I was at work the other day, painting the map of Africa as my colleague helped sick children with puzzles. She suddenly stops and asks me why evil exists. I answered her without much thought that it’s because Satan is not dead yet. She then asks me why it is so yet God is supposed to be omnipotent and only good willing. Like, why can’t he prevent all this mess if he is really good? This time I smile and continue with my painting. My mind however wanders back to just how much people have wronged me, and how much I’ve wronged people and how much innocent people suffer in the hands of ill meaning perpetrators. That is why I want to point out at some forms of brutality Kenyans are facing in this day and age.
We all know that it is the governments mandate to protect its citizens but our Kenyan government has failed tremendously in so many ways that I can only break down as follows;
Last month I found myself in cruel hands of Administration Police at Nyayo House when I was grabbed by the neck and pushed to fall in a City Council manhole full of electric wires. All this started when I arrived at the offices to collect my passport at around 4pm. The Policeman told me the offices were already closed so I questioned about the notice I had seen inside the offices urging members of the public to take advantage of the increased working hours up to 8pm. Instead of answering me, he started talking alone referring to me as a stupid person who can’t understand the simple term of ‘office closed.’ I asked why he was calling me stupid and that earned me the humiliation of the year and threats of my life. They also asked about of my tribe which added to the fury like gasoline in a bonfire.
City Council Brutality
Everyone has been a victim of these men and women in yellow or some faded ugly uniform. They dig huge holes just anywhere and leave them open for vehicles to get stuck in, water to clog in for breeding of mosquitoes or for children and drunkards to sink in never to walk again. They are always harassing poor men and women doing their business in town. Lucky ones run helter skelter leaving their wares scattered for people to step on as the unlucky ones are arrested and locked up in City Hall cells where taps let water in at night so they spend the night standing barefoot in ice cold water. The next morning they are asked for huge bribes or taken before shrewd Council courts and judged. The epitome of their brutality was when they arrested and mutilated the genitals of a young boy early this year.
This is a very common vermin in the country be it in the leafy villages of rural areas, dry lands of the North or in the streets of urban cities. They range from brutal carjackers who stab passengers on their way home to smart con men who take everything you have including your savings from your account to your bus fare leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Others are coward thieves who pickpocket or spy on unsuspecting people and run away with their property. I almost became a victim recently when I sat in a matatu from Westlands at night. I was dozing when someone tried to snatch my phone through the window but he missed. Still in the same matatu, the guy seated next to me slid his fingers in my pocket but wasn’t lucky because it was empty. The next morning, I realized my bag had been sliced in attempt to withdraw anything valuable, but nothing was missing because I only had my drumsticks there anyway. Many people have been killed at their homes in the hands of these thugs including the most recent killing of Kenya’s elite photographer Mr. Greeves Cook.
This is brutality from citizens to their fellow citizens. It’s mostly administered on social crime offenders such as thieves to an extent of killing by stoning or burning. But some mobs have been attacking ladies deemed to have dressed inappropriately by stripping them of their little pieces of materials. Others are homophobes who attack people with different sexual orientations!
The late Prof. Wangari Maathai once said that matatus are not democratic spaces. It’s true. Touts aka makangas dictate which matatus or buses leave the stations, the intervals at which they leave, how many passengers get in, the amount of money you pay ( which is always doubled if you are lucky, otherwise its tripled) and when inside, they decide the music you listen to and sometimes where you alight!
Once they get home, some Kenyans face fresh atrocities from the people they live with. Many children suffer physical and mental abuse at home from their parents or guardians. We’ve seen children bruised or burned at home. Some wives also are abused by their husbands even to extreme cases as death. Husband also are not spared out as we have seen in the recent past, large numbers of married men coming out to testify that their wives beat them at home!
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the society we have. There are places I haven’t mentioned because I would have to conduct extensive and delicate research, but I can tell you places like prisons, schools, churches and places of work are hubs of and dens of brutality.
"And if you didn’t know now you know’’-Notorious BIG