surprised, amazed, speechless) it’s not yet daybreak, is it?
SON OF MAN: So far, I have wasted my saliva on your account. I shall now formally cease to urge you the more. But however much I may let you do so, the Accuser wont’ allow you even forty more winks but force you to watch against your own wills. Besides, behold an exquisite setting is ready to unfold and some amazing scenes…
MAKOKHA: Oh, that’s you master. What is your wish?
OPPOTI: what is happening master? (Cell phone beeps) now who is this? (He gets the phone) peace be upon you brother.
PROFESSOR: it’s the Prof. and listen carefully, I am very sorry to be the one to break you this bad news but I’m obliged to do so since your master is in the most urgent danger. Your trustworthy confidant who’s n full possession of confidential or otherwise exclusive information has profaned the secrecy sworn by your master and reliable source sent me intelligence which the substance of it is that you must take cover and fly immediately (police siren is heard in the distance)
OPPOTTI: urgently and immediately? (Panics)
PROFESSOR: Yes! Urgently and immediately. The impostor who for a long time faked his friendship against you and your master smouldered ill against you and your master to the High Priest some minutes ago. I know no details of the scandal with which your master is levelled but I know that a very big warrant has been secured for you and your master’s arrests and to guarantee real fulfilment of your capture, the villain himself has volunteered to direct and escort the persons who are to seize you and your master. Things are hot, and I am reliably informed that judging by the big arrest party it seems like you people may have massacred a whole clan of police detectives of assassinated the Emperor of …(noise, sounds, commotion nearby)
KIPRUTO: Oppoti, let’s cover up!
MAKOKHA: the frog likes water. But not when it’s boiling hot! I am out of here.
OPPOTI: Listen let’s get cover.
MAKOKHA: Real Mr. Trouble is here. I am off. (he takes off but is met and nabbed by the big crowd carrying an assortment weapons)
GUARD I: softly sir, softly! You can run but you can’t hide. When you see a lizard, don’t run because you might meet the snake man.
GUARD II: you have the right to remain silent.
GUARD III: come out, step forward and raise up your hands.
OPOTI: dare arrest me..(wants to run away)
GUARD I: stop! Stop! (aiming to shoot) I’m going to shoot you. (MAKOKHA doesn’t stop) stop! I am about to shoot you. (he kneels and takes a close aim) stop! Now! I will shoot now… (OPPOTI raises his hands).
GUARD II: come out! Come out! Shut up your chatty mouth!
OPPOTI: I’ll slash your neck…
SON OF MAN: Peace be upon you all. We are peaceful folks. And you?
OPPOTI: yes! Identify yourselves before we unleash the dragon.
KIPRUTO: We’re schooled dot suffer anything in the cause of heaven.
OPPOTI: Upon my word, I’ll cut someone. Your orders are null and void.
GUARD III: that’s symbolically childish verbiage. I’ll teach you good manner. You forget that we live in a generation of the rule of law and order under an administration where it goes ill with the likes of you who resort to violence. Your warrant of arrest is here.
GUARD II: we have been sent by the order of the bearer of this warrant to bring to book those dissidents who spread propaganda against the government. And in that connection, will the impostor they call Son-ov-Maan step forward. Nice and slow.
SON OF MAN: then I am the one you want. (The CROWD staggers back in surprise) Let my followers go.
KARIUKI: (coming closer to the SON OF MAN) Greetings to you great teacher. (He embraces and kisses him passionately) peace be upon you guardian of teachers. (Appears to weep) and…may heaven preserve you…and bring to ruin all those attempting to commit injury to you…
SON OF MAN: Enough! Is this the recompense I deserve for my pains? I endeared to rescue you in pure kindness. Not satisfied with my generosity you detestably devoir to betray me and have the temerity to blunt my own benevolence against me. Heaven preserve you for threatening to bring ruin upon me. I also see my vain appeals to arouse your black conscience and touch your obstinate soul has not shown some dispositions to relent. Honour, fidelity and human tenderness has forsaken you. (Looking at the CROWD that is surging forward) My good man, do that which you are here. This is truly the blow whereby you finish me- the masterstroke of all your imagination. (The mob grows more chaotic, bolder as the two stop embracing, now they lay hold of the son of man, tie and handcuff him, OPPOTI rushes to attempt to defend his master only injuring one of the guards).
