It was the ruracio of the year. The young man from Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County, was determined to make a strong statement.
His bride and her family and friends arrived at Ndhiwa in several choppers, while he — the Prince from Ndhiwa — arrived in style like the true prince he is; in a convoy of high-end vehicles snaking across the hilly landscapes.
That day, Jared Otieno would host his friends, relatives and, importantly, his prospective in-laws at his home in Ndhiwa in an occasion where the young man reportedly spent Sh15 million.
Months later, Meru town would come to a standstill when the Prince of Ndiwa paid a visit to his prospective wife’s home. You know the drill by now — not an expense was spared as Otieno went overboard to make an impression on his in-laws, the Mwitis.
HAND IN MARRIAGE
They would accept his request for her hand in marriage, and his efforts would culminate in the wedding of the year, in which no expense was spared and which was well-attended by several “distinguished” guests, as one attendee put it on social media.
Four years later, the whole country is witnessing the downfall of Jared Otieno, and a little bird tells me that this is just the beginning.
As I write this, Otieno presented himself to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), which has detained him for two days as detectives investigate his involvement in a fake-gold racket whose audacity knows no bounds.
For a long time, Otieno was the cock of the walk. It is common knowledge that he is not alone.
He is part of a notorious group of young men who live the high life, drive flashy cars and hobnob in private clubs with the who’s who, yet nobody can put their finger on what they do for a living.
They call themselves businessmen — even the media has a cute, libel-free name for them, “flashy businessmen,” but today we are going to talk the truth about Otieno and company.
It is time for us to call Otieno and his ilk out for what they truly are — and uproot these charlatans from our society before they do any more damage.
These young men are not businessmen. They are not entrepreneurs and I just wish my media colleagues would stop plastering their pictures in the society pages. They have not built anything, they do not have tangible businesses to show and they have certainly not worked for their money.
They are con artists. They are swindlers. Crooks and charlatans in suits and the sooner we put an end to this madness the better it will be for millions of Kenyan youth who look up to these imposters.
Otieno and his friends live on conning innocent people off their hard-earned money under the guise of selling them gold, and today, the chickens have come home to roost.
We need to not only see the likes of Otieno arrested, publicly shamed and their properties seized, we also want to see prosecution and have these lazy men thrown in jail.
If not for any other reason but because they have bastardised what it means to be successful. In a country where millions of young men and women wake up daily and put in an honest day’s work, the likes of Otieno have misled millions of young Kenyans on what it means to be successful.
We cannot allow fake gold peddlers, drug dealers and conmen to infiltrate this country to act as role models to millions of young and hungry Kenyans, most of whom have no jobs.
It takes one photo of Otieno and his friends in society magazines to plant a very dangerous seed in the minds of young Kenyans.
What is worse is that nobody seems to question the source of their wealth as these young men seem to be enjoying the protection of powerful politicians — some of whom have attended their weddings and parties.
Maybe it is time for some of our parents to put their greed and vanity aside and interrogate that flashy young man pouring money in their hands in the name of pricey dowry. There, I said it.
Let us never, ever, discuss the scum that is these conmen. They belong in jail, not in our society.