Why Kenyans should be allowed to police the police

Sunday, December 8th, 2019 20:54 |
Roadblock corruption.

At some point not so long ago, I had a healthy respect for the Nyumba Kumi policing initiative. 

You know the outfit? Its face is indefatigable former Provincial Commissioner Joseph Kaguthi. He is my good friend. And he means well for this country.

We all thought the idea was swell. So did I. After all, Kaguthi told me sometime not so long ago that in areas where the initiative was working, crime had gone down some 65 per cent or something like that.

Then some wag posted on social media that he liked the idea of Nyumba Kumi, especially because its members’ meetings rotated among the local community.

That meant supper at his nine neighbours for some nine occasions until it was his turn.

Then he developed some sudden ailment and informed his neighbours that he got sick while travelling to see his ailing uncle out of town.

He surfaced promptly the following Monday to resume having sumptuous suppers at neighbours’ houses for another spell. Call it good fortune. I call it bag of tricks. In fact, you wished Nyumba Kumi would become Nyumba hamsini. 

But that is a story for another day. I was telling about policing. I love the idea, especially as one of the things I might in the not-so-distant future join when I retire from punching a keyboard for a living.

When the country’s top cop Hillary Mutyambai got his plum job, I did write to him and I recall telling him his bunch of boys and girls included some pretty rotten chaps. In case he has forgotten, we will jog his memory.

Oh, heck, forget about jogging his memory. Let us just remind him a few things. His boys and girls do enough to keep him awake half the night.

And I do not mean the honest-to-God fellows who put their lives on the line to keep you and me safe as we snore our problems away.

I am talking about cops such as that enterprising one from Makueni, who stole a police Toyota Land Cruiser.

Now that is one chap who has been watching too much television. Maybe, he was an avid TV watcher in the days of Walker, Texas Ranger on KBC not so long ago.

You see, this chap, straight from the Administration Police department, which is in the process of being swallowed live into the regular police, thought the police service has too many vehicles lying around for no other reason than to collect bribes and protection money from pubs that are not licenced, or even those licenced but need “protection”. Especially at night.

He came up with a brilliant idea, to steal one, have it repainted, remove the GK plates and Bingo! He would be ready for business.

Long story short, the chap whose imagination got the better of him was arrested and the vehicle recovered.

As this chap was cooling his heels, locked up by his erstwhile colleagues, Nairobi governor Mike Sonko was being arrested, for entirely different reasons.

But my attention was caught by a cop, who appeared to have pick pocketed his senior during the arrestbrouhaha,with Sonko as the star of the show. (By the way, why won’t Sonko wear vests?)

So, in the space of a few days, a cop steals from his employer and another proves his dexterity in pick pocketing. Isn’t this the stuff movies are made of?

Think of the blockbusters that could be scripted from these two incidents.

As I mull the drama, consider this. Between the civilians and the police officers, who should teach whom good manners? In other words, who should police whom?

If you ask me, it is time hawk-eyed civilians such as Yours Truly and other like-minded and public-spirited wananchi were allowed, by law to police the police. They have grown too big for their boots.

So, next time you see me in town arresting a police officer, complete in his regalia, wonder no more.

I will gather all the authority in my voice and bark, with a little menace: “Hold it right there, officer!

You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, and whatever you say could and will be used against you in a court of law. Please co-operate”.

With lots of gusto, I will then frogmarch him to the nearest cop station, holding him by the seat of his pants. You know it? It’s called kishiko cha kinyoriro where I come from.

Have a brouhaha-free weekend, folks. – The writer is Assignments Editor, People Daily

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