This is an imaginary meeting that never took place that nevertheless tries to capture a situation where dinosaurs using outdated ideas inevitably run out of options. It is instructive that this is the crux of the problem with the Kibaki/Raila administration. The meeting takes place between a senior presidential security advisor and a high ranking police chief. Enjoy.
Security advisor: I called this meeting to demand an explanation from you concerning the current escalating crime rate in the country. The president is concerned.
Police chief: Where is his Excellency if I may ask?
Security advisor: He’s still asleep but that is beside the point. What will I tell him when he wakes up?
Police Chief (glances at his watch and realizes it is going to noon): You will remember that I warned you this would happen. Let’s see if those human rights activists can fix it now.
Security advisor: Surely there are other ways of fighting crime without having to shoot down every thug in town.
Police Chief: I would like to hear about them. As you know our justice system doesn’t work.
Security advisor: What happened to the idea to increase patrols and other crime prevention measures? Your officers seem to have slackened considerably.
Police chief: The firearms we ordered never arrived. Patrols with G3 rifles when thugs have automatic weapons just gets my officers killed.
Security advisor: So what do we do now?
Police Chief: Maybe the human rights activists can give us some ideas.
Security advisor: Stop being sarcastic. Are you suggesting that we replace you with somebody else who will have some new ideas?
Police chief: That is the prerogative of the president but you know my replacement will be faced with exactly the same situation.
Security advisor: If you want to keep your job you will need to find a way to deal with escalating crime. Am sure you realize that.
Police Chief: If only we could fully reactivate the Kwekwe squad. Or even better form a new unit. Remember how we dealt with the Mungiki?
Security advisor: But I thought the Mungiki are still very much around and causing chaos?
Police chief: Yes, but they can be dealt with in the same way we did the first time. We shall find better ways to get rid of the bodies leaving no trace of evidence.
Security advisor: I have told you before that we are under considerable International pressure over those killings, we can never go back to that.
Police Chief: Then I might as well resign and leave the human rights activists to fight crime in this country.
Security advisor: I wish it was that simple. You know we still have skeletons in the closet over those damned elections. Even a fool would not accept your resignation at this time.
Police chief: You know my lips are sealed concerning that.
Security advisor: They better be. Even if you end up at the Hague?
Police chief: Even if I end up at the Hague.
Security advisor: So shall I tell his Excellency that you would like to step down?
Police chief: Of course not. This is Africa where nobody resigns. Tell him that our hands are tied, we need some little authority to clamp down with force on thugs. There is no other way.
Security advisor: I can tell you he won’t be happy about that. Anything else?
Police chief: It also helped when I had control over what crime the media could report and how it was reported. You know these reports cause panic and make us look bad.
Security advisor: Again we can never go back to that. All efforts to put the media on a leash have failed. Besides even if the media keeps quiet there is always that silly Kumekucha site. That chap has informants everywhere.
Police chief: How many people read that stupid site?
Security advisor: The problem is that the International community does and more Kenyans than you realize.
Police chief: Then I can tell you that it will always be very difficult for anybody holding this office that I hold.
Security advisor: I have to run. I have two more meetings before the president wakes up. My parting advice is that you should think out of the box and you need to do it urgently.
Police chief: Okay. But I have always done that haven’t I?
Security advisor (hurriedly departing): Keep me informed.
P.S. On other matters, I need to ask a question. Is it true that Africans are generally more resistant to the dreaded Swine flu? What most people don’t realize is that the unfolding scenario is a nightmare-come-true for many virologists who for years have feared a worldwide outbreak just like this. You can’t stop it as long as International travel continues. But it seems the penetration level in African countries has been extremely low. Those who are religious will say that it is the mercy of God (and I would agree) because surely we are just too ill equipped to deal with a full blown out-break of this thing within our shores.
One of my informants in Kenya says that he overheard in a matatu this morning a smartly dressed lady asking why the person with Swine flu was not deported immediately to solve the problem. It is clear that Kenyans know very little about the Swine flu.