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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How Rampant Lawlessness In Kenya Today Started From The Top

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Yesterday a mysterious fire broke out at a primary school in Kawangware. Despite several frantic calls to the fire department and their assurance that they were on the way, they did not arrive until well over an hour when the fire had already done a lot of damage. The mob that had gathered around went berserk and started throwing stones at the fire engine and pelting the firemen with everything they could lay their hands on.

Most of readers pointed out quite correctly the inhuman manner in which an adulterous woman and her lover were paraded stark naked in the streets in broad daylight after being caught red handed in the act. (see photographs for yourself. Be warned they are quite explicit).

At the same time, we know that various private armies and terror groups have taken over parts of the country and have caused several deaths. Kenyans have forgotten about Mount Elgon but terror still reigns there. And closer to the city, there is fear and dread of Mungiki.

Then we have a leading daily newspaper, which on suspecting that their former crime editor was involved in some undesirable campaign against them, took the law into their own hands and had him arrested by police. They chose this path rather than file charges against him in court (if they had the evidence). It was mainly due to the hue and cry and protests by many of you readers in this blog that the matter was abandoned. But now it seems that Muiruri may be in trouble again after writing a letter to all MPs urging them to pass the media bill after saying one or two things about the troubles he has had with his former employers and some police bosses.

All this incidences are related (be patient and I will explain in a minute) and have something to do with mounting lawlessness in the country as we head to the general elections. There is genuine fear that if this is what we are seeing now, then we will need divine intervention to have a country still intact after the polls.

I talked to a police officer today and our conversation went something like this;


Policeman: If there was a place where I would go and return after the elections, I could have quickly gone there.

Kumekucha: Why? What shall we ordinary folks expected to do if you policemen, our protectors, are scared?

Policeman: We policemen are mere mortals like you and we can also be killed. What I will do on elections day (if we get there) is to vote very early in the morning and then I'll lock myself in the house the whole day.


Lawlessness starts from the top and has now trickled down to the common man. This is how it happens.

i) Highest authority in the land ignores court order and goes ahead to grab KICC from its; rightful owners. Available records clearly show that contrary to popular belief, Kanu the political party are the rightful owners of the building, which was built with funds organized for by the late Tom Mboya. This is just one example. On many other occasions the government has ignored court orders and gone ahead and done as they have pleased.

ii) Right on cue a cabinet minister becomes a law unto herself and harasses members of the press for making comments about a curious incident where she was carjacked while with a popular Catholic church priest at an ungodly hour of the night. The same cabinet minister pushes for the prosecution (obviously using her influence) of an alternative press editor who dared to publish a story in similar vein.

iii) A prosperous businessman who is owed some cash by another struggling small business bribes policemen at Kamukunji police station to arrest the person and lock them up without trial well beyond the stipulated 48 hours until their relatives can scramble around doing quick fundraisers to raise the debt which now also includes the hefty bribe given to the OCS. It is not good to owe people money that you can't pay, but this is a civil case and there are procedures to be followed before somebody can be committed to civil jail. They are ignored as the businessman is a law unto himself just as leading daily newspaper was a law unto itself sending policemen to arrest its' former employee, searching his office without a search warrant and with absolutely no evidence—only suspicions and bile potent enough to kill several hundred chickens.

iv) The same prosperous businessman has failed to pay his workers, especially the ones who worked on the unpaid job. But even after getting his money (the guy was a guest of the state at the police cells for about a week before the cash could be raised), he refused to pay his workers one of whom walks every day from Kawangware to the business premises in the Kilimani area to check whether his payment is ready. Ironically what the amount the poor Kenyan is chasing is triple what this businessman spends at a well known up-market watering hole (also in the Kilimani area) on a good Friday night. The worker tries to go to the labor office and several visits later is even forced to bribe the labor officer. The labor guys visit the businessman once and the matter ends there. They keep on giving false promises. It is not clear whether they were bribed or just intimidated by the businessman.

vi) The common man at the bottom of this vicious food chain takes every opportunity to be a law unto themselves because that is the example leaders are leading with. Nobody respects the law so how do we expect the common man to respect it? Why are we surprised when there is so much lawlessness in the country? Why do we even raise an eyebrow when wananchi stone firemen answering an emergency call?

