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Friday, July 11, 2008

Weekend Special: Focus On The Kenya Police

Kumekucha Weekend Special

I stood in the middle of the room completely naked and shivering more in terrified fright than from the early morning cold wind rushing in from the open window.

I, Kumekucha, was at the CID headquarters and I was surrounded by at least half a dozen CID officers who wanted information from me that I did not have. Earlier they had asked me to strip completely naked (right down to my underwear) and they had told me in no uncertain terms that I was surely going to tell them what they wanted to know. Either that or my body would be at the nearby City Mortuary within the hour, riddled with bullets of course.

To tell you the truth I was very ready at that moment to “sing any song” they wanted and I would have readily confessed to anything they wanted me to confess to. Hell, I would easily have convinced them that I was the one who had assassinated President John F. Kennedy (although I was not even born when he was felled).

Now you have to understand that the year was 1985 and I had barely been out of school for 2 years. I was still young, na├»ve and clearly—contrary to what the CID officers staring at my well built (I was an international rugby player) naked body thought—not the material for the hardcore Mwakenya anti-government movement. What happened to me next is not as important as the effect and impact the encounter had on my life. Naturally I was never the same person again.

To start with I was very bitter because I was completely innocent and yet I suffered so much trauma in the hands of the Kenyan police in just 3 days in their custody. In fact in those days I had not written a single word in any political story, I was a mere film critic.

I hardly used to touch alcohol before that fateful morning at CID police headquarters but I was very nearly wiped off the face of this earth by the bottle in the months and years that followed.

As the police commissioner was captured on national TV this past week defending the police force and emphasizing that his boys did not use excessive force in dealing with post-election violence, the same TV was showing images of members of the civil society being “handled violently” by the same police force. Their only crime was to hold a peaceful demonstration demanding the resignation of former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya and that of the Attorney General as well.

As I watched Major General Ali put up an academy award winning performance, my mind went back to some of my journalist colleagues who were not as lucky as I was in the hands of the Kenya Police. Top on my mind was a cheerful brash press photographer called Wallace Gichere who used to work for Hillary Ngweno’s Nairobi Times, the first indigenous local daily newspaper to be launched in these shores. He stayed on when the newspaper was sold to Moi’s Kanu and changed its’ name to Kenya Times. Gichere used to look at me unbelievingly and tell me that I was too young then for the tough game of journalism in Kenya. The man spoke his mind and I guess that is mainly what landed him into serious problems.

Well, in the hands of the Kenya Police his life was quickly destroyed. They threw him off a building and made sure that it was not high enough for him to die. The official story was predictable. They said Mr Gichere was trying to escape from police custody and forgot that he was not on the ground floor. Mr Gichere never walked again and was of course never able to work as a press photographer again. His life slowly ebbed away on the wheel chair. I am certain he was innocent of whatever he was being accused of. His only crime was that the guy spoke his mind, always. Of course matters were made worse by the fact that he a Kikuyu and those were the Moi years.

But alas, it is not the intention of this post to be some sob story for all the victims of police brutality in Kenya. Rather my objective today is to ask the question, what exactly went wrong with the Kenya Police?

Clearly police brutality did not start under Maj Gen Ali (although it has risen to new unprecedented heights under his watch). Actually the problem can be traced back to 1963. One thing that any serious historian will have to acknowledge is the fact that Kenya’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was paranoid about any armed force in the country and not just the Kenya army.

And admittedly with good reason. Many other countries in Africa were experiencing frequent military coups in those days (early 60s). In a country like Nigeria coups have always been popping up faster than popcorn. In the beautiful neighboring clove islands called Zanzibar, a Ugandan Police Office called Okello organized perhaps one of the bloodiest coups in history in January 1964. One account has it that the streets of Zanzibar’s famous Stone Town literally had Arab blood flowing in almost endless streams.

