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Cartels thrive in filth and confusion, just like roddents

By Ted Malanda | May 3rd 2021
You don’t have to gun down or jail brokers and cartels. [Courtesy]

In the 1990s, I was a frequent user of Machakos Bus Station.

Each visit filled me with trepidation. The place was a war zone. Battle-scarred and toothless goons, high on weed and poor upbringing, would espy a potential passenger from 100 metres away and charge in their direction yelping like dogs on heat.

One would seize you by the leg, another by the scruff of the neck, and frog-march you to a bus that appeared nearly full, but whose ‘passengers’ were idlers paid to idle. In the process, you would be separated from your luggage, spouse, children and wallet – sometimes for good.

Then you would discover an hour too late that the bus that was supposed to be heading to Chepilat in the direction of Kisii was instead roaring towards Garissa. Refund your bus fare? Are you nuts?

The bus stop teemed with all manner of conmen, roaming around like hungry goats. There stood a public toilet in a corner that was crawling with so much vermin and human waste that experienced travellers learned to keep the piss. I would also wager that nearly all the men who ‘worked’ there had a knife hidden in their underpants, and that they had been knifed once or twice.

Machakos Bus Stop should have been cordoned off as a crime scene, never mind that there was a full-fledged police post on the grounds. Instead, it became a habitat for cartels who thrived because of the confusion, madness and filth that seeped from every pore.

Like Maj Gen Badi of Nairobi Metropolitan Services and a digitised Lands Registry will demonstrate, you don’t have to gun down or jail brokers and cartels. Just clean up the filth, and they will, like alley cats, rats and flies, scamper to the next CDF project.


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