Tuesday, September 04, 2007

adventures of economic boom

about a week ago Friday, i experienced what would put the reality TV programs to shame. It just started after i decided it was time to benefit from the kibaki economy and acquire an image boosting state of the art automobile with superior road handling, performance, comfort et al (ok am pushing that a little...) Well, so i come home after spending a few more Kenyan shillings and while am waiting for the gate to be oppened, what do i hear? a metallic tap on the drivers window, before i can breathe i hear another on the left and am being asked if i know what those tools are for. i nod and mumble yes to both questions and i can also see our guard being man handled. before i know it, i have been bundled in the back seat next to the watchie and the car is zooming on the rough stretch that went to our estate. interestingly, i had passed two armed policemen about 50 meters from where i was robbed of the car, and now again the thugs have driven past them without even a flinch. they are warning me against pressing any button or screaming or doing anything related to raising alarms. the watchie has been asked how many they are, whether there are alarms etc. i am trying not to do anything to offend these enterprising young men of kibaki administration. they are simply reaping the benefits of improved economic environment. we turn onto tarmac, drive a few metres then onto another rough road, they are going fast. in fact they are simply demonstrating to me how good this machine is. i got value for my money! after a long, rough drive where my thoughts have gone from my lovely kids, to my wife , my funeral and the pain of seeing this new car take such a beating, we stop and they declare that they have nothing to do with the watchie. its me they want. they have already asked about my marital status, number of kids, job description,level of education, salary and allowances,when do we get paid,the cost of car and mode of acquisition

At the bush where we have stopped, my pockets have been emptied.my ATM cards taken and i have been forced to jot down my PIN number at gun point. then one of the young men has given me a torch and asked me to look for more money in the car and hand over to them. no more. but now they look at my fingers and order me to remove the wedding ring with my wife's name on it. these guys can easily see gold. so the leader tells me he is now going to withdraw the money , the other two thugs guard us in the coffee plantation. meanwhile they are communicating with each other thanks to safaricom; confirming if everything is alright and the money has been withdrawn.

after what seems like eons, the guy is back and we start off again to God knows where. twists, turns, high speed, reversing. hills, gulleys, mounds, rough road, smooth road...! we stop again and they are now removing my original kenwood stereo. they have no screw driver. funny thugs. by this time both the guard and myself have been bundled in the boot of the car. after some struggle they ask me for a screw driver which i helpfully give to them. they then remove my stereo and we are on again. back to tarmac and we drive for eons. we are meanwhile in the boot with the old man. i never knew my six-foot-two figure could fit in the boot but the gun just showed me it was possible. actually the boot ride was rather comfortable. the car must have very good suspension. again we stop. am thinking this must be somewhere in nyeri of thika. since we have been driving for nearly two hours at top speed and the car has been handling the ride well. two of them step out. there is one of them who keeps on being bullied by the other two. he is not allowed to be near them and they keep ordering him about. i can pick a few words of the thug tongue. we lie in the boot for like donkey years. each time i try to turn, i hear warning that i will be shot!

well then all of a sudden the boot opens rudely and we are told to get out. "Walk that way straight on and you will reach the road" they offer. "and mzee, we dont really want your car, we will give it back to you. dont look for it too much. we will leave it at Limuru golf club"

we start off and realize we are in deep inside a forest with very tall trees. we are thanking the Lord all along for our lives. we dont know where we are going or where we are. straight on. we get a gate secured with a padlock. so we go round and climb the fence. further on we meet another fence and climb only to end up at a fast flowing river. after much struggle and search we get a make shift bridge and use it across. finally we end up at another tall fence this time unsurmountable. we trace our steps again and get another fence , lower than the other. we have been walking for about 45 minutes. we climb this fence and land into a home. Hell! the curse of Murphy. from the pan unto the fire. 4 ferocious dogs come charging. their loud backs alone have turned me into jelly. they are very big. but the guard tells me that the dogs wont attack if we slouch and remain still. i couldn't believe that but upon doing like the guard said. the dogs stop at their 'paws' but continue backing like their life depends on it. finally the watchie in the home comes slowly and asks who we are, we tell the guy our story but he doesn't believe us. he goes back and presses the alarm. before long, the patrol has come. we tell our story again and they take us to the police.

The police station is empty. do we knock shout or what? we wait and finally one officer comes and asks us our problem. we tell our story. the guy takes about 1 hour recording the incidence. but he says he cannot 'circulate' the car because he is not the duty officer. that thing can only be done by the duty officer who is out at the moment we must wait for him. its now going to 6AM. the guy aint coming. the car hasn't been circulated and i can imagine that if the thugs wanted to take the car to tanzania, they must be in namanga by now. the guards who had been good samaritans to us declare that their limit of their kindness has arrived and they can no longer wait with us. they had wanted to take us home once we report the crime. so they leave us at the station where we wait for one more hour and the duty officer is still not arrived yet. finally i decide to get 911 to take me home so that i can tell my family whats up and come back later (by the way 911 is very handy in case of trouble) just at that time the duty officer comes and starts asking me the questions all over again. after listening to our story, he declares that the area where we were car jacked in not in his jurisdiction and so he cannot take any action! am speechless. i stare at the man blankly but he intones that i must go to the police station near my place of residence where the crime took place and report. i don't reply and i just stare blankly at him like a fool. he then tells me he will just help anyway and he then talks onto the radio to the other policemen to tell them about he robbery. after that am told to come later for the police abstract.
after just an hour, i go to my friends house near the station, we get a call that my car is at the traffic headquarters. i go there and they even give me the description of the thugs who took my car. the police tells me even where to get my stereo. where it will be sold etc. but they want chai for the chief who found the car in park road. another chai is needed for the police who went for it. and a third chai for the wazee who are going to sit after work! well thats after paying for towing. i thought i told these guys that i was robbed of the money i had plus some from two banks?

anyway am happy to be re-united with my car and all i want is get home and rest. its now 12 midday. retrieving the car from the police took about 4 hours. bureaucracy. no sooner do i get into the car than i realize that i am very very hungry!