Back in Kenya there was an army mutiny (the only one in the country’s history) in 1964 which took place at the Lanet barracks. The then infant Kenyatta administration finally dealt with it with Tom Mboya playing a major role. Details of exactly what happened then remain scanty to this day.

So it is quite understandable that when the front runner for the job of Kenya’s first African police commissioner was an excellent Luo officer (I forget his name) Kenyatta ignored him and settled for his blood relative Bernhard Hinga. From then on the appointment of police commissioner has always been a seriously political issue where merit is ignored and political patronage takes centre stage.

So how can one seriously hope to have a professional police force when the person who heads it is a political appointee more interested in political patronage to retain his position? Why should senior police officers put in the effort and initiative when the tradition of promotion by merit left with the colonialists? I believe this seemingly minor point is at the core of the problems we still experience with our police force to this day.

My dad served with distinction in the Kenya Police and rose to the rank of senior assistant commissioner of police. The old man was trained by the colonialists and is a stickler for discipline and principals. It is instructive that he was bound to ran into serious problems with the establishment while some of his corrupt colleagues made fantastic fortunes and were never at any time scared for their lives. It amuses me today that growing up I was sure he was making a mistake being so principled and ending up in so many problems as a result. Today he is not only one of the inspirations that birthed Kumekucha but time has proven him right. A vast majority of his corrupt colleagues are now 6 feet under. One in particular who worked for the Special branch lived his last days in a horrific manner that has never left my mind. I now understand the expression; “Do you sleep at night?” This man who joined the police a year before my Dad did couldn’t sleep at night and even with heavy consumption of whisky would only finally succumb to sleep of the stupor kind at 3 am in the morning. And this happened daily. Finally the whisky ate up all his insides and he died a terribly painful death. Meanwhile my dad who never took anybody’s shilling is still enjoying his retirement and snores loudly most of the night.

That is one of the most important lessons I have ever learnt from this life. It is especially relevant today because to many Kenyans the almighty shilling is not the most important thing, rather it is the only thing and how one obtains it is no longer as important as ensuring that you have plenty of it.

The old man has repeatedly told me one thing so many times that it has almost become boring. Raising standards is a very difficult thing and when you lower them, recovering is virtually impossible.

The colonialists left a well structured and very disciplined Police force with important rules in place. What we did to it after that was to lower standards and ignore the rules. The agonizing truth is that we will never recover.

The only answer now is to get rid of the Kenya police as we know it today and start again from scratch with a brand new police force.

More Police stories later today and tomorrow as well: Don’t miss to read later today about the crazy and bizarre CID methods of solving crime.

See Chris’ other post today: No capable young men hence Michuki’s appointment

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

As usual, nothing to learn from your posts, most of which are de-contextualized and hence fundamentally dishonest.
I have a deep admiration for Ali, he stepped in and did what he had to do in the face of ODestructionM's 'peaceful' demonstrations. Considering the alternative, there's absolutely nothing brutal about Ali's intervention and am glad that faced with a similar situation, he is ready to do the same i.e. protect the lives and property of innocent wananchi from attack by panga-wielding ODM murderers and thieves.
Well done, General Ali. Let them bring it on.

Anonymous said...

And...what happened to the proposal to have MPs pay taxes too? Bonny Khalwale, the rather unsmart cheer leader of the lynch mob, seemed quite terrified of a simple citizen responsibility. There you go, back to General Ali--too much preoccupation with rights, very little appreciation of responsibility. What kind of democracy is this? The ODM type, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Chris - nice FICTION because you and I know that this story is based on pure IMAGINATION. WHY I know: we both played Rugby together although we were not belonging to the same school team. In this connection another small correction: you have NEVER been an international rugby player as you claim. You played in some school team, that's all. You NEVER made it to the top there either because you were NOT strong and pushy nor fast enough. We called you a WEAKLING - also because you preferrred the bars and the girls to the tough training sessions. So please, come up with something else but DON'T take us for a ride with these STORIES about you. There are too many people out here who know the REAL TRUTH about your life.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that the only Defense Minister Kenya ever had during Kenyatta's time was one Dr. Njoroge Mungai.....although only for a short while. But as he told me many times, he enjoyed every second of it.

