People of the Bird Excerpt 3

Chapter 10 - The Politician

Lupo Warina was not liked by everyone. That’s probably why many people referred to him as “Loopy”. Behind his back, of course. But he’d found enough people to like him to vote in his favour at the last two national elections. His seat was the electorate of Moi, which covered the area that was home to the Moiaimba people.

Some people noted that at the time of the elections there was more drunkenness in the electorate, and that Lupo’s supporters seemed to be well supplied with beer, and happy to share it. Others noted that some of the more remote villages in the electorate, particularly those that didn’t support Lupo, somehow didn’t actually receive their ballot papers on voting day and so missed out on casting their votes. There was an outcry about foul play of course, but it never came to a court challenge. So Lupo Warina became the Honourable Lupo Warina MP.

His home village was not Mambusu but a large village called Deria some two kilometers away. There was a rumour that the village had got its name from early French missionaries who felt it was a backwards place, but nobody really knew. It was accessible once the road had been extended past Mambusu, a project Lupo had spearheaded personally. It was a project that thrust him into the limelight and set him in good standing with most of the community at election time, and so secured his first term in office.

A man with plenty of ambition for his people, Lupo had also learnt that his position of power as a politician allowed him some scope for personal ambition. In fact, with a little bit of shrewdness, he planned to retire from politics as a wealthy man. Some might suggest this was at the expense of his people but he would quickly point out that it was a small price to pay for all the good he had brought to them. He considered it as his entitlement for all that he had done for them.

Others would call it stealing.

The Moiaimba people were well aware that their rivers contained gold. So it was inevitable that their Member would be the one who would seize the opportunities for the future and begin to look for ways to develop this gold resource. Over the last two years he had quietly made enquiries and built a network of contacts in an effort to realize the gold potential.

Six months earlier, during a governmental visit to several countries in Asia, he had secured an agreement with a South East Asian consortium to move ahead with a gold processing venture. The company had registered itself as Namel Holdings Ltd, with an operating company called Namel Mining Pty Ltd. It was this company that had now officially submitted its proposal to the Minister for Social Resources for approval – the same proposal that had landed on Secretary Kila Woro’s desk.

Namel Holdings also spawned some other companies, including one called the Namel Community Trust, which was to receive 15% of dividends from the future gold mine. This was to be a vehicle for disbursement of benefits into the community. In a deal to try and sweeten the acceptability of the project in the local Moiaimba community, the Member for Moi had persuaded the consortium to deposit two million US dollars into the Namel Community Trust account. Chairman of the Board was, of course, Honourable Lupo Warina. This, he assured the consortium, would guarantee quick approval of the project by the community, which would see its benefits immediately.

The Chairman then discretely formed a new company called Moi Futures Ltd as a subsidiary of the Namel Community Trust. This would be the actual vehicle through which Trust funds were capitalized on and distributed. If anyone had checked the IPA company records, they would have discovered that the sole shareholder was registered as Mr L. W. Udio. Udio was Lupo’s grandfather’s name. The Honourable Lupo Warina MP had successfully established himself a slush fund, and only his closest associates knew that Moi Futures Ltd even existed.

Mr Warina planned to use Moi Futures to lease village owned land that could then be leased back to Namel Mining for their development. This had been foremost in his mind when he visited Mambusu three weeks earlier.

But there was one other thought also in his mind. Mambusu and Deria had been traditional enemies and there was still some rivalry between them. If Moi Futures actually owned a large part of Mambusu land, it would be the ultimate insult for Mambusu - and sweet revenge for Deria!

Copyright © Michael A Jelliffe 2014