  1. Thank God you came out of it alive. But sorry man. Did you manage to get your Stereos and the guy who stole them?

  2. @ka-investor, nope! i haven't tried to go to the shop yet. i also don't know whether the police got them. but they seemed to know the thugs coz they gave me an exact description of each one of them!

  3. Pole sana Odegle. At least we're not burying you. Look at the police! My goodness, it it complacency, inhumanity or insensitiveness? So disappointing. Anyway God loves you much.

  4. Od, I am very sorry to read about what you through. Thank God for His protection. What has dehumanised our cops so much? Don't they have brothers/sisters/mothers/children? Is it dealing with Kenyans?

  5. Anyway, even if you don't get them stereos back, atleast you've got back your not very state-of-the-art automobile and your dear life. You can still build what they have destroyed. keep us up-dated on the incompetent police hunt for the petty thieves. Hope they are not playing games on you, they are fond of doing that. Talk of adding insults to injury!

  6. Wow! That's the one thing that scares the bejesus out of lots of diasporans. Thank God you made it alive. You need a vacation, where can I send my donations?

  7. Odegle, I always look forward to your adventures, but this near death experience not only shocked me, but infuriated me. I'm glad you lived to tell what happened. And lived to return to your family. Where are we headed in Kenya if we can't enjoy the fruits of our own labor. If every hooligan out there believes they deserve a piece of our years of hard work. I almost think these thugs were cops. The cops seem to know too much about them and even where the radio was going to be sold. This smells very fishy!
    A crucial part of a growing economy is investment in an efficient security system. Our police system needs to be revamped. I don't understand why this has not been a forefront issue in parliament. Hang in there man. We are so glad you're here today.

  8. @catch-up, thank you. am also happy to be alive it was near death actually. each time they opened any door, i expected gun shots! and i think the thugs know the police operations quite well. they looked rather confident even as we passed those two policemen on patrol

  9. @mainat, one frustrated cop actually whispered to me that some of their bosses 'eat' with the thugs. in fact he told me that was the reason they sometimes shoot thugs during a raid. since arresting them does no good. once arrested, the senior officers help them to escape from remand even before arraignment in court!

    @ka-investor, i doubt the police will bother to look for them. they told me my car was the 8th that had been dumped in this very place in so many weeks. its always the same chief who reports the incidence. this particular time the chief reported that the car was dumped at about 4:30AM in the morning. i wonder how come the chief was up at that time and how he came to conclusion that the car was dumped and not packed by its owner!

  10. @diaspora, i know the feeling. it is truly scary and true i need an vacation. i hope you will send the donations! thank you

    @no-spin, many people have told me that the thugs may have been cops. for one, most of the cops at the traffic headquarters live in park road near the place where my car was found. secondly , another cop told me they knew the coffee plantation and the forest where i was dumped. he said the thugs are always doing that. third, i wonder why they were so casual about the whole thing

  11. Odegle:

    I am so sorry to hear this misfortune. It is a testament to God's grace that you suffered no bodily harm.

    I would tend to agree w. no-spin. If those officers were that non-chalant about helping you, how did they come up with the vital details so quickly? And all they asked for was chai? I am almost inclined to feel that they know much more than they have led you to believe...But at the end of the day it is your well being that really matters-right?


    I hear you on Diasporians being afraid from stories like that. But most times I am led to think it should be the other way around and folks should be more carfeul upon visiting certain places in the States, due to the rampant crime. If you are in the States you know what I mean. Think about it, how many times do we hear about one get robbed in the States and suffering no bodily harm?

    To sum it up, I have been to Kenya and found no reason to be so wary as to not return. Of course all -places have their own shortcomings, and their own upside but such is life-isnt it.

  12. @Benin, very well put really.

    @coldi, nishapoa. am very thankful for my life.

  13. Dude,
    Nice write up. Pole that it's a reality. Glad that you were safe. What is 'thug language'? I've been driving for the last few weeks (company car) but you've reminded me of the sad reality of the security situation.

  14. OD: Does anyone in Kenya sell bulletproff windows/glass?

  15. @mwasjd, thug-tongue? got to hear it to know!

    i dont know whether one can be careful enough. its clear that the kibaki administration has provided us with a very good economic development but its also clear that he has not ensured our security or even safety on the roads. accidents are also on the rise if you havnt noticed. yesterday i heard the PS saying that 'only' 30 people are being killed in car accidents every week!

    @coldi, am not sure but as Kenya goes you may even find that its aint legal!

  16. Pole baba kwa kutekwanyara ni majambazi.


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