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Friday, July 10, 2009

Crime Wave In Kenya: Just Watch, Mambo Bado

I was in this well-furnished nice apartment block somewhere in Kilimani and stories were being traded in the room about the rising insecurity and close shaves various people had had with carjackers.

Suddenly somebody across the room bluntly said that Maj Gen Hussein Ali should be given a free hand to shoot down every suspected criminal in sight. After all it was the only way to stop the rising crime wave.

I was shocked.

Surely they understood that there was no way crime can be stopped in that way. I thought they understood that the strategy they were talking about had already been tried with the Mungiki only to produce more hardened and determined Mungiki warriors. It was also tried during the post election violence. Kill a few people and the rest will be scared.

I thought about it for a long time and then it dawned on me what the problem here realy was. I grew up in a middle class family and lacked for nothing. I was never sent home for lack of school fees even one day. But luckily after school I had quickly moved out of home and lived in some pretty seedy neighborhoods of Nairobi trying to fend for myself despite my inexperience and naivety. Having moved out of home with nothing but my clothes, I learnt a lot. I learnt what it felt like to go hungry for lack of food. I heard so many stories of how people had been brought up and I saw some things that changed my life forever. I will be forever grateful for that experience.

To understand what is happening in Kenya these days you need to hear this true life story that has happened with hundreds and probably tens of thousands of families across the nation.

Let us call this guy Ted (for lack of a better name). Ted comes from a rural area somewhere in Kenya (I dare not mention the place with all the tribal hoodlums hovering around this blog). His parents have known all along that education is enough. All one needs to do is have a good education and they will never lack for money. So they have struggled and taken Ted all the way to University level. They sold cattle and almost the entire parcel of land owned by the family to take their son through school. They were later advised that a basic degree is not enough since so many people have it and Ted would need to go further and get a masters to land a good job (now Ted is confused because some employers have told him he is over-qualified for the jobs they are offering). Well, Ted has finished his expensive education about 6 years ago and his family were expecting that their huge “investment” would start bringing in a return. As you read this Ted I still jobless. Ted is in fact a vet. You would expect that an agricultural country like Kenya would never have enough Vet doctors to keep livestock healthy and profitable. But Ted is now idling at home with his degrees (up to masters level) and he has no job and no source of income.

Now the sad part of this story is that some of Ted’s school mates (who were not as bright and serious as he was with his studies) are doing very well. One is even the managing director of a State corporation. Others have good jobs in their family businesses.

This scenario is replicated all over the country. I want you to imagine for a minute how bitter Ted is bound to be right now. The poverty around him in his rural home keeps staring back at him and he feels guilty over what the family has sacrificed for his education. The bottom line is that the inequality in Kenya has created people like Ted. Clearly, making it in life no longer depends on hard work but whose son you are.

Now in this kind of scenario, how the hell do you expect anything less than a serious crime wave in Kenya?

Incidentally we have now moved to a new kind of crime that everybody dreads. This is kidnappings for hefty quick ransoms.Nigeria has come to Kenya folks. Now we have one problem in Kenya. People here are very quick to see a winning idea and to copy it so much so that the originator of the idea has no chance to make the killing they deserve from their smart thinking. Kidnappings are perfect. You simply warn the family that if they call the police they will find their loved one dead. So hopefully you should be able to end up with a lump sum without the police even being informed that a crime has been committed. Easy money and the perfect way to get back at the monied class.

Many of you who read this blog have recently gone into a supermarket and spend 10,000 bob without thinking twice about it. But watching you from a corner of the supermarket (maybe at the counter for those purchasing a single item) were a number of guys who have never seen that kind of money in their entire lives. Those of them who have jobs would need to save for 5 months or longer to have that kind of money in their accounts. And yet you blow it away one lazy Sunday afternoon on a whim.

That is the crux of the problem in Kenya. The gap between those who have money and the hopeless is just too wide and widening even as you read this.

So far our so-called leaders who can barely see beyond their noses (and pot bellies the size of which would keep them in good company at a maternity wing of a Nairobi hospital crowded with mothers expecting a bundle of joy at any minute) are using 70s techniques to deal with crime.

