Kindiki scours city, leaves goons without hideouts or handouts

Interior and Security Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Interior Security Cabinet Secretary, Prof Kindiki Kithure, is a diligent professional. So, when he was routed-I hesitate to use the term "rigged"-out of Kenya Kwanza's running mate contest, he momentarily retired from elective politics.

But then, he bounced back, sooner than later, taking the Interior Security docket. Kindiki has been on the move since, touring different parts of the country to "assess" the security situation. Last week, his speech in Kitui was punctuated by gunfire-a mocking "gun-salute" from gun-bearing goons.

Kindiki admitted that the act was intended to provoke him, but he kept his cool. This week, Kindiki showed up in Nairobi, where broad daylight muggings blighted the city. It was a bright afternoon when the good professor stepped out of his airconditioned office to see for himself how the city was faring.

Having been taunted in Kitui, Kindiki had a barrage of officers surrounding him, itself a deterrence against attacks. And no one could accuse Kindiki for not working hard enough: the veins on his temples jutted out, clearly an overworked man, so he sat down to have his shoes shined.

For a moment, there was no one to attend to him, perhaps because no one felt fit enough to wipe his shoes. Ultimately, someone showed up and shined Kindiki's shoes.

Once done, someone stepped in to share some cash with the good minister, which he used to pay the shoe shiner. Alas, the man who cannot dare walk alone in the city also does not carry cash on him!

Then Kindiki spoke. A few weeks ago, he started, serious security concerns were raised by the citizens after their business was interrupted by gun and knife-wielding goons. The word "interrupted" suggests the goons knocking on the door, excusing themselves for brief introductions, before stating their mission to loot and shoot.

Consequently, Kindiki said he undertook "radical measures to restore normalcy a few days ago, two weeks ago..." So, how many days comprise the good professor's week?

He went on: Normalcy has returned as no crimes had been reported "around muggings and people being attacked using firearms and knives." Well, do those who suffer ngeta attacks, or have their bags snatched under the threat of having feaces smeared on their faces, count?

But that did not dampen Kindiki's enthusiasm. "I want to firmly and unequivocally confirm and warn that crime does not pay," he said. A firm equivocation of Kindiki's past as a legal mind. In the streets, this pontification came to nought.

"We're not leaving any time soon..." Kindiki promised, "We cannot surrender this city or this country to criminals. The Government cannot allow criminals to run roughshod over the citizens."

Glancing towards the top cops who dwarfed him, Kindiki warned: "Our people who are not committing any crimes should be treated humanely, with respect, because they are the people ...who put us in different roles and different offices."

Hmmm. That's strange. Why would the police engage with citizens who are not criminals "The only area we are not going to discuss," Kindiki went on, "is the criminals. Gangs and criminals, we have no discussion with them. We have no conversations with them."

Only moments earlier, Kindiki addressed the crooks directly. "If you think you have enough weapons and tactics to counter Government, I want to assure you have dialled the wrong number. We will look for you in your handouts-hideouts..."

If Kindiki thinks goons' hideouts are the city thoroughfares that he staked out this week, then he better prepare lots of handouts.

"We'll just do what the law requires us to do," he concluded. "And we'll put them where the law says criminals must be." After this fumble, he walked on.