When an individual is able to congratulate himself on the attainment of enlightenment- or when such an individual reaches his Nirvana on a subject, it is a great day. When that enlightenment causes him to convert his belief and thinking, the day is brighter still.
I have had an epiphany that caused me to reach Nirvana on the subject of National Security – and indeed the enhancement of my own.
It is this circumstance that has led me to join the majority of officers of the Kenya Police Service and the section of wananchi that has directly suffered to “Shoot to Kill”as the most effective strategy to combat crime. This would be for me a controversy from the campaign that I have long held for the right of the individual and in truth, I have not diverted from this campaign, I have simply refined my approach to it. The end game is the same: reduce crime especially violent crime to the lowest possible levels – immediately.
The event of my epiphany occurred on the evening of last Thursday as I trudged up the hill to my little apartment in a leafy quiet area of Nairobi – an area that one would think to be highly secure and that is so, except for a few pockets here and there. Anyway, as I was walking, I met with a young man who made out to be timid about his gait and who tried to stop me with a “Habari”. Naturally i responded as I walked past him but when I saw the gun up in the air – a small enough pistol and i heard the click of it being cocked, well, i stopped and reached for the stars.
Another young man came upon the scene and a speedy ransacking was done of my person to find and retrieve any weapons and valuables as I might have had in my pocket. This incidentally was just next to the Railways Golf Course on Bunyala Road. I was then encouraged to cross the road to the darkened golf course by way of a fence that had been torn apart.
On the lush green, very nicely trimmed grass on one of the outer tees, I was asked to lie down upon my stomach, a command that I executed with alacrity. It was in this position that I watched as the young men painstakingly went through my bag and my person to take the things that they felt were due to them. I tried to negotiate with them, not to take the laptop, saying that I would lose my job and their answer was simple: “utapata ingine”
Presently, I was instructed back on my feet and I was told to quickly go. You can be sure I showed a clean pair of heels as I sped to the world bank and got help. A huge search was mounted even though it was fruitless. They were long gone.
I have to say Officer Mutiso and his mates as well as the Securex guards in upper hill showed prowess and they were lively in their pursuit. As we stood around after the search on the green, one of the officers asked me some penetrating questions:
“Now that you have been robbed, how do you feel?” he asked. “if Maina wa Kiai came to you and said tutafute hao polepole and arrest them take them to court and prosecute for months before they are acquitted, what would you say?”
“Hakuna dawa ingine, mzee.” Another interjected, “ni kumwaga wao tu”
The other cop explained that the public as personified by Maina wa Kiai, has a skewed perspective on the security problem. They get robbed violently (getting robbed is bad enough, being hurt or killed is much worse), the police are inundated and outnumbered by the villains, who many times have better artillery. In addition, the neighboring countries are violently running themselves wild and the borders are completely open apart from where the gate is.
In these circumstances, the police are having to wage war – and it is war. The robbers are leaving bodies in their wake and the police can’t keep up with procedure hampering the best of their efforts. At some point, they have to stand up and wage war.
A shoot to Kill policy has its merits. Yes, many will be killed – some innocent – but such is the situation in war. Uganda, Rwanda, and some Asiatic countries have implicitly had this policy and they are among the safest havens – Ask anyone who goes there or lives there. The cities in which human rights are upheld fanatically, are among the worst in terms of violent crime records – South Africa, New York…
By the way, in old Africa – and old America and old Europe – violent crime; indeed crime in general was rare because it was dealt with viciously and swiftly. A chicken thief was flogged in public, a violent man lost his property and in many cases the punishment was capital – flogged, killed etc. Barbaric, maybe but effective.
I say, lets deal with this issue in a barbaric way and do away with such nonesense. But I also say, we must look at the issue of the economic disparity and the optimism and hope that goes with that as well as – for God’s sake, Close those borders conclusively.