Let me tell you a story to prove this. In the 1970s there was a top cop (headed the CID at one point) called Ignatius Nderi who got a reputation for scaring thugs in Nairobi so much so that they called in and handed in their guns in fright (I kid you not). He simply did this by making a few examples and shooting down one or two in cold blood (Kwekwe-squad-style). We also have a guy who used to be called Patrick Shaw. A fat cop who sent shivers down the spines of no-gooders by doing exactly the same thing. There were no human rights activists in those days. Patrick Shaw used to drive an old Volvo and it is said that if there was a riot in Campus and he happened to be sent in. By the time he alighted from his Volvo, University students who had a minute earlier been throwing stones at cars would be kneeling down on the tarmac with their hands as high in the air as they could manage. Apparently he knew where all the thugs lived. He would pay them a visit and warn them and the next day they would pack all their belongings and retreat to their rural home while passing urine on themselves. I kid you not.

So our leaders imagine that if you shoot every suspected thug in site it should be able to work. It worked in the 1970s why should it not work now? The only problem now is of course those darned human rights activists who have managed to attract international attention to Kenya and how we have been dealing with crime for the last 4 decades or so.

Well for one thing in the 70s hard drugs were not such a serious problem in the country. And neither were there so many firearms in the city and country in general. In those days cops felt that they were very well armed when they had a revolver capable of delivering 6 rounds before re-loading. These days no self-respecting thug will do a serious job without an automatic weapon. Again in those days very few people had university degrees. I see a day in the very near future when some thugs will refuse to do jobs with anybody who does not have at least one university degree.

My dear Kenyans in the diaspora, I hope that this post will help you to start understanding where your country is at and why you should not be in the least surprised when you hear that crime has shot up. And to make matters worse the rate at which you guys are returning home penniless as victims of the economic melt-down will just worsen the situation.

I know most of you have never used a pit latrine within the city of Nairobi, so how can you understand what the hell I am talking about here?

P.S. So what is the solution? WE have to think out of the box and even as we get a DNA lab for the police, we need to deal with the root problems that cause crime instead of trying to simply snuff out the symptoms. We should start with corruption and impunity and then we need some urgent ideas to create income earning opportunities for the youth. I will write an ideas post specifically on this in the next few days.

33 comments:

okoth said...

we are finished we have to remove this guy who glorify theft and murder the likes of uhuru and kibaki

Taabu said...

Chris,
Thanks for the apt synopsis of what is afflicting Kenya. That siad we conviniently fail to pin-point the genesis of the disease. Our warped values is the singular reason for all these mess.

Make no mistake, Kenya is not the only unequal country in the world. Brazil ranks above us. And for good measure India has more destitutes and graduates than us ten folds. Add that to the fact that India makes guns why we don't and even their IT is outsourced by the monied states.

The crime wave in Kenya is rooted in our vices of glorifying primitive wealth that is often packaged as success. Question that and you jealousy is bandied around without abandon.

Imagine if everybody who is jobless took the guns just like the thugs who claim to be carjacking becoz of the same joblessness? Their mentality is why work if somebody can work and I get the proceeds. You hypothetical Ted's is among the few exceptions that you conviniently proped as hanger for your story.

Look, the policeforce the world over must be ahead of smart thugs. Our casewe scheme smartly for forensic labs and equipment only to feather personal nests. See through and get the drift into Armagedonn.

God save us from ourselves.

UrXlnc said...

interesting post Chris

taabu lists some pointers above plus sometime back (several weeks back) there was a comment by Mwarang'ethe about creativity vs market competition which made for very interesting discussion.

however first things first, if you are intending to get meaningful debate, i suggest some nominal moderation to minimise the usual off-topic rants.

Mwambu said...

Chris' postcript tells us what the problem in Kenya is, that is, impunity.

Anonymous said...

I think the 1970's idea of Kenya as a sovereign nation has been replaced by a non-state sociopolitical zone subject to extreme sociocultural pressure from the West. I have now come to face the reality that I have to forget Kenya as I knew it; that Kenya does not exist and will never exist. Now I understand that Nairobi is just another crime ridden city no different from countless others in the West and to be avoided as one would avoid similar locales elsewhere.

Mwarang'ethe said...

As we have mentioned many times, Kenya is bereft of creative leaders, in business and in politics.

To make it crystal clear what we mean, we will list a few areas of wealth creation potential from waste. We can mention many ideas, but, waste will illustrate our poverty of creativity.

