An officer in the Administration Police is among others charged with offences under the Penal Code and the Sexual Offences Act, 2005. Several women have been viciously attacked in Nairobi, stripped naked, sexually assaulted and traumatised beyond imagination. The Deputy President called for the offenders to be arrested. The President wondered why we were taking cell-phone videos of the vicious attacks instead of intervening in force to rescue the victims. The Cabinet Secretary reiterated whet the Deputy President and President had said.
But isn't it curious that among the men participating actively in these vicious attacks are policemen? The Presidents propagandists have come out swinging regarding the rightness of the President's response to Kapedo, Mandera and the escalating cases of sexual assaults on women. They miss the point by a mile; if we, the people, are partners in crime-fighting with the forces of law and order, the forces of law and order cannot have armed men with a penchant for engaging in the very crimes that we would like to see fought and eradicated.
How would the Kasarani-based policeman have reacted when other cases of assault against women were reported to him? Would he, in police parlance, have swung in action leaving no stone un-turned to bring the offenders to book or would he have, in typical fashion, refused to officially take down the details of the complaint in the station Occurrence Book?
The National Police Service is broken, perhaps irreparably. It is unconscionable to pretend otherwise. Kapedo, if wild and speculative innuendo is to be believed, wouldn't have been that bad if the regular police had acted swiftly and flown to the rescue of the besieged Administration Police officers. But hours of radio traffic between Nairobi and the badlands of West Pokot/Turkana ended with twenty-three brave Kenyans bleeding in the dirt while their bosses in Nairobi twiddled their thumbs. Do you remember the vicious disgust expressed by the Recce Company's troopers after one of their own was gunned down by members of the Army's special forces during the Westgate siege? It seems that Kenya's security sector is imploding from within.
For sure Kenyans must trust someone some time. We must play our role in keeping our society safe and secure. But there are things that we simply cannot do. For example, many cultural tropes have been exploited to discriminate against Kenyans. Therefore, the tendency has been for Kenyans of one community to generally live in the same neighbourhood where the clash of cultures is abated and the camaraderie that comes with a common language, a common faith or faith tradition, common foods and common stories act as a bulwark in a harsh world. If one moves to a different neighbourhood, occupied by a different community, should the suspicious cultural differences that I have been primed to see as potential criminality be the foundation for my calling in the national police?
If I see a crime being committed, I will report it to the relevant authoorities. It is not my job to intervene. I am not trained to intervene. But if I can intervene safely, I shall do so. That is an obligation I will not shirk. But I am not Jack Bauer or John Rambo. I am not a US TV action figure. I am under no obligation to place my life in danger to stop the commission of an offence. That is the job for which we have forty thousand uniformed and armed policemen. If the President and his propagandists are incapable of appreciating this basic, fundamental fact, then all those hopeful dreams of turning the Kenya Police Force into the National Police Service (that incorporates the Administration Police) will turn to so much dust.