Nairobi News writer’s nasty encounter with rogue council askaris
It was last Friday morning and I had just arrived in town carrying my handbag and a carton full of books.
Two shabbily dressed men with bloodshot eyes -they looked like they were nursing a heavy hangover- stopped me. Having been a victim of conmen and thieves, I refused to stop or even look at them twice.
I actually walked faster. They paced past and stopped in front. “Mbona mnakuanga na madharau hivo, sisi ni kanjo na tunakusimamisha unakataa kusimama?” said one.
I put down my relatively heavy carton and prepared to put up a good fight with these people who looked like thugs.
They told me that they wanted to check my luggage, which I protested. Furiously. I told them I would allow them only when they display their identification cards.
ARREST THIS GIRL
“How do I know you are not thieves?” I asked, almost shouting. People started gathering. I was getting worked up by the second. My question didn’t sit well with them and one asked the other if he had handcuffs.
“We need to arrest this girl, she is so rude. She must be carrying bomb that is why she doesn’t want her luggage checked,” he said.
All this time, I stood there unmoved. I had decided that there was no way they were going to inspect my luggage if they don’t display their work badges.
I told them to stop wasting my time and gave them two choices: Either let me go or arrest me. I actually tried to clear my way and move but one of them held my handbag. Only a thug would do that –not a law-enforcement officer.
I hit him with my right hand to let him off my handbag. The curious onlookers applauded. “You are not going anywhere,” one of the kanjos shouted at me in Swahili. Shortly, a Nairobi City Council van arrived and I was ordered to board. I obliged.
“We’re going to take you to Central Police Station. Ushalala jela wewe? Utalala leo. Msichana mdogo na vile uko na kisirani. Kwani umetoka Nyeri” he retorted.
TEACH ME A LESSON
I just kept on laughing at their threats as they continued to say how they would teach me a lesson that would never forget.
As we approached Central, I removed my staff badge and threatened to call my boss and tell him my experience with them.
I never thought it’d work magic. Never before have I seen grown men tremble in fear. And just like that, the whole scenario changed.
Suddenly, I was in control. “Madam usikasirike unajua sisi tunafanya kazi yetu. Utashukia hapa?” one of them asked.
I, however, stubbornly insisted on being booked in at the police station. Cornered, they drove into the station and signaled a police officer and forlornly told him: “Deal na huyu msichana”.
“Msichana enda shughuli zako,” the policeman told me after he opened the carton and found books.
Well, the whole rebellion thing took more than an hour of my time but it was worth it. I couldn’t have allowed them to harass me just like that. No way.
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