- We have a lot of saw dust in Kenya. How many Kenyans are producing OXALIC ACID from it?

- How many Kenyans produce GELATIN from bones we throw everyday after we eat nyama choma?

- How many Kenyans produce OSSEIN fron bones?

- How many Kenyans produce OXALIC ACID from vegetable waste?

- How many Kenyans are producing PARTICLE BOARD from sugar cane and other agricultural waste?

- How many Kenyans are producing PARTICLE BOARD from saw dust?

- How many Kenyans are producing PECTIN from Orange/lime peels?

- How many Kenyans are producing CEMENT from rice husk in Mwea?

- How many Kenyans are producing CAFEINE from tea waste?

How many jobs and wealth would we create around the country producing the above products???

We are not doing all these things and many more which can create untold wealth for Kenyans, because our current thinking is dominated by three fallacies.

One, a nation can have sustainable development through the actions of the foreign investors. As a result of this, many Kenyans with money that can be invested around the country, do not understand their responsibility to their nation.

Two, it is the role of the government to create jobs and wealth.

Third, and this is the worst fallacy, the idea that, investing all our savings in the Nairobi Stock Exchange will change economic fortunes of our nation.

Flowing from the third fallacy, Kenyans have channelled their investments through NSE to fund giant multinationals like KBL and monopolists such as KenGen. In fact, when we see Kenyans lining to buy shares, we pity them and pray to the Lord to forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.


By engaging in such investment activities, Kenyans including their leaders, hope that some wealth will trickle to every corner of the nation. This is a lie.

We are not totally against investment in shares, but, we need to appreciate that, senseless growth of monetary assets fueled by debt is not the way to create REAL WEALTH. This is even worse whe we buy shares in multinational companies that are part of the problem.

The fact is that, X may buy a few shares and get rich. But, getting rich and creating wealth for the society are two different things.

If you just get rich as many Kenyans want to, or are, then, you will only make yourself a prisoner in your house which you have to barricade with grills.

In our view, if you barricade yourself behind grills, plus dogs and a poorly paid watchie, in ur view, you are not a FREE PERSON.

In our view, FREEDOM is more important than having gold. However, Kenyans seem to prefer being rich to being FREE MEN and WOMEN. Woe unto you.

Wangu wa Makeri said...

Chris,
I knew it was just a matter of time before you post this article after I 'paged' in one of your previous post regarding a shocking documentary we watched here in UK about crime waves sweeping Kenya. In fact I have lost all hopes of returning back to Kenya after watching that programme. I don't know whether it was Western media propaganda but it was bad.

That's said. so, what's the cause of this sudden upsurge? Yes, we all hear of Nairobbery and carjackings but what is all about this craze?

Taabu said...

Mwarang'ethe,
Very true, primitive acumulatiion of wealth is our national bane. And on that note STOP BEING jealous of the successful lot.

Creating wealth as the verb conotes invoves ACTION of both mind and limbs. But look around you and see who want to work when others can sweat for them?

We are smarting from a collective and painful dearth of CREATIVITY. Since independence no leader has ever thought of anything ORIGANALLY or creatively Kenyan. Don't meantion 8-4-4 whose original objectives were marvelous on paper until the buffons crawled in inpeding professional implementation.

As a nation we are yet to define ourselves with values that are uniquely Kenyan. And you don't have to be Harvard MBA graduate. All the LSE papers amount to nothing without the hindsight to integrate paper to reality.

The present 1970 mentality can be discerned from the painful CONTEMPT where leaders brand voters PUMBAVU. It is akin to extrapolating the village genious superiority complex to national arena.

Mwarang'ethe said...

We mentioned KBL in our last post, and we would like to expound on what we mean.

If you to Kisumu, you will find them enjoying tusker. You go to Msa, you will find them enjoying tusker. If you go to Nyeri, you will find them enjing tusker. If you go to Kitui, you will find them enjoying the same tusker.

At first glance, nothing seems wrong with the fact that, Kenyans from all parts of the nation have a STANDARDISED TASTE of beer. However, if you look deeper at this fact from a sociological perspective, you see a very disturbing picture.

Firstly, it is important to note that, KBL is a foreign owned co. in terms of majority of shares.

Secondly, we know that, when it comes to food, each of the above -mentioned areas have different taste. So, the question is, why is that, when it comes to beer, they have the same standard, which is a FOREIGN standard or taste?

