Crime and punishment: How Police Inspector is shining light on the wilds of Laikipia

I received a call early in the week that an outdoor light that I had installed in a remote reach of our land had been stolen. No, I am not a rancher, although I have neighbours who are, and can afford chartered planes to hop from point A to point B. I endure potholes and rough roads.

My modest dream is to not keep animals, wild or domesticated, but to spend the rest of my life facing Mt Kenya, as did our ancestors, or writing, to invoke Ben Shahn's lithographs based on Rainer Maria Rilka's poetry, "for the sake of a single verse."

That sounds convoluted: Reading poetry inspired by lithographs inspired by poetry, to create new poetry, facing Mount Kenya. So, let's start from the beginning: I was in Laikipia some weeks back, where I left an outdoor light shining, mainly to scare elephants from trampling on the tree seedlings in the ground.

But a bold thief, unscared of the elephants descended, without trampling on the seedlings and yanked off the light so the farm was plunged into darkness.

"The light is gone, but I have a suspect," said the young man who takes care of the farm. I rang the police at Kiamariga and reported the matter. Within 24 hours, Inspector Mutiria reported they had nabbed the suspected thief and the man who had purchased the stolen light. The stolen light was also recovered.

"How do we proceed?" asked the inspector. The suspected crook is a young man whose life oscillates around chewing muguka. I rang his father. How do we rehabilitate this young man, without subjecting him to our criminal justice system?

We decided to ask the two crooks to restore the light from where they had grabbed it and have them commit to guarding it against future risks of theft. That's the wisdom from Inspector Mutiria, who also committed to keep close tabs on the duo. We need more Mutirias at the National Police Service.