By S G N
I read the story of man who lost his wife and a newborn, because they had to stay the night, hoping against hope that she can survive the labour pains until the following day…
When police are under express order, it is hard to reason with them.
We saw people jumping a fence to escape being forcefully quarantined. So far the theories we have include a) they are being forced to pay Sh 56,000 for their two weeks accommodation at the KMTC facilities. Some claim, they were wrongfully arrested before the 7 p.m. curfew and refused to bribe their way out. Either way, what we know some young men are in the loose, and quite unlikely they will stay in the same place for fear of being tracked down and paying even a higher premium.
But in 2020, why do we have such a complicated relationship with the police? As in the Britons who left us such a dark legacy of policing have been gone for nearly 57 years. How hard it is to have a system in place run with some bit of professionalism? How can we overhaul the whole thinking enterprise of the police from being merely stooges of plantation owners to live down to their creed: Utumishi kwa Wote.
I was once arrested about a year after the new constitution was put in place. I was fresh out of campus and the university ujinga was still fresh in my head. I tried to protest then the young female DO, most recently appointed told me, “acha kizungu mingi, mimi nitakuandikia kitu hata haiko kwa hiyo Katina ama haujawahi sikia!”
That statement, coming from a young, educated woman broke my heart. Here we had a problem that not even a constitution could fix. I really hoped that Will Mutunga as a CJ with a background in the civil society will fix such a cavalier attitude but what I saw in the court that day made me bleed for this country.
The safest thing is to avoid the police kabisa.
Kenya still remains a plantation. The country exists purely for extractive purposes. I don’t if in my life time we will have cleaner police cells, better vehicles owned by the kanjo to arrest offenders, not those caged monsters that are not safe to carry even sick birds.
The thinking behind the terrible treatment of those arrested is that, the cells and the treatment should act as a sufficient deterrent. It is so shallow.
For one, our life on earth is so limited. So short. Already living is such a pain. We should everything to lessen the pain. When you arrest someone, what you are limiting is his or her freedom. The time and money they lose are painful enough and nobody is rich enough who may want to go to a cell if we made them at least comfortable.
Other countries like Netherlands and Finland have overcome the pettiness of treating each other like crap. And their citizens are some of their happiest in the world. We live in the same world. They made a choice to make their countries livable.
You may say, yeah, but they are rich. But you will be shocked, materially, there is nothing they own that we don’t. They are rich because they treat each other like human beings. And we are poor because we treat each other like dogs.
The police system will be reformed when people with a better software will take charge of the country.
I have seen police bosses who have cultivated good relationships with the communities where they work and it always works like magic. Something that is worth emulating.