Tuesday, October 05, 2010


I come from the side of town where muggers get mugged. It is also the side of town where if you were caught in an alley between the cops and robbers, you’d rather side with the robbers because at least with them you know what to expect. While I could go into a lengthy diatribe about the strained if not openly hostile relationship between the population and the police force, I will suffice to say it is complicated. Sauti Sol’s ‘Blue Uniform’ was an apt representation of what we have to go through sans the happy ending and with a lot more heart ache.

The top brass doesn’t inspire confidence when the head of the police can also be tasked with delivering our mail. That’s Kenyan multitasking for you. After years in the army and police, of course the post office was the next step in Hussein’s natural progression. About the new guy, Matt, well I have no idea what he is usually talking about. He decided to adopt some sort of foreign dialect that I haven’t cracked yet.

In light of recent incidences, it seems like the police is out to shoot itself in the foot. One of many that has rocked my world of late are all the bombs being found around the city. By the way what’s up with that? I figure those are Kenyan suicide bombers who stepped down so that investigations could be carried out. It’s the new trend.
Anyway, as per procedure, the public was kept at bay. Something about our collective nature draws us towards trouble as Kenyans.

‘Oh there’s a bomb there? Lets go check it out?’

‘Ati Tom Chomondley shot someone? Tuishie tucheki. Unangoja?’

‘Nakumatt is on fire? Lets go shopping!’

Yeah so we aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.
Sirens blaring. Then total silence. The throng parts and there is a collective breath held as the experts arrive. The bomb squad. We are saved. The scene is reminiscent of a number of Hollywood blockbuster movies if you subtract the good looking actors, great background music and slow motion walk. Then it all falls apart. The ‘experts’ start hitting the bombs and posing with them for the cameras and public. I actually sat there hoping one of them would go off just to surprise them.

Speaking of Hollywood they are to blame for the bad image we have of our kops (Kenyan cop). They’ve made us believe in fickle and outrageous things like evidence, investigations, rights and the law. These things are about as real to us as the concept of ‘free oil’ is to residents of Sachang’wan1. Dusting for finger prints and getting witnesses are luxuries that we can’t afford as is fighting crime. But you can’t blame them. It’s like a pall bearer getting a single wish and hoping that people would never die.

I love those little interviews they get on the news where some OCPD will explain how the ‘nthungs’ (thugs) and the ‘my mboys’ exchanged fire and we managed to recover sixty rounds of ammunition and investigations are still underway. In the background, the kops float around trying to get their fifteen seconds of fame.

The most interesting thing about being Kenyan though is that given the right circumstances, anything you do could be illegal. It all depends on which kop was around to witness it. That’s why investigations are ongoing for the incident where the Embakasi MP was caught on camera with his ‘fist continuously getting assaulted by a guys face’ or the fact that a certain Kamukunji MP is on a mission to beat up every Nairobi resident. The police probably have suspects for those crimes in custody waiting for confessions. This is Kenya. It could happen.

1 comment:

  1. Two years later and those same experts were on tv the other day, still hitting bombs.

    This was laugh out loud funny. Thank you. My day is now complete.