I do realize that it is that epoch in time when words are thrown around and mindless hoopla has taken over the place where reason used to be. Friends become enemies of ideology and in some places, enemies for life. Campus has become inundated with factions of political quacks diagnosing trends and prescribing solutions, sometimes half-baked. It is not uncommon to find pockets of guys gathered in a circle, congealing plots in shadows, betting on the next governor of Nairobi. Occasionally turning their heads when that girl with a bright future from behind passes by- briefly changing the topic to the diameter of her rumps. The air is generally a festive ridicule, and I cannot help but be sucked in. So, if you are the kind that will ignore the tsunami of political euphoria then feel free to open a new tab and check out the new Valentines offer by Mocality. The red letter day is a fortnight away anyway.

Mavulture Behind Bars

That said…

I have always alluded to the incident when a gang paid us a courtesy call and made away with everything with a wire and remote control. That was three years ago. But that was just the last time they came. The first time, we were still new to the new neighborhood. They were petty thieves then- nothing that would bother the attention of the men in blue from Kondele Police Station. They simply took a mattress or two, a few plastic plates, a spoon, and perhaps a sofa cushion. I bet they traded these items for a mug of cheap brew from the local watering hole. No statements were made. My mother thought it was too petty to report.

“Just a bunch of drunkards looking for an extra jug of chang’aa,” she said.

It would last five years before they came back. Now more tactical and more motivated. It was end month early 2010. And of course Njaa-nu-worry was scratching everyone’s conscience. Her tenants here in Nairobi hadn’t paid up, so naturally, it was time to make that much needed impromptu knock on the doors of the defaulters. Back home, she left her nephew from ocha who was at the time visiting. She knew that he was a lover of the devils piss- especially the kind served used up Blueband and Kimbo tins. What she didn’t know was that he was the kind that everyone at the honky-tonk wouldn’t fail to notice when he hit the ‘club’. All Oricho and his gang of thieves had to do was get him drunk to a stupor, carry him home and then effortlessly carry everything away. The oenophile probably fart himself awake, and the echo of an empty house brought his attention to the old fridge stuck on the doorway. The telly, gas cylinder, DVD player, VCD player, new fridge (together with all the food in it), wall clock, calculator, air conditioner (fan), computer, and anything else that uses electric energy was gone! Lost in thin air like the drunken fart that woke him up. He woke up to a hollow house and wet, stinking trousers.

Reports were made. Statements written. Investigations instituted and a manhunt for Oricho began. The entire works. Needless to say, Oricho has never been before any magistrate or judge for that robbery. He is not even at large- he rests at home, occasionally dropping by the mama pima’s place for a jug or two, as he prowls for more drunks staying with land ladies who are away.  In the meantime, that case was swept under the rug as one those night’s details forever lost in the fog.

So you can only imagine the disgust I have for thieves- petty or professional. The anger that boils in me when I see Oricho or any free robber walking around like nothing is wrong. Growing up, the society had two ways of dealing with these social outcasts depending on where they were caught. If it was in a market place, they were extended the same courtesy as witches- i.e. burned alive in the open. It’s like a tyre, kerosene, and match sticks were always on standby somewhere waiting for someone to cry “Mwizi!” If it were anywhere else, say, in the estates, they would be stoned to syrup and then thrown into a dump site for worms to chew up the remaining speck of life lingering in him.

However grown I am I still wish that Santa would grant me one wish- to be the one to set fire on Oricho. I would gladly watch him ablaze in hell fire and smile as he gets consumed in it until he is very dead.

Last week, I received a call from a mate named Joe about a thief having been caught breaking and entering a student’s room. The fury I have harbored for Oricho came crushing back in. I left immediately for the custodian’s office where he was being held, hoping that someone had already fetched the tyre, kerosene. I had a matchbox already in my pocket.

By the time I got to the office, a mob of angry students had already gathered. I smiled, and looked around for signed of a used-tyre. There was none- much to my frustration. However, Joe and a few agitated goons and goonesses were already demanding his neck. Some, like me, were previous victims of theft; some were victims of unfriendly exams. The rest we aspiring political candidates in the forthcoming SONU elections putting up a show. Whatever the inspiration, they were united by a common need for a pound of the thief’s flesh. And honestly, so was I.

Fearing for his office door, the custodian placated the mob’s rage for blood by bringing the crook out. Joe and Mark (the second year SONU goon) descended on him with showers of bare knuckle right hooks, kicks. The goonesses urged them on. “Apigwe! Hata mimi alitaka kuniibia ile siku.” Angie (not the one from PINK RIBBONS!, another one) shouted his mother’s nether regions and giggled at his misery. I really wanted to shout “Omera Joe wapi tile!” until I finally saw who, or rather what, was being beaten.