Meanwhile every day we see monotonous, carefully packaged stories in the media that are designed to convince us that the police are winning the war against crime. Always the news clips are the same of gangsters gunned down by police, always with the same looking guns recovered. Right on cue the police commissioner tells us the same thing;

"We have identified the other culprits, we know who they are. My officers are pursuing them. It is only a matter of time…"

That's Kenya for you and a police force that is winning the war against crime amid rising lawlessness and insecurity.

Methinks that this is just window dressing to be used in election campaigns later this year to prove that the government has a handle on the situation. The truth, I assure you, you cannot handle.

The truth is that the battle and the war were lost a long time ago. And it all started at the top.

Why Is Hon Michuki bullying his youthful challenger?

The photographs Kumekucha feared to publish.

Horror of Kenyan with female sex organ sharing cell with men at Kamiti Prison

Are you a Kenyan? Do You love your country? Join in this noble campaign to change things. Do something instead of just complaining.

1 comment:

Phil said...

Chris, I have read here many positive proposals on how we can turn a new chapter for this country. The general readership is agreement that this country needs healing and change of management of public affairs. Respect for rule of the law must start at the top, but what if the law itself is applied selectively? Why the double standards? Why the inequalities? Why mete out such injustice on poor slum dwellers? I will tell you Chris, most of Kawangware can be classified as a slum area, and most of fires in slum areas are deliberately started in order to displace certain groups of people. The fire brigade and other emergency services take time to respond to alarms and calls. The anger of loosing all your earthly belongings is understandable. The rage of falling victim to political / tribal violence is certainly understandable. What chances do these Kawangware slum residents have in accessing legal services or seeking justice when you consider their economic status and political voting patterns? Same thing anywhere you see clashes!

I still maintain that this chnage will not come until Kenyans seriously consider voting for a candidate who will not have any problem facilitating constitutional changes as well as boldly putting back in order what has been a systematic destruction of our core institutions. Chris I know you will call this radical support - but please hear me out.

Various names have been put forward, eg. Githongo, Muiruri, Maathai, Lumumba, Musyimi, Orengo, etc. Some of them have actually attempted to be elected president with disastrous results. For this reason, I submit that none of these characters has the balls to take on the incumbent and beat them hands down - whether the election is called now or one year later. We have to look at our history and learn from it. Some of those people who showed courage to fight for multi-party system are still around the scene. Similarly, those people who wanted a continuation of single party are very much in the driving seat. Somewhere along the way, an observation was made that constitutional reforms were needed in order to fully democratize Kenya and the fight has yet to be won as we speak. In the current situation, if you asked me who among the present candidates can be the BRIDGE to bringing about the change that Kenyans want, I would not hesitate to name him.

In addition,..
- he was there right from the beginning, even before some of us were born, fighting for multi-partyism and expansion of democratic space
- just as he has been at the heart of the opposition just as he has also been closely associated with the ruling parties fighting for change from within
- he has been steadfast and patriotic
- he is widely loved by wananchi but deeply feared by the powers that be
- his vision for a new Kenya is refreshing and clearly depicts him as the bridge for kenyans to cross the Red Sea
- he respects diverse opinions and has had to embrace Kenyans from all tribes / races for patriotic and not political reasons
- has sacrificed his own ambitions to support those of other Kenyans whom many believed whould deliver change
- he is an acclaimed social democrat and a true freedomm fighter

That man is Raila Odinga. You may have all sorts of accusations against him, but please ask yourself first; who in this world is perfect? Also ask; who among all the present presidential candidates, including the incumbent and those proposed by your readers Chris, has the history, capacity, courage, honour, resources, public service record and a national constituency required to bring down the Kibaki regime at the polls? Apart from Raila Odinga, I honestly cannot see any other person who can actually be relied upon to meet the expectations the country in ensuring the real positive change comes to our land. I am not undermining or outrightly dismissing the qualifications of others mentioned before him, all I am saying without any doubt is that NONE of these alternatives offers higher chances of bringing that change. I know it might get to people talking about slums in Kibera or Kisumu Molasses plant, his ethnic origin or even his association with the Moi's, Kosgei's, Rutos and even Kibakis, Matibas, etc or his percieved political enemies in Nyanza Province, but I believe in order to obtain that change, we must rise above petty party politics / tribes and embark on accessing the reality as it is, the need for change and the odds against any of them trully bringing that change.

I am glad Raila has made inroads to many areas of Kenya and the misconception previously associated with him has been eliminated at the grassroots. The sooner bloggers here and ODM-K clolleagues appreciate this fact, the better it will be.

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