It is when you think deeply about this phenomenon, you realise why Kenya is in a mess economically.

The fact is that, Kenyans could have chosen to have at least 8 breweries scattered around the nation/different regions.

If that was done, when you go to Kitui, you would be eager to taste their HONEY beer. Not beer carried using much IMPORTED petrol from a city called Nairobi.

When you go to Msa, you will be very eager to taste their CASHEW NUT and COCONUT beer. When you go to Kakamega, you would be eager to taste their beer made from SOGHURM.

If that were the case, you would see that, if they used HONEY in Kitui to make their own beer, they would be buying this honey from LOCALS and save unnecessary TRANSPORT COST. That would put money in the pockets of poor Kambas. In Western, if they are using SOGHURM, that would be putting money in the pockets of LOCALS.

However, instead of us thinking along the above lines, we are very proud of tusker which is made with a lot of IMPORTED raw materials. As if that was not enough stupidity, we rush to BUY KBL shares calling ourselves investors. And, then we ask, why are getting poorer.

Talk of inability of Kenyans to DECOLONISE their minds. But, how can we DECOLONISE our minds when our schools are there to make us fools as Bob Marley said.

Taabu said...

THE curse of national moral decay, exemplified from top down.

luke said...

the planning of this country is being carried out by village tycoons.criminals must be loving this gangsters paradise we're creating for them

Chris i know that you also have a masters degree please talk to TED tell him not all of us have 8 MERCS to reject back to DT DOBIE some of us still prefer humble VW BEETLE

Mama said...

That was an interesting piece Mr. Chris.

I totally agree with you that we have seen nothing yet with this new crime wave ravaging our country.

People are getting poorer and poorer life is getting harder and harder and they have less and less to lose......we are now waiting for every other criminal to start doing kidnappings and copying every new crime coming up.

There was a time when people wanted to steal stuff from you, they would wait for you to get out of the vicinity before implementing their evil schemes. This week more than one broadcasting station has showed us how those car vandals operate, in full glare of everyone!! Women are the most disadvantaged coz they are the main target, they steal when you are sitting right there in the jam and no one dare raise a finger to do anything. No one even cares!!

The other day someone did a piece on how smartly dressed pickpocketers rob you in matatus plying the Ngong Road and Dagoretti routes, and that if you raise your voice they ask you, "kwani hutaki sisi tudo job?"

Corruption has obviously contributed immensely to our situation but Kenyans generally also just lack morals. How many other more countries are poorer than us and people are not stealing, kidnapping and robbing each other blind? Tanzania is one such example.....despite their level of poverty and even corruption (coz it exists) these vices are usually unheard of there and when you hear about them some Kenyans will usually be involved.

The truth of the matter Chris, is that we all agreed this crime wave is just a tip of the iceberg, that we need to do something about it quickly. Let Ali do what he needs to do in the meantime, I side completely with the person who said shoot em' all dead!!

We can't be living our lives not knowing whether tomorrow things will have fallen apart and we need to move to Uganda and Tanzania, we need some semblance fast of security and if Ali is the man to bring it, heck let him do it!

We have scared off Obama with our evil ways (he quoted corruption), we are scaring off all potential investors, the ones who are already here, to be honest I have no idea what they are waiting for, they need to ship their stuff and leave. Everything is falling apart here!!

And on a whole separate point altogether Chris, ati in Naivasha, raw sewage is spilling on the streets....they are blaming it on congestion at the Naivasha prison but that is all hogwash!! The truth of the matter is that there is no planning in this country. It is only a matter of a time before this happens in Nairobi, those beautiful highrise apartments in Kileleshwa, Lavington and everywhere, will bring this city down to its knees. Aki and we have a government that cannot even provide a basic necessity as water (but is hoping to deliver Vision 2030 and people believe it!), waaah enyewe we are cooked.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Even as we attend to the root causes of the crime wave, we should restrain Raila and NGOs from rushing to Geneva to advocate for criminals when Ali and his people shoot these gangesters in the act.

When I see some people advocatig for Mungiki while ignoring the victims of these vile criminals, I give up for this country. There is just too much self-interest in our "leaders" and the big-mouth NGOs. But thank heavens for small mercies, the criminals are beginning to knock at the executive gates. Raila's aide has changed the tune about "innocent" Mungikis after they hitched a ride in his Mercedes in Karen at night. Soon, it could be the turn of big-mouth NGO-type to face a real-time conversion.

