In the 1980s a rumour of sorts started doing the rounds about how good a record the Kenya Police had of solving criminal cases.
The amazing rumour had it that the CID almost always got their man and when they failed it was only because of political interference. At around the same time I had a relative that I used to frequently visit somewhere in Mathare, here in
Previous story in this Weekend Special edition;
Being the snoopy journalist I am, I of course did my investigations and I soon had what I thought was an excellent story. To my disappointment newspaper editors thought different. None of them could dare touch my story and it has gathered dust for many years now.
Essentially CID officers at the time were making frequent use of witchdoctors to get their man and solve crimes. And apparently it was working, although this is naturally something that is virtually impossible to verify. The obvious reason is that everybody knows that in those days (and even today) if you land in the hands of CID officers it really didn’t matter whether you were actually guilty or not. By the time they finished with you, you would be willing to gladly confess to anything they wanted you to confess to. This “confession” coupled with a little “manufactured” evidence here and there has sent many poor innocent Kenyans to jail for crimes they never committed.
If truth be told the tradition in criminal investigations in this country has been one of laziness amongst officers. In fact many CID officers then frequented nyama choma dens at lunch time and bars at night (purportedly carrying out investigations). Many officers when exposed to this kind of lifestyle soon had a big problem. That problem was that they looked like a pregnant woman who had missed her date for giving birth by about 6 months and yet the baby inside them had kept growing.
Now when you are carrying around that kind of weight, verifying small details is not very easy. With this kind of understanding it becomes easier to understand how the idea of visiting a witchdoctor to solve crimes became so attractive to some CID officers.
These days CID officers are still generally pretty lazy. Their new “whipping boy” is of course technology. Now this is information that the police have worked very hard to keep out of the public domain, but you have already read it here before if you are a regular reader of Kumekucha. Many people are not aware of the fact that even if you change the sim card in a cell phone, it can still be traced. So when a crime is committed and the cell phone of the victim is taken, the police have a pretty easy job tracing the culprits. Cell phones have featured very prominently in various high profile murder cases although the details released have many times been scanty. For instance in the very famous Gachanja murder trial where a former commissioner of lands was charged alongside his wife and in-laws for murdering a certain estate agent in Kitengela, the mobile phone of the deceased enabled the police to solve the crime in record time. Mr Wilson Gachanja himself was acquitted for lack of evidence but the other co-accused persons are currently on death row awaiting their appointment with the hangman (if President Kibaki ever brings himself to sign the necessary documentation).
If you are reading this and are fond of buying cell phones being sold in the streets at throw-away prices then be warned, you now know that there are many like you who are behind bars or went through lots of suffering before being released just because they were given an offer they couldn’t refuse for a cell phone.
But of all the bizarre methods of solving crime employed by our officers none beats that of a certain under cover woman cop who came into the limelight in the late 80s and early 90s whom people used to say used sex to solve various puzzles. Information is scanty but word in the force around then was that she would go to bed with criminals and get her information during pillow talk. In those days when all the sources who would have given me all the details to this titillating story were readily available, it never crossed my mind to write the story. I wouldn’t dare have done it. Not in the
The truth is that the