Friday, January 8, 2016
The main duty of law enforcement is law breaking. Right now the disciplined forces jobs are the reserve of the “elite” and security has little meaning, money is the arbiter of law breaking. That’s why I decided to leave my “well-paying” state security job to join the self-employed masses in one of our republic’s maximum security prisons because it wasn’t logical for me to obey the law in a system that sanctioned me to break it, a system where both crime and punishment are “baked into the cake.”

This is how it happened that I changed roles from being a state security guard to being a state guest at Kamiti Maximum Prison. 

I was not born in a home with golden spoons, but somehow someone forced it in to my mouth. A far away uncle from another genealogy bribed National Police Service recruiters at my father’s behest. Large sums he chunked, but he promised dad that the return on investment was guaranteed.

Despite my acquired desire to join the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to rid our city of the criminal gangs that enforced law better than the police, I ended up being posted to the elite Traffic Department. I belonged to the streets narrowing the crime margin, but my Assistant Inspector General of police uncle wanted me on the roads.

I was directing traffic at Westlands roundabout on Saturday 21, 2013 when al-Shabaab juvenile terrorists attacked Westgate Mall. I was the first to respond but no one saw me, the Recce Company hijacked the moment before KDF guys came in and deflated the Recce Company’s ego when the Somalia boots killed one of them. When they were vacating the building cussing, one of Recce boys saw me and that was my ticket from the roads where I couldn’t refuse to take bribes because my uncle’s accounting company was a dragon breathing fire on my back.

I joined the Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU). I went where the action was—Garissa. There, ATPU was the terror. Actually, there were no terrorists in Garissa. There never was. After months of looking for terrorists who always seemed to move ubiquitously in groups of hundreds but never caught, I was ordered to report to the ATPU headquarters. A fucking desk job! 

As the fight against terrorism continued, anxiety and paranoia in the population grew to fever pitch, but the real terrorists were treated with leniency and let out to terrorize the country repeatedly. The Inspector General directed that all tinted vehicles in the country remove the tint as one way of combating terrorism.  

A special ATPU team was formed to enforce the IG’s directive. I was not in the team despite my experience on the roads and my short stint hunting for terrorists in Garissa. However, no one obeyed the directive. Most of them were politicians and businessmen with links with State House. For them, this was a nuisance by the IG, uncalled for, a knee-jerk reaction that they couldn’t be party to. They wanted to fight it in court even when it was to make our country safe. 

Then one day I pulled a stunt. I joined the special team that was impounding vehicles with tinted windows. Having worked in Garissa where the police were the law, judge, prosecutor and executioner, I thought I could do whatever I wanted in Nairobi. I was wrong. 

The areas we patrolled only tinted cars were on the roads, but they were not impounded. When I asked why, I was told that the owners had ‘Movement with Tinted Windows Permit’ from the office of the IG even when I could see wads of cash changing hands. I decided to be the law breaker Kiganjo Police Training College told me to be.

I flagged down an all-glossy-black Range Rover Vogue. The driver stopped. He was a dreadlocked celebrity-wannabe kid with a scrawny modelesque girl passenger. I ordered them out, reached in the car, shut off the engine and walked away. 

“Hey, what the hell do you think you are doing?” he screamed at me with that Runda accent all spoilt rich kids put on.  

I didn’t say anything. I continued to walk on. Shortly afterwards, I felt hands on my shoulders. “Perhaps you don’t know who I am, but I have a permit allowing me to drive my tinted car…”

“From who?”

He fished a document out of the back pocket of his sagging trousers. 

“The Inspector General of police,” he said, smirking.

I looked at the paper. It was true it was from the IG’s office. It authorized the bearer to traverse the city (perhaps carrying terrorists) with his tinted fuel guzzler that the government had banned two years before. I looked at the IG’s signature and stamp, dazed.

I was supposed to be shocked, but I wasn’t. Everyone should follow rules, the law, but no one does. In training, the first thing they tell you is ‘don’t enforce a law that you can’t break’. 

The Inspector General of Police’s son snatched the permit out of my hand and demanded I give him his keys. Instead, I curled my right fist around the keys and said, “I’m not giving you the keys. You think the rules don’t apply to you? Come get your keys.” 

And I continued walking. 

And he did what he was told to do—he took out his cell phone, hit a button, and began speaking calmly into it. 

A moment later a police Land Cruiser with siren blaring screeched to a halt beside me. The other guys stiffened and trembled as the Assistant IG of police stepped out. 

“You have gone too far this time round,” my uncle said in greeting. “The IG wants your head on a pike, and I sure am going to deliver it to him.”

“Fine. I’m sorry. Perhaps I got carried away,” I said.

The IG’s son and his scrawny girlfriend looked at me contemptuously. I was not going to do what they were dreaming of though. 

“Come get your keys,” I told the top cop’s son. 

He walked over to me. 

I held the keys out to him, but when he reached for them I dropped them.

“Oops! Clumsy me…” I said and walked away.

I was charged with assaulting the IG’s son among other thirteen charges. And that, my friend, is how I ended up here. 


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