We need to appreciate the good work the police often does, instead of condemning them wholesale.

Anonymous said...

Taabu,

Very well put. I Echo you 1000%

You said:

"Our warped values is the singular reason for all these messes."

"The crime wave in Kenya is rooted in our vices of glorifying primitive wealth that is often packaged as success. Question that and you will be accused of being jealous."

"We scheme "smartly" for forensic labs and equipment only to feather personal nests"

The only solution to this is for us to drop our primitive values of FRAUD, DECEPTION, THEFT and cease to admire primitive aquizition of wealth. We must learn to he HONEST in our dealings, Reward REAL HARD WORK and put a premium on seeking EXCELLENCE, BEING EXCELLENT and REWARDING EXCELLENCE. Mediocrity should be shunned in every way and every area.

I Know it will be hard because most of the pumbavu "values" we uphold have become so ingrained in us to the point where they are taken to be the "right way" to behave and think.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:48 AM,

You scum bag! This post is not about Raila. Go shove your irrational obsession with Raila up your ass.

Mwarang'ethe said...

Anonymous said...
Chris,
Even as we attend to the root causes of the crime wave, we should restrain Raila and NGOs from rushing to Geneva to advocate for criminals when Ali and his people shoot these gangesters in the act.

Our response:

Short cuts will not work. Ali and the Kenyan leadership are not serious about crime. If they are, they would have talked to Professor Muga at UON, a well known criminologist sociologist (hope he is still teaching there) on what to do.

What he would tell them is something like this:

What we need to appreciate is the process of making a criminal and the criminal behaviour. If we do this, we will appreciate that, the underlying causes of criminality are deeper than what lies in the individual level.

What we call crime arises mainly due to conflict between a special group and the community at large.

Thus, the ISSUE is not whether the individual is maladjusted to the larger society, but, it is that, his adjustment to a special group makes him maladjusted to the wider society. Unfortunately, the special group he is adjusted to, is at war with the wider society.

This would require us then, to look at crime not as an individual occurence which can be effectively dealt with at individual level, but, look at it at the special group level.

This is true because, we know that, most crimes, are committed in groups. For instance, Mungiki. Even our robbers do not act alone, they are acting as a group, i.e. those who sell/hire guns, the police who may protect plus they operate in a group of at least 3 guys etc etc.

If that is the case, the MAIN questions are:

(a) How did this special group grow into conflict with the wider society?

(b) How did the individual become adjusted to that group and not to some other group in the wider society?

This means that, it is very difficult to deal with criminal groups as we have in Kenya without CHANGING ELEMENTS in OUR SOCIETY.

Chaning elements in our society would mean change in:

(a) Criminal Justice system.
(b) Our politics.
(c) Morals.

Since we are hypocrites, instead of us changing the larger elements of our society, we ask for Ali to shoot criminals and kill them. It is very unlikely that, we will go anywhere with this formula.

Anonymous said...

Mwarnge'the,

Please, don't refer me to that drunk at UoN.

I respect your views and your long-term suggestions tou offer are well thought out and I take them seriously. That is why I said, "... as we attend to the root causes of the crime wave ..."

However, you have failed to put on the table some emergency measures to arrest the situation; measures that would allow us some breathing space while we engage the long-term gear. I come from a Mungiki-infested area and I will be the last person to advocate hugging and kissing these murderous thugs.

Again, I suggest that while we embrace your long term approach we should allow the police some leeway in shooting some of the most vile criminals. At the same time we should ask those (like Raila and loud-mouth NGOs) who stand in international fora to offer moral advocacy for these criminals while condemning the police to stop for a second and think about the fate of the victims of these thugs.

At any rate, I find it hypocratical to condemn the morals that underpin "primitive accumulation" while turning a blind eye to the immorality of those who exchange gifts with jailed Mungiki leaders while victims writh in pain and death.

We have to remove the politics of the next election from this national matter and all options must be put on the table including the short-term option of shooting some of these gangsters.

Philip said...

I have a story.

Once I lived in a ghetto in Nairobi with some dudes, who because of lack of money since the parents were poor, started selling bhang.

