By Samuel Sebbowa Bunnya, Uganda
No one knew of Kitara’s true wealth and power. Not even the Xoza and Zunda knew. There were secrets that Kunda had always kept from the rest of Africa. He knew if he opened the borders freely like the white man and their free trade, Kitara would be overwhelmed by the greedy and hungry people. He did not want that. He only wanted peace for his people. He wanted to preserve their wealth, power and technology from the rest of the world.
The sky god Katonda had come down and the place his foot had touched had been blessed by a rich and vast mountain of the clearest, most durable and precious metal that his people called Zaabu. That metal had been the source of all their power. The tall buildings that dotted the capital Ganda were made from it. The strong armour they wore to battle was made from it. The unbreakable and unblunting weapons they carried were made from it. Even the rivers that run through Kitara were full of Zaabu that made their crops grow faster and healthier. It made their people stronger and wiser than the rest of Africa. Zaabu made Kitara great.
Zaabu must never fall in the hands of evil men, Kunda thought. And the white man has a great lust for evil.
Kunda knew that if the white man saw Zaabu, they would want it. They would try to corrupt the people of Kitara to get access to it. They would use their religion and trade organisations to try and take over Kitara. He had seen how the kingdom of Boma had fallen. He had seen the people of Benin become victims of the evil trade called slave trade. He had seen the Masai, the Vendi, the Oyo and even the Oul Lumbe had mentioned all fall to the whims of the white man. As long as Kunda was king, he would never let that happen to Kitara.
“Why not invite Ndovu and his master, Ngiire to see our land and propose a trade deal.”
“Ngiire in Ganda?”
“Yes your majesty,” Lumbe said sweetly.
“And how did you reach out to Ngiire of Oul?” Kunda asked.
“I asked one of the spies we have embedded in the Oul presidential palace.”
Presidents when they were once kings. “And on whose authority did you ask this of our man Kiwa?”
Kunda stopped his fleeting thoughts and concentrated on Lumbe. He knew the man. There was a reason the man brought up Oul. There was more to the story and Kunda wanted to find out Lumbe’s reasons for desiring the Oul trade deal that Kunda had refused for over ten years. He knew they would bring the white men among them.
“As the Councillor of African trade my king,” Lumbe said smugly.
“What does the law say of using the spies?” Kunda could not help the anger coming through his voice. “Was Osede informed?”
“And your sister the queen?” Kunda kept asking.
“So why bring up Oul Lumbe?” asked Kunda. “Why tell me this when you know you’ve broken protocol?”
“I think trading with them will help us,” Lumbe said. “It will help us know our enemy more.”
“Our wars have been finished,” Kunda said. “Our armies are strong and only get into action when we are forced to, not because we can.”
“That is the past sire,” Lumbe said. “We need to look forward. Soon our people will be many. Our land will be too small to feed them. The Zaabu we hold dear will not be enough.”
“And when that time comes, we shall see how best to ensure Kitara does not fall into anarchy,” Kunda countered.
“But would it not be prudent to see what they have that we could want?” Lumbe insisted.
“What do they have that we want?” Kunda crossed his hands over his chest. “Look around you Lumbe. Our civilization is far ahead of even these white men who support Oul and the other people in Africa that accepted them.”
Kunda was not lying. Ganda was the capital of Kitara. It was a vast city that rivalled the most technically advanced cities of places like America, France and Britain. The other cities such as Nyoro, Kole, Soga and Choli all made the capitals of the world seem like run down villages. The five cities were all built with Zaabu and brick. They were full of tall spires of sky scrapers that dared to touch the skies. The streets were made of the grandest marble, which wound its way to all important government buildings.
The villages and towns were smaller and the only things that resembled the white man’s great cities of London, Washington, Paris, Brussels and even Munich. Kunda could not fathom the idea of seeing weaker men and women think themselves capable of advancing Kitara better than its people.
“Tell me Lumbe, what do those white apes have that we did not have centuries ago?” Kunda could see the vein in Lumbe’s thick neck throbbing. “You see my dear brother, we are the secret of the world. Not everyone can know our secrets.”
“The world will catch up to us if we remain in the shadows,” Lumbe argued.
Kunda could not help laughing. “By the time they are where we are, we will be ahead. Do you think Bunya and his development team sit idly by.”
Lumbe did not dare to say anything because all around them were examples of Bunya’s works. Coucil man Bunya of the Research and Zaabu Development Ministry had been an asset to Kitara. Together with his team of men and women they had developed great machinery to add on the machinery of great arts men like Wanema and Achan.
Whereas the white man still used horses and carriages to move, scientists had discovered how to use Zaabu and the energy it stored to fashion flying vehicles of steel. The markets were full of precious metals like gold, silver, tin and diamond. The food markets had all kinds of foods, some of which Kunda’s ancestors had sent to faraway lands to hide the true origin of the foods.
Even the weapons of Kitara made the guns of the white man look like ancient tools. It was why Kunda was happy to let the world believe that Kitara was a small kingdom without any significance in the world. If the world saw the true might of Kitara, there would come a time when the world would want to destroy Kitara.
Better to be a great shadow than the goal of every soul on earth, Kunda thought
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