It was Kipng’etich! Man, I knew that guy. He once approached me with some pantomime about his elder brother having brought him from Kitale but he had lost his way home. Paulina came into mind, and I gave him 100 shillings to find his way back home. He was a short baby faced man, probably in his early twenties with an apologetic voice. He never struck me as a liar- much less a thief. I remember feeling sorry for him that day, because his body and politeness sold his story pretty convincingly. I even recall offering to call up his brother, but he said he hadn’t crammed his number.

But now, Mark’s mass was heavily weighing down upon him and Joe dutifully dispensing mob justice upon him. All the fury I had earlier retreated. My goon instincts gone. I felt my animalistic sensibilities diminish into oblivion and suddenly I was human again. I found myself yanking Mark and Joe away.

Long story short, Kip was kept away until he was rescued by the police. He was safer in the system than in the hands of Mark and Joe.

This story is what enthuses the disclaimer above. While we may be so fast to put a tyre on Kip and Oricho, bent on destroying their lives and sending them to nigger hell, it would also be prudent to take a step back and really dissect the problems here the same way we do to our politics.

Kenya is a rich man’s vision and a poor man’s prison. Colonialism may have long been buried  and we are no longer slaves, but we sure aren’t free. My friend Kip here is a slave. He has been chained by the shackles of poverty that is slowly chewing up our social fabric. Of course that should not be an excuse to con me or steal but still, Mark, stoning him to death is like slashing a weed. If you have done a bit of farming, you would know that weeds are supposed to be uprooted, not slashed. Otherwise, they grow right back again.

Going by his name, Kipng’etich is probably not from Kitale. Ama niaje Wafula? But if his accent is anything to go by, he is probably a henpecked husband from Nyeri looking for refuge here in Nairofi. Or a loving father and honest husband of a family somewhere in Mathare simply  trying to win the bread. But since we live in a beautiful country in which ugly souls push the buttons, he has been forced to feed his family the only way left.

He is a snapshot of the many Kenyans whose arms have been twisted into crime due to lack of jobs. Why? Because the people who are sitting on mountainfulls of wealth are busy hogging the headlines with their eccentricities. They are spending 26 billion campaigning for yet another opportunity to amass more for themselves in order to try and quench their insatiable thirst for riches.

These are the thieves. They are the ones hanging onto acres and acres of productive land, and in turn turning honest men like Kip into criminals. They are the drug dealers legislating narcotic laws today. They are the masked directors of mafia groups like the first ever First Family, and land buying companies like Mbui Kamiti that are selling land like it’s a item for breakfast- using receipt books. They are the gangsters that are now asking to govern the GDP of our capital city using cooked degrees shipped from a River Road in the Far East. They are the silver tongued with devils hovering above their heads like a curse. Mashetani.

These are the seeds of discord that have grown into weeds. They are the ones that should be uprooted. They are the ones that deserve a kerosene soaked tyre around their waists. Mark and Joe, these are the people that deserve the wrath of your anger. Kipng’etich is simply but a victim of very unfortunate circumstances. Perhaps Oricho too. I don’t know. But I know that we have been angry at the wrong people for far too long.

It is for these people to stew in their own fat. Then maybe time will come for the smaller fish to fry.

Good people, let us empower the Alibaba of our time to crack his legendary whip on the forty thieves. That is all I ask. We all know who that really is. He is the young man on the nine o’clock news with a kitendawili.

My words may be meaningless drivel some. Mzalendo may call it hate speech. But words I still maintain that words will always give means to meaning and for those who listen, the enunciation of truth. And even though I cannot dictate how some may think or say, all I can do is determine the tone they use.

It is not yet Uhuru. Probably never will be.

P.S: I have left the typos there for your enjoyment and delight…

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17 Comments

  1. Magoon leo I preserve my comments for various reasons!! But its a dope read kama kawa… Couldn’t agree more with most of it.

  2. Regina Mariposa on

    This should be published in the Kenyan newspapers so to enlighten the ignorant ones who intend to vote for thieves AGAIN!!!!!

  3. LOOOOOL! Am I guessing right who you voting for? haha!
    You make me wish I was in Parky but… Issorait.
    That aside… tht was entertaining and still relevant, Good work.

  4. Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! I love the way you incorporate humor with lies! Your story is as funny as the falsehood it propagates!

  5. Izzoh Yule Mbaya on

    Asi!! That’s a great piece and I like reading yo articles- a hell lot.Caveat – In the future do more of that top of the art humor and avoid political sarcasm #justsaying #preference

  6. You are a goon alright. Nice piece… except I do not agree with you giving excuses for criminals. Times are hard for many of us but there are people in more desperate situations who sweat honestly for that elusive cent. Fish is fish, big or small. I say fry them all.
    P.S. I don’t support mob ‘justice’

  7. this is a really gud piece George, bt i think you should always be neutral in such matters, never really state your opinion. Leave that to the imagination of your readers. It will show that you are objective.
    That way you will always look like the good writer you are.

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