A mother to one of them died and out of pity some relatives decided to send him to secondary school (that's when I realised that he had not completed high school). He went there and after two terms he dropped out of school yet the relatives were paying. Obviously he gave the wrong reason but we all knew that the reason was he was not making money as he was when he was selling bhang.

One day I realised that he makes more money than me who had a degree and earning Kshs 15,000. I knew that if I work hard I'll earn better than that, I perservered, walking approximately 1km to take a train, and then walking a further 1.5km to work (or what is the distance from Railway Station to Valley Road and Ralph Bunche junction?). I had only one pair of shoes which had a hole - I'm the only one who knows what used to happen to my socks when I'm caught up with rain, yet I didn't contemplate stealing from anyone.

After sometime I came to hear of a story of the dude, that he was nearly killed since he was caught stealing, later I learnt that he had also started 'kutembea na wagondi wa mchuma' walking with armed thugs - this is someone who was making more cash than me! And who decided to live out education so that he can get quick money.

This is the reason, among others that I don't have time to write here, which makes me not to buy any story that the main cause of increase in crime in Kenya is the gap between the rich and the poor - this can maybe be a secondary cause.

Cause of increase in crime in Kenya is because of our attitudes and values.

If you stayed in Buruburu or Jericho for a long time you will agree with me. If you want to know then I'll recommend that currently you go and stay with youths in Westlands, Nairobi West, South B and South C to know what I mean. The trend that I saw in 'Buru' and 'Jeri' is being replicated in these neighbourhoods - you can't learn from Buruburu and Jericho now because most of these youth are big and are big thugs staying in areas like Kayole and Dandora, sometimes bragging that 'Buru' et al have been left with small thugs of 'ngeta' - pickpocket. It's all about an attitude that starts with "get quick money for 'hepi' - fun".

The problem is that, as is now happening to Westlands, South C and B, these youths are a peer pressure to others there. It's the reason the parents who were smart during those days in Buruburu and Jericho sent their kids to boarding schools in Western and Nyanza provinces!

So the first people, according to me, who can start working together to reduce crime in Kenya is our parents, followed by media since they both play a proactive role in crime escalation in Kenya by instilling attitudes and values to these youths - ask why in upcountry there is more poverty yet crime isn't as high as Nairobi and I'll answer you.

Policemen generally play a reactive role by fighting crime and not fighting soon to be crime therefore our parents and media should start before they pass blame to the policemen.

I have cousins and friends living in abject poverty in Kariobangi and Huruma yet they appreciate what they get and don't go to steal from other people, reason is because of how they were raised from childhood and further the people who instilled values to their lives as they grew up. It is attitude and values, above all else that creates the difference between an innocent person and a thug.

I can bet that there was a time that crime was more rampant in Jericho and Huruma than in Kibera and Langata, yet in the later the gap was bigger and people were poorer! Some parents were aware or very suspicious but couldn't do anything because it's their kids, or were just ignorant.

So before we start blaming our leaders and policemen we need to see deeper what role we have played or should we play in order to reduce crime escalation in Kenya.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Taabu, there is a huge moral component to our problems.The question is: how do we define it without injecting the politics of this tribe or that tribe?

If we cannot unite as a people on this one issue of insecurity, we might as well dissolve the Republic and go our different ways!

Mwarang'ethe said...

Anonymous said...
Mwarnge'the,

Please, don't refer me to that drunk at UoN.

However, you have failed to put on the table some emergency measures to arrest the situation; measures that would allow us some breathing space while we engage the long-term gear. I come from a Mungiki-infested area and I will be the last person to advocate hugging and kissing these murderous thugs.

Our response:

Yes, it is true that, we have not given short term solution.

However, we are working on a radical proposal (we are half way), that if Kenyans are bold and couragious enough to demand its implementation, we can change the fortune of the nation in less than one year.

We hope to have the article published by the Law Society of Kenya Magazine soon. We hope, they will have the courage to publish one of the most radical proposals ever proposed in Kenya to create jobs for the young people.

Anonymous said...

Philips,

I concur, it is not poverty that is the main cause. Last year I tried to hire some youth for Shs 400 each a day in Embakasi to dig a foundation for a block of flats. Some of them refused while a few accepted. Some days later, those who refused sent a representative to say that I should start paying for permission and protection. I had to ask for help from the Chief of the area who took me to the OCPS. All I am saying is that let us not play the poverty card. There is a moral issue and the nation has to come to grips with it.

