In the village of Nenemaaje, in the hinterland of Moofingduu, there was a problem of Alkalooship. For decades, they struggled with the difficulty of finding one among them honest and scrupulous enough to head the village in a manner that will change the lives of its people. First, they had an Alkaaloo, Keejang Meeta, who ruled over the village for a long time. In fact, it is said that he was there for almost thirty years; yet, the villagers were not satisfied. Admittedly, during his reign, the village was peaceful, and people went about their business, hard as it was.
It was because of the longevity and the difficulties the people were facing that one disgruntled palace guard forcefully removed him from the village throne. This disgruntled palace guard was called Keejaw Warata. He came with a lot of promises to change the way and manner in which the village was being run. He promised that form henceforth, everything will be done in the open. There won’t be any secrets and the villager will know exactly what was going on. To add to all those promises, he displayed the longevity with which Keejang ruled as a sign of greed. Thus, he proposed that there should be a rule that no Alkaaloo will overstay on the throne. This was welcomed by the villagers and so they all supported him in every possible way.
However, it didn’t take long for Keejaw to also begin to show signs of greed and thus used his Council of Elders to change the law that purported to shorten his reign. He made it that he could rule for as long as he pleased. He had some people who were so betaken by his charms that they started proposing that he change the village into a kingdom and become the founding and abiding king. For them, he would rule over the village until his son came of age and take over.
Keejaw thus felt the praises and his head became swollen with pride. He began silencing anyone who wished to oppose him and started jailing and even killing opponents, real or perceived. A time came when no one in the village dared say anything about or against Keejaw. Many of the villagers ran away to other villagers to either escape persecution or avoid the economic strangulation that had overtaken them. The village became isolated as other villages saw it as a backward village which was under the control of a madman.
The villagers mustered the courage to oppose Keejaw with the intention of choosing another Alkaaloo who will take them to the Promised Land. They came together, threw away their differences and saw the village as being more important than all of them. In fact, many saw it as the last attempt to salvage a village which was on the verge of destruction. Some villagers even lost their lives while trying to ensure that Keejaw was ousted.
Finally, the villagers cast stones (that was how leaders were chosen in the village), each villager would cast a stone in the name of the person he wished to be the Alkaaloo. They cast more stones for Suntukung Koyoo than they did for Keejaw. Thus, it was the turn of Suntukung to rule as Alkaaloo of the village. There was great joy on the day of the casting of stones. Poems were written, songs sang and there was all night dancing.
Initially, Keejaw refused to leave the throne and hand over to Suntukung. But then the neighboring villages sent delegations to come and talk to him to leave. When those delegations failed, they had to send all their guards together to force Keejaw to leave the village palace. The struggle was bitter but, in the end, Keejaw was compelled to leave and go and live in another village as a fugitive.
The reign of Suntunkung began in high note. He was liked by all and even the other villages in the region were ready and willing to support him. He traveled from village to village meeting other Alkaaloos and seeking help from them in order to develop his village. They helped and promised more help. Meanwhile; the villagers were now free to air their ideas and even express opposing views to the rule of Suntukung.
Then, there was trouble in paradise as the villagers watched Suntukung make blunder after blunder as he was a novice in leadership. But that was not the problem, the problem was that he was becoming arrogant and didn’t seem to care what the villagers were saying. He ignored most of the calls to do better and improve the lives of his people. His Council of Elders were initially doing a good job. They checked many of the quarters in the village to ensure that they were doing what they were supposed to do. Many observers praised them for that.
It was therefore unfortunate when it was heard that Suntukung was calling the members of the Council of Elders and giving them ten bags of cowries each. This, it was surmised, was to seek their support for certain things he was doing or going to do. When that scandal broke, it was actually revealed by one of the members of the council, the courtiers in Suntukung’s palace denied it flat even though some of the members of the council of elders had already admitted in public that they had received the bags of cowries.
Th town criers were following up on that scandal and they wished to see that all those who were found to have done something wrong would be brought before the people. The problem was that, according to the tradition of the village, it was the Council of Elders who should call Suntukung and put him right. But now that he had been giving them bags of cowries, would they invite him to their Council?
To be continued…