From media reports to anecdotal evidence, it is clear that Kenya has descended into a kill-and-take-the-head jungle, where one can behead you for some Sh500 or my Nokia 1100 phone from blood soaked pockets.
The other day, while minding my own business in Nairobi’s CBD, I was almost mugged around the Kencom bus stage in broad daylight. This follows another horrifying experience when some young boy with his legs halfway in the grave, courtesy of marijuana and half-baked Githurai brew, made my phone his. It is sad that the other day, police officers held me captive after learning that an expose I was working on could rub them roughly. So I was in CBD.
Tuesday. After a meeting with my editors at Kimathi street, a group of young boys in fashionable pencil trousers and color-treated hair suddenly changed their minds on where they were headed and began coming closer to me as if I resembled someone they know, to say hello.
You know, I am not a very brave man when I have money. (I had several fifty shilling notes worth sh. 850, and coins making sh. 160) my hair, being sensitive like a detective, stood like quills of a porcupine. To call what I felt “terror” is an unforgivable understatement.
My legs, as folklore may have informed you, are not what they used to be, especially after fracturing them severally on the playground. Nevertheless, I sprinted towards Mama Ngina Street as if I had seen ghosts, thieves, shouting in several languages. I now understand that truly, God can gift one the ability to speak in tongues.
I was not wrong on these apparently rich young men’s mission. Get this clear. I do not have enough brains to claim to be a theorist, except as a stale joke in my undergraduate classes. But for a long time, I had been sold out for a hypothesis circulating in Nairobi that Kenyan Politicians are so cynical that they only take care of their safety and bellies. The hypothesis is half true, half false. Like me, Kenyan leaders are not terribly intelligent.
I once asked one driver friend of mine why he loves to use the State House road instead of route 46. He said, “Potholes!” so why does route 46 have potholes? The rich and elite rarely venture past the Yaya Centre!
Then, there is this friend of mine who loves putting my life at risk. I swear I will not be in his car again. Why could a grown up man pull over around the vicinity of state house to gaze through windows of the palatial building and claim, “I have seen Ngina Kenyatta ironing her clothes” (sic). Of course he saw nothing, but he imagined he did. And he then brushes off my questions by saying, “Athereree, tuichie kabra Uhulu atume maaskari” (sic).
The fact that this man can see what’s happening in State House informs me of how the elites too, take their safety for granted. I hope you got two sides of the hypothetical coin.
There is this lie that all the criminal stuff in Nairobi results from poverty and unemployment. Well, poverty is rampant and we live, literary, below two dollars a day. The elites blame us the poor for all bad things, crime, theft, dirt, illiteracy, disease……uh!
I suspect that these Nairobi boys stealing from us come from rich families. Only the rich can be this inhuman.
Like their parents, who have made their money on our bent backs, the rich young men who cannot outrun us on the street will be making a quick buck by playing dice with our lives, flinging out of moving vehicles like a discuss.
In the poor neighborhood where I sleep soundly each night, young men have never thought of mugging Abuta. I walk there in the dead of the night – tall like Cain himself! – all I meet are friendly people. We, majority of Kenyans, live honestly below the poverty line. No Eurobond, No Omtata bond or million dollar #JusticeforSale deals!
Over a bowl of uji, my neighbors always throng my house to seek a solution to these problems rich kids are causing us by stealing our plastic cups and kerosene stoves, driving their Range(s) and wearing pencil trousers.
Being a wise man as many know, I sip my sugarless uji and tell them (jokingly of course); there is no difference between rich Kenyans and terrorists. Probably, it is time we tell our troops in El Adde to drive them further into the war torn, Al Shabaab managed Kismayu.
By ABUTA OGETO
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