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Where a slap is worth Sh30,000

STUDIES
By | August 30th 2010

By Boniface Gikandi

For a casual observer, Githurai 44 Estate looks like an ordinary low-income neighbourhood.

But tales from the estate reveal a place of sin bred out of deceptive relationships.

Rumoured to be the home to many commercial sex workers and matatu crew, life is easy since lunch can cost Sh10, this being Sh5 githeri and an avocado. Breakfast is equally cheap since there is tea and mandazi for Sh10.

This is perhaps the only place where a simple slap on an irritant can cost an exorbitant of Sh20,000 instead of a court fine or a jail sentence.

It is perhaps also the only place where a police P3 form has been commercialised and it is acquired in collusion with police officers who sell it at Sh200 each.

Residents told Crazy Monday that unemployed women in the estate acquire the P3 forms and then roam the estate in a foul mood in search of people to annoy and create confrontation. If any man happens to slap the woman or shove her aside, she rushes to a clinic claiming injury.

Bodily harm

"They pay Sh100 to have the P3 form filled ascertaining there was actual bodily harm inflicted on the woman and take it to either Kasarani or Kiamumbi Police Stations paving way for an arrest," reveals Richard Waweru who has been a victim.

Once arrested, he adds, the investigating officer who is part of the conspiracy intimidates the ‘suspect’ insisting he will be jailed for a long period and it is better to solve the case with the complainant outside the courts.

"You then have to bargain your way out and depending on your financial ability. The out of court settlement ranges between Sh10,000 to a high of Sh30,000," he adds.

Kiamumbi Police Station Commander William Koskey admits he has noted that there are now many cases involving the P3 forms.

False allegations

"We are now very keen on all cases involving a P3 document and when I notice the intention of the complainant is money, I dismiss the cases and also warn the complainant against giving false information to authorities," he says.

He says most of the cases involve cohabiting couples where if the woman wants to quit, she will device a way to get a "send off package" in form of money.

It is also common to be mugged, get conned by well-dressed people and access illicit drugs and liquor cheaply.

House rent in the estate averages Sh2,000 and Sh2,500 for a single room, therefore attracting low-income earners who prey on the average earners who can afford the self contained rooms that go for between Sh5,000 and Sh7,000.

A resident in the estate says it is very risky to walk home after 10pm and one is forced to hire an escort.

After 8 pm, a group of armed vigilantes appear at Uncle Sam stage to escort people home for cash. But they have been accused of being part of the criminals terrorising people in the area.

Residents are unanimous that Kiangiciri, Sonic, Rurii, Hilton and Kandash are the main trouble spots.

In case of power blackout, all businesses have to hurriedly close since gun-totting youths emerge and execute rapid raids.

"You need a manual to live here," quips Dennis Opiyo, a resident.

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