Anonymous said...

Mwarange'the,

I look forward to reading the article. Thanks for your efforts in advance. In the meantime, you can agree that without shooting to death some of these criminal, we are all sitting ducks for these outlaws.

Mwarang'ethe said...

Philip said...

It is attitude and values, above all else that creates the difference between an innocent person and a thug.

Our views:

What you say might be true to some extent. However, do not forget that, in the 70, 80's, there was the expectation by many that, if they did their part, i.e. went to school, worked hard and honestly, they would make it in life. Added to this, there were more opportunities.

However, you cannot deny the fact that, in the last 2 decades, success has been more due to money and privilege. This has been so at the time of limited and dwindling opportunities cos our leaders are bereft of the wisdom that is required to create more opportunities.

It is difficult to deny that, such an environment produces people who have no higher aspirations, other than getting "there" at whatever cost, cos everyone seems to do it with no consequences.

Let it be remembered that, the young men who are robbing Kenyans today, must have been born in late 80's and ealry 90's. What is their experience in life if it is not about getting "there" that Kenya has become? Thus, the structure of our society cannot escape much of the blame.

Taabu said...

While shooting may be appealing to an overwhelmed heart, an eye for an eye makes the whole nation go blind. I agree no amount of sloganeering will soothe a grieving soul, but we must keep fidelity with what separates us from other primates.

Even the evil Moi would occasionally rant and talk tough and the thugs would temporarily take notice. Now they know Kenyans are left to their own devices with absentee leadership in comatose.

Poverty card must be disabused for what it is. We remain our on worse enemies and the solution must start with us changing attitude premised on SOUND VALUES.

We must say no to HELL-FOR-LEATHER mentality

luke said...

Picking up on the good discussion going on, and in particular what Mwarangethe and Phillips have said:
parents, media and leaders

without wanting to sound unnecessarily alarmist it seems the leaders of this country are only touched by ordinary kenyans feelings of infirmities if they experience it for themselves. in which case nothing is ever going to be done about for example crime unless they are violently robbed, kidnapped, or carjacked themselves or their family. not something i wish for anyone but...

in as much as media and parents are the first line of defence in morals and upright society, the buck will always rest on leadership no matter the chain of command the issues follow. and since leaders cannot seemingly feel our pain unless they get hurt too then welcome to the gangster's paradise where the playing field is uneven in everything except crime where everyone is a target.

this then leads to thinking that the leaders will only look out for themselves protectionwise, given the fact the law allows them to arm themselves with guns and the money they make enables them to live in rich areas with high gates and kali dogs. once again without wishing to be alarmist the situation has nicely deteriorated into a gangster's paradise, and the perfect setting for an all out class war where if you are a "have" you will be spending your time hiding from the "have nots"

Taabu said...

Mwarang'ethe,
While at it, POTUS has just globalized our Agenda 4 from Accra:

...Africa doesn't need strong men, it needs STRONG INSTITUTIONS.

Wangu wa Makeri said...

You wonder why Obama snubbed Kenya? Apparently for fear of being mugged or worse kidnapped for ransom!
It's just not safe for Obama to be visit Kenya!!

Lebo said...