OPPOTI: how dare! (Restrained) let me…let me finish my small business with him…try me…
GUARD: hold on strong…(takes out a sword and a club and dances) we gonna fight, we go fight we’ll have to fight, fight for our rights.( he aims the club at the fleeing OPPOTI)
SON OF MAN: let the sword aside. The cup with which my Father bestowed upon me, shall I not drink it? In that case, how would it come to pass that has to pass and take place this way?
GUARD I: stop and shut your ugly gullet. (Slaps the SON OF MAN).
GUARD III: He’s mad! How he talks!
SON OF MAN: and you men in robes, the very custodians of the temple, didn’t your official dignity prevent your joining the crown in wild pursuit of me? What a company for you-all eager for excitement, armed with all crude weapons as if hunting a mad elephant! What a shame?
GUARD II: you have the right to remain silent. In fulfilment of my instructions therefore, I command the most wanted prisoner to accompany us forthwith to the High Priest where you are obliged to record a statement that will assist the authorities with outstanding investigation.
ACT 2 SCENE 1
[The accused SON OF MAN stands before the court of ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS, the head of the officiating Disciplinary Priestly Dynasty]
“…ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Does our Law judge any man before he is heard and determine whatever he has done?
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: With respect to justice, he is innocent until proven guilty.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: What then are the changes brought against him?
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Your Lordship, I am afraid that some of his records disappeared without trail from our files. But thank heaven, we’ve logged onto the website and came up with dossiers filthy enough to blind our innocent eyes and deafen our ears. Your Lordship, as we all know, this fellow is seeking to establish a secret society with the purpose of mobilising and setting up a new kingdom. He’s the very villain of instability and artist of insurrection, setting up himself as the king of Nations in opposition to Baba Africa, the most Illustrious one and only. A Scandal which has found too many critics and has been severely condemned then we would have even wished.
FATHER SCRUPLIO: And on our part, we hereby reasonably make a recognizable mention of him as a transgressor against traditions of Africa. A villain, who practices magic, scorches the works and words of the wise leading the people astray by claiming that he has come to add connotations and denotations to the law.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: His website also pointed out crime against religion. In his curriculum vitae he claims to be the Anointed and through his doctrines he teaches that he is the anticipated Emperor, the one and only Deliverer of Africa and thus being a blasphemer, addresses himself in slanderous language which requires that he needs probing, and like a tongue carefully examining a sore tooth, ascertain his guilt.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Proceed then
FATHER SCRUPLIO: The Priestly Executive Council had resolved that all men who preach must show unswerving loyalty to the Elders and The Most High Bishop. In my opinion, his Word of Truth Ministries has failed in that test. We have reliable information that they have thrown to the wind the law. [to SON OF MAN] You don’t observe the ceremonial washings, do you? And why do your associates transgress these traditions of the Elders?
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Son of Man, do you deny before these Elders that there is an implicitly illicit bond of union between you and your followers? Or that you recruited them secretly in the dark to conceal your designs?
SON OF MAN: Verily, verily I say unto you that whenever truth drives the soul home and is proclaimed openly, then the evil one stirs up cavillers to start controversy with the aim of perverting it. Therefore, you seek to attract attention from the bone of contention. Whenever a good work is established, there are flippants ready to enter into unwarranted propaganda over logistics and give it a false colouring so as to mystify and draw minds away from the truth and entice them with specious arguments and lateral thinking that will only ruin souls….
FATHER SCRUPLIO: Of course, being a masquerader, parables and sophistry has become your tools of trade. Son of Man, answer the High priest!
SON OF MAN: Of what you have especially accused me, I’m without a clue. But of the truth I shall relate I can summon more than one witness of veritable veracity for this is a deliberate and malicious exaggeration of the significance of my character. You have generally made it sound ridiculous and particularly the charge against me and my followers harbouring malicious intentions and hidden agenda, is only calculated at finishing me. I have spoken everywhere. I have delivered my speeches to all places. I have taught in the streets and the temple, mosques and spoken nothing secret. And by the way, why do you question me if you know what you claim to know? Question those that heard my slanders, see, they know best of what I spoke. Didn’t the priests sent spies to calculate inch by inch all my movements and report every utterance, blowing out of proportion without slighting the slightest reaction? Had not these [pointing to the crowd] been present ever at every gathering and subscribed to you the basic data? Ask them who heard me say until, behold they know all I did better than I could describe.
