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Tale of two Kenyas as goons take over city, others holiday

Police officers on patrol. [File, Standard]

Let’s call it a season of so many hungers and it’s got nothing to do with Kenya Kwanza’s politics of unga. Well, perhaps it does, given that the timelines for the delivery of subsidised unga has been pushed to a year, from the projected 90-days during campaign season. So, hungry Kenyans are urged to defer their hungers until then.

But then, there is another side of the country that has yet to experience hunger, and I’m not talking about the folks in Nyandarua and other food baskets, where food is being fed to the cows, or left to rot in the farm, because it’s not possible to take it to the market due to impassable roads and inter-county taxes.

Don’t be surprised if the latter factors are invoked to justify importation of GMOs into the country—because it will be offered “free” and will be tax-exempt.

Don’t get me started on GMOs, so let’s focus on the well-fed Kenyans who are, apparently, feasting as though there is no tomorrow. Actually, there is a tomorrow, so they have booked all available seats on the Mombasa-bound Madaraka Express, until the New Year.

If I may digress away from food matters, just momentarily, I think all Chinese-built roads and rail have “express” in their brands— the Nairobi Expressway, the Madaraka Express—even though they dump you in the middle of nowhere, so your commute is not exactly express. You have to wade through mud.

Anyway, Kenyans who have enough to eat for today and perhaps have a little more to spare for tomorrow have packed their families into the Madaraka Express for the foreseeable future, so airfares have doubled.

We’re assuming, of course, that no smart Joe is hoarding the tickets with the intention of selling them offline for profit. Our country is always like that.

Yet, such profiteering would be considered small-time crime, by some measure. The spate of crime in our land in recent days is astonishing. A man strolls to a carpark and opens his car. He’s barely seated when a gun-brandishing goon steps in and throws him out, casts his pockets inside out and casually walks away.

Elsewhere, a damsel walking through a market is similarly ambushed and her handbag snatched, all in broad daylight.

It was this sort of mayhem that we highlighted, only early this month, following a brief sojourn in the mountain. And it appears things will get worse before they get better. The incoming police chief, Japhet Koome, has given armed goons a month to surrender their guns. I didn’t know such armistice also applies to criminals.

Unsurprisingly, the men and women in fatigues have been ushered in our streets, although we had been promised that the army would return to the barracks, as Prezzo Bill Ruto had promised Kenya is not a military state.

I suppose it’s better to be a military state than gangland. And goons need know they do not have a monopoly of guns. Soldiers ordinarily do not have rules of engagement with the outlaws. The police might opt to engage them for kitu kidogo.

So, where do we go from here? We have a government in charge and we have been reminded, time and again, that the new administration stands for law and order. I suppose it’s time to use that journalistic dictum: show, don’t tell. All we can see for now is a tale of two Kenyas and there is no telling how this story will end.