Anonymous said...

Not true. Njoroge Mungai was NOT the only defence minister Kenyatta had. Gichuru also had his turn at the defence Ministry. Njoroge Mungai even was foreign affairs Minister until he lost his dagoreti seat. The Foreign Minsitry then went to Munyua Waiyaki.
I am told he also tested the forbidden fruit of one Marianne Brinner. He had a liking for white women just as Njonjo. Njonjo went ahead and married one (wedding officiated by Bishop Henry Okullu) with Njoroge as the best man.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,
Another great piece, I truly have no words to describe Kenyan police or even the Judicial system...

Bytw, is there an administrator to get rid of some of the Juvenile comments being posted, I am referring to anonymous 1.49, 1.53 (ODM again, come on grow up, Willie lynch would be proud of the likes of you two), 2.53 (this is not about Rugby!)..

cheers,
Ken Thumbi

Anonymous said...

It looks to me that there is no post here on this blog without having at least once Marianne Brinner's name mentioned. What is it which makes this woman so special that even those who never met her still have to talk about her? Even if it was their parents who have met her personally, their sons and daughters cannot stop mentioning her name here? She must have been an incredible woman.

Anonymous said...

stop confusing kikuyu central and kenyans= say it again who the hell do you say trusts michuki?? which kenyans?
after the Atur brothers saga?? which you are forgetting to mention when michuki was minister of security

Michuki is the most hated Minister in kenya and i believe the young kenyan MP's of parliament will teach him a lesson.

let them reopen the Atur brothers case in kenyA AND LET mICHUKI BE CALLED TO ANSWER PLUS ALL THE MUGIKI EXECUTION!!

DIDN'T MICHUKI ORDER FOR THE EXECUTION OF MORE THAN 500 MUNGIKI YOUTHS??

i'M A KIKUYU AND I HATE HIM WITH PASSION AND I KNOW OF MANY WHO FEEL THE SAME ABOUT MICHUKI.

I HAVE A COUSIN WHO WORKS AT THE TREASURY- AND THEY HAVE VOWED THEY WILL LEAK ALL THE SHADY DEALS TO THE PUBLIC- WATCH AND SEE MICHUKI THIS TIME IS FIGHTING A LOSING BATTLE!!

Anonymous said...

1. MICHUKI= Atur mercenaries in Kenya

2. Michuki = more than 500 mungiki youth executions

3. under MICHUKI'S watch= security in kenya become a joke and many prominent kenyans were assassinated i can name a few

4. HOW CAN A THIEF, THUG AND MURDERER BE APPOINTED TO HEAD THE KENYA MINISTRY OF FINANCE/TREASURY

are MP's alseep?? they must put michuki to task- nobody should be afraid of this goon- remember he is human and if you cut him he bleeds blood like any other kenyan -

MP's should deal with him in parliament period - he is not qualified to ran the treasury

By the way the meeting to endorse Michuki was attended by

1. KIBAKI
2. KARUA
3. UHURU
4. SAITOTI
5 KALONZO MUSYOKA
AND OTHERS

WHO IS RAILA?? A FOOLISH GOAT??

RAILA IS ASLEEP ON THE WHEEL!!

Anonymous said...

chris

good focus on the kenya police. i remember the wallace gichere incidence when he was thrown out of his house in buru buru four storeys up, it was meant to kill him but he somehow survived but was paralysed.

there are a lot more horror stories but even as you throw the spotlight on these despicable acts to expose the rot, it would only be fair to recognize there are a handful of really upright policemen and women, i believe they even have a gathering where the born-again meet, not to bring religion into this, but we need to reach out to such guys to help lift the image of the police

UrXlnc

Anonymous said...