For once I am so happy that the contributors in this thread have remained relevant and most of the ideas and issues being raised are true and important.
As Obama has said today in Ghana, institutions must be set up for the purpose of assisting the common citizen to realize his potential. I swallowed salty saliva when he reminded us that 50 short years ago we were better than South Korea. Now we don't appear anywhere on the radar of 2nd world countries. Instead we are fast running into the 5th world. Every parameter we are measured in we are getting worse-from football rating to corruption index to human rights index to university ratings to athletics (Eldoret Express was SIXTH today in 800m) etc etc. Yet Kenya has the best brains, talented and most hard-working people in Africa. I had a classmate who was No. 70 out of 84 in our degree class. When he went to America for Masters, he was first with Honors!! He was quickly given permanent residence and a job there. Those of us who were better than him and remained in Kenya are still struggling in lower middle class. I am not glorifying going abroad, I am saying that there is something wrong with the way we are nurtured and with the environment we live in.
Firstly, Kenyans are generally pessimistic people. They are quick to see wrongs and weaknesses and slow to recognize and praise strengths. How many standing ovations do we ever give to outstanding performances in Kenya? You are lucky if the MOC requests the audience to give "makofi ya kilo tatu" for you. I have seen in America and Germany people doing very dangerous stunts (just for fun) and they are supported and cheered on. In Kenya I have seen a boy from Muranga make a small studio in his room and the police threaten him and tell him that he is interfering with their signal (in fact they threaten to arrest him for eavesdropping on their Over-overs). I have heard of a boy in Kitale who made an aeroplane and when he attempted to fly it, he was told to get a pilot's licence first! The latest is a boy who can use his mobile phone to make a cup of tea by remote control, but nobody wants to help him patent his innovation. He might soon be arrested for "misusing" his phone. In Japan there is an annual contest of people to try out their robots. The winner is given a huge prize. Do we have any institutions in Kenya to mould talented/gifted people? No. Don't tell me there are village polytechnics. The only ones we have are special schools for the blind and physically challenged!
Secondly, there is too much politics in our lives. I wish there was a way politics did not interfere with the economy, education, judiciary, police, health in Kenya. I wish politicians were confined to just making and amending laws and not being in charge of CDF and ministries.
Finally, we ordinary Kenyans must learn to be assertive and insist on justice, fairness and equity. How many times have we seen people being mugged and we look the other way? How many times have we been manhandled and packed into matatus and we have just kept quiet? How many times have people by-passed us on queues in banks, KPLC, bus stages, stadium gates etc and we have just borne with it?
WAKENYA TUGUTUKE

Anonymous said...

After listening and reflecting on the this week's unprecedented hullabaloo about The Hague and Prosecutor Ocampo, I have come to the rational conclusion that not a single Kenyan shall stand trial at the ICC. So the earlier we deal with our mad men and demons before 2012 the better.

Andruid said...

first of all your story does not prove that it was inevitable Ted would turn to armed crime (he could have gone into politics for example) so that does not wash.

Second of all romanticising tough super-hero type figures from the 70s hardly deals with th the fact that the system worked a whole lot better back then than it does now.

Thirdly you also fail to recognise that the society of desperation and want that you found yourself in having left6 home a green-horn is very probably the source of the sweat that provided for your well being and total lack of want before hand. One cannot exist without tyhe other in this, our money driven society.

Face it we live in a community where everyday happiness is being substituted/confused/replaced with financial well being, and the entire foundations of our value systems are being shaken by the fact that this is simply to weak a foundation to construct a functional society.

Money has become the be all and end all of life in our country at the expense of aall human decency, self respect and common humanity. When we realize Money has no concience, no morals and no rules, except for which we choose toabide by desptie money then and only then can we truly find the capacioty to fix our society.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for an undercover police unit in the Kenya Police code named spiders, under the direct control of the PPO at that time mr Japeth Mwathe and i can tell you that our policy was shoot on site and then ask questions later!!at that time crime levels had reduced drastically as we were a self supporting unit with our own intelligence arm,we had informers who provided us with reliable and up to date intelligence and part of our handiwork can be seen when we gunned down 7 thugs outside city cabanas.and it worked.

Anonymous said...

this was a very good post, it has elicited probably the most sober response i have seen on the blog ever. Keep the ideas coming in, somewhere along the road we will all be like minded and bring this country the change it needs. I have seen the blame being laid nicely where it belongs, ie, parents, media, leader's.
If we bring up insensetive brats we have no future. If the media does not wholly cover the true feelings of the citizenry and continue agitating for the change we so deserve, the future is bleak. If our leader's continue avoiding tackling the issues that will bring the change that must, and will, come, they will not be spared the pain we will all have to go through.
As you have seen politicians say, they need big cars because our roads are bad, they need scurity because the security situation is so bad. The way it is going they will need to be chopperd from home to their offices. What about us wanainchi? is'nt true that when all fails, we have to go back to the basics? Clear the whole lot/crop of leaders and start rebuilding.We might make some mistakes along the way, but surely not as bad as these blundering lot are.

Lucas Kimanthi said...

The analysis is clear and stright to the point. Crime is now a serious matter in the country. I am worried that the recent victims are cops (Emilio Kibaki and Hon. Kimunya's guards)

We need to address this maater collectively

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