The Police vs. The People Part 2: “Inspection”


Like I said in Part 1, my cab guy works small miracles for a small fee. I’m never mad to pay him; he earns every single penny. It also helps that he’s hopelessly honest and pretty damn focused. 20 something with several cars in several cities; you can’t hate on that if you tried.

So that Friday morning, he was getting his insurance papers sorted out; all those PSV stickers that make no sense to the layman. He then took his car for servicing and spared no expense ensuring his vehicle was up to standard.
The good thing about sober, focused taxi drivers is that they know exactly how to avoid trouble; it’s not by driving faster or using the backroad. It’s not by bribery or lying. It’s by doing your job and shutting up.

By 10am, he was done with ensuring his vehicle was legal and up to par and running checks on his other cars and drivers. He drove out of Adams and before he got to the roundabout, a lady flagged him down.
“Tao.”
She didn’t say anything beyond that. So he began driving towards town. When he got to the Kenyatta avenue round-a she said “Globe Cinema”. She wasn’t chatty and had no intention of playing nice. He didn’t mind. Halfway up K-Ave, his phone rang to life. It was me. I explained my conundrum and he calmed me down and told me he’d send someone.

He calls his friend and sends him my way. Right at that time, he sees a waving black baton being flailed by a chubby officer of the law. Continue reading

The Police vs. The People Part 1: “Operation”


It was 10am on a Friday in a busy dusty Nairobi. The sun was shining just bright enough to provide camouflage for the bone rattling chill. And it did so expertly; the treacherous glow had however convinced the masses to underdress.
But not I, Popeye. I anticipated this deceit and layered up.

I can’t stop glancing at my watch doing mental mathematics: I was meant to have an appointment at 11am at a hotel in Gigiri and had just gotten out of one in the CBD. Unlike the wealthier lot of you, my chauffeur was not waiting for me at the door when I came out, but instead at the bus stop where I was headed. ‘If I hop on a 106 or a 107 I’d make it to that area in 20 minutes or less and be half an hour early.’ So I stroll leisurely towards the stage.

10:20am: I’m waiting for a Matatu so we can leave.

Then I realize “Hey, I’ve never had to wait for one of these.” Continue reading