BISHOP TRANQUILI: [He has been pacing up and down during the SON OF MAN’S speech, and now enraged, filled with wrath, strikes him a heavy slap] is that they way to answer the Holy Priest? What is it that you aspire to excite this court with? Fanaticism?
SON OF MAN: You shall more command with your years than with your slapping.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: [Trembling with rage] what further proof…? we behold with our own eyes the most obstinate of heretics.
FATHER SCRUPLIO: It’s death you deserve.
Son of Man: What! Do you suppose that I fear death?
LENKAI: Don’t mek palaver so shru-up yo mout [slaps him] ya hia me? Be careful man wen yo go talk wid big man dere so. You cyan know his title?
SON OF MAN: For supreme good, torture isn’t praise worthy. I cannot but express my utter astonishment at such great barbarity towards me.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: And this is all the reply, which I am to have the honour of expecting?
SON OF MAN: I won’t stoop low and get provoked to utter burning words in retaliation. If I have spoken evil bear witness to it. Why let verbal confrontation get physical? Rise up above the place of magnificent stature of setting carnal with spirit force.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: I consider it ridiculous on your part to presume to such authority and dare to say such rubbish to my face. I insist on your holding your tongue lest you bring slander you wouldn’t find sweet either to swallow back.
FATHER SCRUPLIO: I would rather have his vile tongue hewed from his mouth.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: Yes your honour, just as the court has had the misfortune to listen firsthand to his antics, never did a man spake totally new and revolutionary against our ancient schools and formed religious institutions. He argues in an effort to initiate misconceptions and engage in squabbles that favour his doctrines, or to reveal the folly of his opponents by irresistible propaganda, as the press says, ‘striking Paradoxes, terse epigrams’ are the tools of his trade. It’s impossible to keep beyond his sarcasm, the insidious and pestilent, teachings and cheatings that are his characteristics.
He assails the Kulaks with sneer or jest while he confronts the educated class with scientific objections and rational reasoning alike to excite distrust and contempt of the priests and sport with the faith of our forefathers teaching them to regard him and the Almighty God by means of definite metaphysic declarations often put subtly in strange parables. Your honour, this son of Man has never made no deception too base for him to practice. There is no disguise too difficult for him to assume and about his fanatics there will be no crime too great for them to commit under their master- one of whom has bribed his way to there proceedings [ he points at SON OF MAN’S associate who enters-KIPRUTO] we cannot, at any rate allow the accused to hide behind the façade of religion so as to bruise shoulders with the law.
SON OF MAN: History teaches us that a person scarcely asserted forth a novel idea without having some appearance of impertinence and without being suspected of hair-raising feuds. Prophets of the old were put to death for they appeared the proud reprobates of the philosophy of the time and brought forth overnight projects prior to humbly deliberating the heralds of the immemorial credo.
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Your honour, may I call upon all of us peace-loving subjects to throw out these nonconformists sect? What are these heretics, by the way? A rebel of juggernauts, accursed preachers, dissolute monks, ribald ascetics teachers of law and third estate statesmen, together with the slipshod and riffraff with whom they’re deranged and bedevilled. How far distinguished to them is the holy office of traditional piety in correct opinion, right belief and religious number. In fact, our unanimous proclamation from this eminent gathering is qualified to instruct and point to the morals, admonish the insolent and settle the floating voter. We can also afford power to the figurehead, not using hoodlums to overthrow the established status quo.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: Lord bless you for hitting the nail on the head. We live under the rule of Babaa who is inimical to sedition. Babaa can read men’s heart and whom no impostors art deceive. The priests with the keen discernment of his lofty mind at all times perceive things clearly in their time perspective. Nothing, neither crawling under the sun nor swims under the ocean below, neither that inhabits in the North of Limpopo nor that dwelling in Southern Sahara can escape the firm constancy of Babaa’s judgment.
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Yes. Baba Africa. On men of excellence, he bestows indestructible resplendence but his good will is not extended promiscuously. His love for good and worthy men does not prevent a genteel abhorrence of those who are impostors. This fellow before the court could never deceive Baba’s keenest eye- able to perceive the most complex of artful lures and discerns to the brim the groundwork of the villain and as a notorious scoundrel, he has a long history of his superficial acts, which will fill volumes upon volumes of court records despite some of it being smuggled.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: All the consternation the mind can imagine is nothing to juxtapose with his roguish motives. That doom, omen or hell in it’s anger could produce a thing so contemptible as Son of Man. How then can we sit back, and as custodians of the ancient shrine, at the very evils that may blind our innocent eyes?
