Which one is my father? Do you really want to know who your REAL Father is?

Clemo was a class behind me in high school and one of those uppity fellows that I never quite got to either love too much or understand entirely.

The chap’s pocket money never seemed to run out and on top of his stunning good looks, had a wicked sense of humour.

These combined to ensure that he always had a little crew (nowadays called the hommies?) in tow around the school. He also had a way with ‘baibes’ who were his to pick from whenever the girls’ schools came visiting for debate or whatever.

And wasn’t Clemo talented! He was a leading actor, articulate debater, and basketballer and pioneered the setting up of the school’s rugby team. Then to top it up, he always ended up amongst the top performers in exams.

What more could a guy ask for?

Beer perhaps.

Clemo took to the bottle early on and would regale us with his weekend escapades about tipple and girls at the clubs that he frequented. Occasionally his parents would let him host a bash at their house for the hommies when they traveled upcountry or abroad. This made Clemo ‘The Tough Mohine’ and quite popular. And the rest of us quite ordinary.

After he passed his high school exams, his dad enrolled him to some college in England to study law. And so he disappeared from the scene for a little while until news started filtering back that his drinking had gotten out of hand.

Indeed, before a year was through, his dad shipped him back and no sooner had he arrived than we received the shocking news that Clemo had taken his life after a row with his dad. As we later learned, his dad was not his biological father but had taken him on after marrying his mother.

Apparently, Clemo’s divorced biological father was very much alive but a drunken never-do-well. On his return from England, his enraged step-father let go all manner of vitriol on Clemo, whom he could not fathom following in his real father’s ways. Not after all the effort he had made to give him the best that money could buy. Apparently when Clemo’s mum remarried, he was still a toddler and they made a pact to never tell him his real roots.

Clemo’s death left many of us in emotional turmoil for quite some time.

I tried to imagine myself in his position when the brutal truth was thrown at him and I shuddered. Had this man who had brought me up and lavished me with all the things I ever wanted been faking his love? Why? Why tell me now? Is my drinking the excuse for his hate so as to abandon and disinherit me now? What will my friends think when they learn that my real father was actually just a useless village lay-about? Can I face the poor vagabond that is my father and live with him? Can I continue living here flaunting another man’s prosperity when my own father probably scrounges a living at market dumps?

And mum, why did she let all this happen without even a word? Are they telling the truth now?

His burial ceremony was brief and intensely emotional. People were shaken, tearful and quietly went their separate ways. As if silently asking themselves who their fathers were.

So, do you really want to know who your father is?

While it is easy to find evidence to prove that your mother is who she says she is, it may not be so for the man who claims to be your father. For although paternity matching by DNA analysis has been around for quite some time, it is only now being made locally accessible by CSI Kenya Limited, a forensic company set up recently in the country. For a fee of about Ksh 20,000, they provide a kit with which to obtain a swab from inside your mouth and that of the putative father. They then dispatch the samples to their affiliate laboratory in the US from where match results are sent after a week or two. A fairly simple exercise that should definitively put to rest the question of who your father is.

The forensic kit from CSI Kenya can also be used to provide indisputable evidence against suspects in rape cases. Hoping cost will not be prohibitive, the kit should find widespread acceptance although on the legal front it is not clear whether the rules of evidence admissibility in our courts will accommodate the use of results obtained from CSI Kenya.

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