THIS IS THE TRUTH AND A FACT- I DID SOME DIGGING ON GROUND AND IT IS TRUE-
KARUA WAS EVEN ENDORSED BY UHURU AT THE SAID MEETING?? SO WHERE DOES kALONZO MUSYOKA COME IN?? CAN SOME ONE EXPLAIN THAT ONE TO ME OR ARE THIS PEOPLE TRYING TO PALY WITH KENYANS YET AGAIN?? ARE THEY ALL IN THIS MUSICAL CHAIR PLANS TO CONFUSE KENYAN-2012 ELECTIONS??





Martha Karua was given the green light to stand for 2012 elections b the Nyeri waze the uhuru's so do not be fooled by the uhuru kalonzo saga sources now confirm. kibaki is behind Martha karua 100% - says the source- meetings were held by the nyeri elite with Martha karua to endorse her for the 2012 presidental election. facts
Musyoka Kalonzo and Uhuru are just smoke screens they are in the plot and it is to derail the ODM pundits

Raila if he doesn't have his intelligence to be aware of this by now is a fool!
sources very close to Karua confirm Kibaki and the Old guards of Mt. kenya met with Karua and endorsed her before she held her party manifesto!! this sources was there!
anyone doubting this information is a fool or wants to remain stupid
this is right from the horses mouth.

Uhuru Knows the truth- Kalonzo musyoka?? sorry I'm not sure if he knows the plan of action that he Martha has been chosen to carry the central flag?? if he doesn't then he is a fool too just like Raila-
I don't care what bloggers here will say or attack this post- all i care about is that this are the exact facts and it is the truth-
all i can say is
the person endorsed to carry the central vote is Martha Karua.

I have more stories on this and the next plan of action they have in place but i think this is enough for those who want to vote for her and those against...

who am I to advise kenyans otherwise- I have the first hand information- you deal or use it the way you want to.

All I know as a fact is Martha Karua has the backing of all the Elite rich kikuyu's in central for the 2012 elections or sooner and money is being collected like no business in kenya and abroad that is all i can say..

Anonymous said...

anon6:41 AM

hey si everyone knows kibaki endorsed Karua for 2012 presidency at a meeting?? so what is new??

Kalonza Musyoka likes being used- who care about him?? his greed has no end....

Anonymous said...

anon6:44 AM

Seems like many of us Kenyans had no idea that he kibaki indeed endorsed Martha Karua by reading in the press and stories carried like
Uhuru Endorses Kalonzo Musyoka for 2012 presidency??

yet it is true stories are coming out that central elite and power houses are behind Karua?

My question to you is then why is Kalonzo accepting to be used?? yet again to confuse Kenyans??

though this time kenyans are watch him like hawks!!

can you explain that?

Anonymous said...

Ken Thumbi:
You are quite the local idiot, no? If you dont agree with someone,either debate and persuade them, or just shut up. Nothing could get more juvenile than whining to administrators to pull out their posts. Bure kabisa.

Anonymous said...

Ken Thumbi

5:39 AM

This are the guys who are planning for Martha Karua recarnation:)

Facts are we all know who ordered the mungiki youths to committe genocide in Nakuru and Naivaha ans someone told me that Karua was bragging on how he malizad the Kihii's and the Kalejin's in both towns- this she was boasting at a function- she didn't whether other tribes were added on -

AND KIBAKI AND THE CENTRAL ELITE HAVE ENDORSED HER TO RUN FOR 2012 PRESIDENCY??

IT IS THE SAME AS PUTTING MICHUKI TO REPLACE KIMUNYA- HE IS A THUG AND A THEIF JUST LIKE MARTHA KARUA
THE MALAYA KILLER QUEEN OF CENTRAL-SHE WILL ALSO GO 6FT UNDER LIKE THOSE SHE ORDERED TO BE SLAUGHTERED IN NAKURU AND NAIVASHA

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:51 AM - HE HAD A LIKING FOR WHITE WOMEN JUST LIKE NJONJO

Who doesn't? Besides Njonjo also Mwangale, Biwott and even Yomo Kenyatta and his nephew Ngethe Njoroge were all married to white women. Not to forget Jeff Koinange whose first American wife was not only white but even 20 years older than him. In case, you say that this is all past. Go and check how many of the socalled young elite have white women and/or girlfriends and are proud to show them off. Even if for some of them it is only a sign for having 'made it' to be able to have a white woman at their side.