KIPRUTO: And with such artillery, the advocates of the veritable testimony in all ages have been hammered. The very weapons are still used to silence those who aim to direct the clear and unmistakable teachings of credo’s word as opposed to the established subterfuges and pure sophistry.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: I can’t help deploring your mission my good man. If I may say so I would have desired that, your endeavours had been more sensibly conferred. Your goons are not estimably graceful of your dispositions. Or would you have us suppose, things being what they are, your credence alone bring them thronging around you like flies to a garbage dump? Or that they desire to burn with sheer crave to heaven for your valour alone? People are not blinded by your artifices. Your stratagems can’t deceive the world at all.
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Don’t you blush to jeopardise the office of your dignity by transactions of this manner? To sacrifice your honour and reputation to petty infernal sink of iniquity and most notorious traces ever invented. Just for the pleasure of exciting quarrels? Shame on you. Mister…
KIPRUTO: …Allow me also to consent and expressly suggest to this court that it would do itself justice to concern itself less with people’s behaviour and stick more on its business. Should we not critically scrutinize ourselves painstakingly before censuring others? Criticism on our friends would be more striking if our own characters are commendable. You would do well also to let your court leave such things to those of us whom heaven has conferred the trust upon the liability.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: I’ve no clue why the self-style lawyer of the Son of Man, is elated or under what justification has he for talking ill of this court.
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: Perhaps he’s conceited by insignificant boast of defending his master.
FATHER SCRUPLIO: Why not moderate like your friend, the arrogant contempt for your elders. This is not the right place to display your incurable degree of arrogance. [ to the Son of Man] I warned you about the failure to denounce your sycophants especially this diehard; he would continue to damage your CV irredeemably. He’s full of nothing.
KIPRUTO: Then let’s break off from this double talk and stick to the rules of the game or it may render our composure too far from the trial…
FATHER SCRUPLIO: I observe, from the sarcasm of your speech, that my counsel, though granted wholeheartedly has wounded you abysmally.
KIPRUTO: Then why not in mercy forbear from attaching such obnoxious sentiments to the court. By the way, may we maintain this mud slinging with the same fervours as we have began…
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Don’t you drag such nonsense here. As I said, we prayerfully anticipate a king to be revealed. We know, by one flash of overmastering will change the current of men’s thoughts, securing his position and exultation forever and gratify Africa hopes, desires and ambitious. We anticipate that day we shall be supreme over the abhorred capitalists and monopolise the luxury and sublime wealth of the world’s magnificent empires. The poverty stricken slum dwellers, the slaves of Lady Poverty hopes to hear the assurance that their wretched ghettos and meagre resources, their puny life of insolvency and fear of want in banana republic would swapped for bonanzas in easy streets and days of inordinate pleasure.
The King will give them the bottomless purses of their oppressor man, for he will be stronger than the dollar bill. O Son of Man, if you showed [ carried away] the slightest propensity in that tendency [clasping his hands together] If you know what I mean, I could pull strings for you. I have influential friends whom I could solicit to use their affluence to your benefit and polish the way for you. [ visibly carried away stands and bows] I am wholly at your service I’m reputed to possess a distinguished esteem with his majesty. Should you consider to accept my offer and oppose our western masters, you are entirely assured of our support, to rally behind you and drive away the enemy, live peacefully in supra religious land of proud warriors in the ancestral savannas.
SON OF MAN: To speak the truth, what you propose is not the gratification I ascend to. All my reliance and inclination recline completely in another direction because I have no concern in transitory things. My trust and belief are turned heavenward. My wishes and longings are not to do with anything beneath heaven. And with due respect a good part of my mission is to bear all taunts, jeer, and persecution, and I humbly will do so. Don’t you see that my humble station does not augur well with political leadership? For that reason, you wish to condemn me as a scapegoat and with a pretext of justification; my ultimate execution at the end of this trial ought to come in haste. Spare me the preambles. You know very well that men out there will condemn your antics and pay me a new homage – an honour I couldn’t possibly get in a political office. My taste therefore is to stick to that position and humbly resolve to turn down your offer.
