Utumishi Kwa Wote

Every time I see a cop, I tense up. It’s reflex. And no, it’s not just because of my hair.

It’s more because somewhere in my Kenyan life, I realised that cops were far more scary than thugs.

Some weeks back, Maina Kageni was promoting Safcom’s latest offer on Matatu FM. Something about Opera Mini, 10MB, and 8 bob. He asked guys to call in and explain how and why they use it.

This one guy called in. He was very eloquent, spoke pretty good English with a bit of slang thrown in. I think he might have been from Buru [don’t ask me why].

I was paying attention until he said he was a cop. Apparently, he uses his Safcom to browse while he works.

The only part that Maina heard was ‘cop’. He immediately diverted to ‘Afande vipi’  mode, and the previously polished cop downgraded to the Kiganjo accent. He and Maina carried a two-minute dialogue in full policeman register, complete with the mixtures of Cs and Gs. It should have been quite funny, but I just got upset. Continue reading

The Police vs. The People Part 3: “Detention”

For those who missed it, here are Part 1: “Operation” & Part 2: “Inspection”. This particular narrative is a continuation For those who’ve been keepin up, thank you and I promise it’s almost over.

So I got done sulking around the same time matatus resumed their routes. Ironically, however, I had managed to get myself alternate transportation at this point. My consigliere and her man had a car and were heading in my general direction, so I ungraciously hitchhiked.

As we neared my destination, my mind was afloat; I reminisced about previous encounters with law enforcement and drowned in a pool of self-pity. Police hate me. This is a conspiracy. Blah Blah….I barely remember getting out of the car. Once I did however, I remember my phone buzzing. I reached into my pocket and saw my cab driver’s name marqueeing across the screen.

A few minutes later, I was helping him push his vehicle to it’s normal resting place as it had run out of fuel after his own, more hectic, encounter with Johnny Law earlier that day. Continue reading


Excuse me as I step away from African issues for 5 minutes.

Who remembers the Sean Bell shooting? For those of you who were unaware, this is basically what happened. Some cops shot yet another unarmed innocent Black man 50 times. Wait, it’s not that simple. Let me give you the “facts”.

Sean was at a bachelor party with some friends in Jamaica, Queens, New York. This was around Thanksgiving 2006, so spirits were high all across the country. Being that this was a bachelor party, the usual shenanigans were in full effect: strippers, booze, strippers, cigars, booze and strippers. As the story goes, undercover police were at the very same club Bell was, investigating rumors of a prostitution ring or something. Continue reading