Anonymous said...

What is special about white women? A woman is a woman. Any african who goes for a white woman is a pervert. That is why Moi destroyed our country for liking white women. That is why Njonjo thinks his skin is white even though both his parents are black. That is why Kenyatta looted the country. No black man should be married to a white lady. Never never never.,

Anonymous said...

That is why I hate Moi for having slept with Brinner and for Jeff for having done the same.
Now we want to add Sam Okello who must have enjoyed the fruits of one Marianne Brinner.

Anonymous said...

Why do you talk like that? Has a white woman refused you? Go and ask your countrymen living in the white-man's world how desperately they are trying to have at least a white wife making them feel like a human being. Go to the Cocktail Parties and Receptions at the Foreign Embassies in Nairobi. You will be amazed to see how many Africans struggle to get the attention of the few white women around them. They even leave their own wives and girlfriends at home, just to be able to talk to a white girl. That's the reality, my dear poor friend.

Anonymous said...

For an African to have a white woman is an inferiority complex. It is actually a pyschological problem. Most blacks deem whites as superior. Having a white woman makes them think they have reached the peak. Yet white women arent any better than black ladies. Who are warm and know how to treat a man. I will never ever bother to look for a white woman. Let Sam look for one.

Anonymous said...

Poor Sam Okello. When reading your comments here about him having enjoyed the forbidden fruits of one Marianne Brinner, his wife Hellen must have started to beat him up just like Lucy does with Kibaki.

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:06 AM - YOU ARE SUCH A FOOL.

ALSO KOFI ANNAN IS MARRIED TO A WHITE - DOES THIS ALSO MAKE HIM A PERVERT? I THINK YOU SHOULD BE VERY CAREFUL WITH YOUR JUDGEMENTS. BEING WHITE OR BEING BLACK OR YELLOW OR BROWN IS NOT IMPORTANT. IT'S THE PERSON AND THE CHARACTER WHICH COUNTS. YOU HAVE STILL A LOT TO LEARN, MY FRIEND.

Anonymous said...

Remember the white Kofi has is NOT his first wife. The first wife left him. Kofi Annan for all practical purposes is NOT black. He does not even live in Ghana. He is a lost African.
I would like Marianne Brinner to deny that Sam Okello has not had her. Both Sam Okello and Marianne Brinner are crazy. I know they have been engaging in Kinky sex - like all white girls do. Our girls like straight sex - the way God intended it. White girls take drugs then they do the things I dont want to write here. So Sam also got that taste.

Anonymous said...

It's weekend so the sex chapters are open again. Those who do not find a partner (male or female depends on your preferences) enjoy sending their trash here. Must give them some kind of satisfaction or maybe they are even masturbating while hitting the keyboard. Otherwise some of the nonsense published here is not explainable.

Anonymous said...

Shaddy - Hellen Okello, stop beating Sam. We want to know everything about him and Marianne Brinner. So take a break and hit the keyboard.

Anonymous said...

stupid kenyans focussing on trivialities instead of real isssues....

if this is a reflection of our future(youth) leaders, wacha ikae!!!! let people like Michuki waendele na kazi........

Anonymous said...

Am particularly perturbed or rather disturbed by the comments (mostly vulgar) we are reading of late.
Let's discuss serious issues to help restore our beloved country.Don't personalize criticism.If you don't like the blog - just avoid it altogether!

DjRik.

Mcheku said...

Sorry to comment on this post so late, but that was a very nicely written story! I enjoyed every minute of it.

Mcheku said...

Sorry to comment on this post so late, but that was a very nicely written story! I enjoyed every minute of it.

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