KIPRUTO: In the Kingdom of heaven, position is not bestowed as tokens nor reserved through favouritism. It is not assigned nor is it rewarded through an arbitrary gratuity. It is the result of character. The rightful possession of the Kingdom is subject to terms and a badge of clean record earns one a place there.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: You will become the leader of nations as we await the other Kingdom.
KIPRUTO: His kingdom isn’t flowered by demagogue elegance and earthly dignity. At his feet, all these highfalutin are consigned to oblivion.
SON OF MAN: I must ask you all to throw out of the window all previous assumptions about me. I am afraid that your hopes will be disappointed for it is founded on a misinterpretation of my character and the ancient scriptures from the Good Book. I only seek to establish in your hearts a kingdom of righteousness and peace. I’ve done my work not with the clash of arms and the overturning of thrones and dynasties but through speaking to the hearts of men by my life of mercy and self-sacrifice.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: And that’s your undoing, I am very disappointed.
SON OF MAN: I’m prepared to incur displeasure of you honour and even the wrath of men.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: You owe the court an apology, and explanation. Letting us down!
SON OF MAN: Why would I when worldly wealth and position have little appeal on me. Its tawdry glitter of materialism doesn’t dazzle me in the least.
KIPRUTO: On heaven’s evaluation, what is the greatest? It’s not what the world consider supreme; not hot money; nor distinction; nor patent of nobility; nor worldly wisdom esteemed models of greatness. If academic charisma, apart from any other sublime examination is honourable of credit then our ingenuity is attributable to the devil whose genius is unrivalled yet when abased to easy virtue, the greater the wisdom and power the greater the malediction. Odour of sanctity, conscious rectitude and generous kindness are the adjectives heaven prizes most.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Your doom is now certain.
SON OF MAN: Let it be known to you that notwithstanding all the hate and power of my enemies and my seeming defeat, I will ultimately triumph. It’s not simply that wicked men are rising up against me or that I’m not able to resist them-see beyond your short nose -for I am delivered for your offences. By the way-lest you forget-didn’t the Most Senior Priest even inquired to whom more fittingly than to you would be assigned?
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: [To other priests] what did the Most Right Priest say?
BISHOP TRANQUILI: It was cynical of him to suggest that it was expedient for the security all peace loving subjects that this fellow should die for the healing of the nation.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: For him these words were sheer political manoeuvre. The Senior Bishop has the right to his opinions.
KIPRUTO: But to a man of God I see in a fulfilment My Master would be put to death instead of the people. And you have found the stepping-stone, a formidable body of evidence in the face of it seems impossible to deny that the substitution of the Son of Man is one strand of your purpose. Your motive to eliminate him…
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Save your breath. Here is the verdict. After a careful and prayerful examination in the light of right standards and further taking into account all relevant factors and the major factors guiding this Court, the suspect has a case to answer which my court will not be obliged to take over for the accused may subtly defeat justice. I will recommend the tribunal. Any objection?
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Divine anger indeed has been denounced against him and his stubborn unbelief renders his doom certain. I denounce you in the name of the Lord.
SON OF MAN: I also denounce the denouncement and denounce your trade as caretakers of high interests.
ARCHBISHOP MAKARIOS: Heretic! I repent having pleaded with you for so long. I see that you are urged by the devil. And do not ask for more trouble. Leave the guardians of heavenly things out of this. In fact you are responsible for the sentence. As the earthly caretakers of God himself, we hold the keys of heaven and hell. We have authority to pronounce tempered and as well as spirited sentences. Look at Rift Valley all smitten with excommunication because of you. Now the gates of heaven have been barred against all Rift valley because of your association and until it should please The Most Senior Bishop to lift the ban, the dead will be shut out from the abodes of bliss. You have no heaven if you don’t turn back to us for help.
KIPRUTO: He has no case to answer. Justice is one his side and yet you aspire to make loose it-thanks to your straight treachery of you bigots whose love of scandalous history are famous and almost at all costs must prevail. Honesty goes down before your vice.
BISHOP TRANQUILI: Shut your accursed gullet! We need not listen further to your hullabaloos
FATHER NUMANTILLUS: The Lord of Misrule shall be cut to size. He’ll be de-created and you’ll be useless—perhaps even less than useless.
——————— [EXIT] ————————-