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Friday, August 03, 2007

Kumekucha's Terrifying Ordeal In The Hands Of The Police And How It Changed Him Forever


In my informed view Kamukunji Police Station cells are a much more friendlier place than the usually badly stinking brutal Central Police station cells.

The Police cells and Kenyan prisons contrary to what many naïve Kenyans think, is not filled with rapists and murders and carjackers. NO. They are full of innocent Kenyans whose only crime is that they did not have the money to "buy their freedom." Many others are people merely "assisting the police with investigations" for a very long time.

In 1986 something happened to me in the hands of the police that changed my life forever and in fact almost killed me.

I was newly married and still in the "honeymoon mode" trying to work very hard to provide for my newly established family. I was a journalist but I carefully avoided controversial stories that could get me into trouble. I would not write a political story even if you paid me a million bob (and believe me a million bob was a lot of money in those heady days when a loaf bread cost less than Kshs 4/-).

I worked for a mzungu publication based in Westlands (that was the first of its' kind in Kenya) and had recently received a tip off about a story that involved a traffic policeman who had been deliberately ran over by a matatu driver. I was doing this reluctantly because even such a story was too controversial for me.

One afternoon I walked back into the office in Waumini House Annexe, Westlands to be told that there were some plain clothes policemen looking for me. I assumed that it was about the story I was chasing. I really wasn't frightened of policemen as I had grown up seeing them and interacting with them because my father was very senior police officer and still was at that time.

To cut a long story short I was arrested and driven all over Nairobi by police officers from the then dreaded Special branch...

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Taabu said...

Thanks for the sneak peek into your past. You couldn't be more right that our judicial system is a sham. The prosecuting police force are not professional and take advanatge to line thier pocket. Ole wako bila pesa. We end up with hardened criminals sho are out to revenge on society for crimes they never comitted.

And what lucky guy Chris is? At 43 (22 in 1986) you are already a grandpa to six year old H whose mother (your daughter) is 26. Makes me think, mmmhh this chap must be having 'siblings' for kids! Ber blessed brother and nahe a kingsize weekend ukijenga Kenya the best way you know how.

David Mwangi said...

Thanks for sharing your ordeal at the hands of Kenya Police.

Phil said...

Chris, did you work for a company known as Fotoform Ltd? It used to publish anti-establishment magazines in the late 80s and early 90s, like Society, Finance, Beyond, etc. It was owned by a mzungu. The company was based in Waumini Annexe and they had they fair share of CID raids.

Anonymous said...

Pole, Man. The company Phil is referring to is currently under receivership. Any connection to all this?

Phil said...

Jeff, connection is that Fotoform was the only mzungu company at Waumini House Annexe in Westlands in the late 80s that is similar to what Chris experienced. Fotoform was raided by cops several times then and also in the early 1990s. I just wanted to know if Chris worked for this company b'coz I also had some dealing with them before they went under.

The issue is that it will reach a point soon when Chris wont need to be an incognito publisher. This blog is growing in size, reputation and importance. Therefore the time for us to know 'Chris' real identity will come sooner or later. Even if he tries to throwing us off track with family stories that Taabu is alluding to.

Anonymous said...

Chris pole for what happened. I agree with you totally. I think the only solution in Kenya is a kind of revolution where drastic changes can streamk\line things. Otherwise with the current crop of leadership & those aspiring to take up the next government have notyhing new to offer kenyans.

chris said...


Mr Martin, a Briton and the owner of Fotoform was a friend of mine and in the days that I used to indulge we had one too many, several times at the main Bar at the Norfolk Hotel.

No I didn't work for Martin who was a printer and NOT a publisher like the mzungu I worled for. You are right that Foroform offices were in Waumini Anexe but it was not the only Mzungu company there. The one I worked for was owned by a man (now deceased) called Dennis Lakin. It was the first free weekly newpaper in Kenya delivered to homes in the greater Westlands area every Saturday morning.

Martin came into prominence in the early 90s when my Mzungu had moved into other tourism enetrprises. His idea was before its' time.

Another interesting fact was that Lakin was a DC in colonial times. Somewhere in Central province I believe. Although he didn't like to talk about it.

Incidntally it was at this newspaper that I learnt a lot about editing a newspaper.


Phil said...

Chris, do you know someone by the name KAVILA? He was working for that publication you are talking about.

chris said...

It's a small world.

Yes, Phil, I remember him very well. Also ran into problems with the police at about the same time.

What about him?

Phil said...

Used to play rugby together.

Maybe am wrong, but I think I can put a face to this Kumekucha / Chris name...

Usijali, am not NSIS.

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