Kenyans love treating symptoms. It makes us sleep better at night. We rarely talk about the disease, the disease scares us. It is why Mara Moja is so popular. Just pop a few pills in the system, no questions asked and let’s go on with life.
It is the same mentality we have adopted when dealing with crime. We see a boy lurking in the alleys and we automatically say,
‘Kill all those buggers, wametuangaisha sana hii mtaa.’
‘Si wange enda kazi za mjengo waache uwizi kama hawataki kuuliwa.’
Such blanket statements irritate me. Especially with the recent extrajudicial killings of the two teenage boys (allegedly they are 15 and 16). At the time the policeman was taking the shot the second kid was unarmed! So when we are saying they should have been killed because we have been robbed before what we are saying is
a) one ‘thief’ should carry the sins of those who came before him.
b) If we kill a killer we are not killers
What am I saying?
We are sitting in these glass houses of ours assuming that one day we may not find ourselves on the other side of a police gun. We are holy, sanctified by our good education and fancy English assuming the barrels of police guns will differentiate when it matters. We forget we will one day have sons and they may find themselves on the wrong side of the barrel and the men in blue will shoot first and ask questions later.
So let us don our righteous masks to hide the fact that deep down we are killers. If we are not, try explaining why we are the first ones to run for the matches when a thief is being set ablaze.
No, killing a thief is not riding the world of evil it is replacing one with a mob. You are part of a mob, therefore, YOU ARE A KILLER! What you are saying with your proclamation of ‘Burn them ALL’ is that a sixteen year old’s blood rushing down the streets excites you! The sad part is that you are not even ashamed to acknowledge it.
Start with the questions: Why is it that young boys between 15-20 (kids who should be thinking of hitting on their first girlfriends or how to pass their English paper two exams) are PLAYING hardened criminals?
Why is it easy for them to mug, steal and kill instead of dreaming of a corner office?
Those are questions we don’t want to ask.
‘Hawa watu wa human rights hawajawahi vamiwa na wezi.’ We say instead.
We have been mugged a couple of time, a gun has been shoved up our asses on other times so we have come out to attack people who are saying it is wrong to practice an eye for an eye. Unfortunately, killing 16-year-olds and throwing a party on their graves does not make our experiences less painful. So why are we doing it?
We are frustrated but we do not know where to aim our anger and frustrations.
We are frustrated but we do not know where to aim our anger and frustrations. We want a ‘chief Thief’ to carry the cross of all thieves. Someone we can crucify and forget about our failings as human beings. someone we can blame for all the sins of the world. But isn’t our anger misplaced?
Indulge me for a minute…
I appreciate the fact that people have been killed by criminals around here and they want retribution. But people have also been killed by husbands and wives. I have never heard anyone say, ‘Oh that husband stabbed his wife, let us also stab him.’
At what point do we say ‘Kill that one killer and leave the other?’ When is one killer better than the other?
I will tell you when!
The only time one killer is better than another is when money and education is involved!
You don’t believe me, then let’s talk. How many times have we heard politicians being named in Killings? Do we shout from our rooftops for them to be killed too? Why then are we quick to shout that a boy with no gun at the time of his death deserved to be shot at close range just because ‘Tumechoka na hawa wezi.’
We are quick to join in this erotic chant of ‘Kill them so that they learn’ because they come from the wrong side of the tracks. It could also be because the people saying they should be killed know them. The same people who turned a blind eye when the boys were being initiated now want to play a part in their punishment. Again, the killer mentality kicks in as they bay for the blood of the criminals they have helped rear. Utter hypocrisy!
The only reason we are not coming for you is because you are hiding behind the warped notion of justice in your head that prevents you from seeing yourself as a killer.
The only reason we are not coming for you is because you are hiding behind the warped notion of justice in your head that prevents you from seeing yourself as a killer. If you live in a poor neighborhood and you are not a ‘bright’ student what else are you left with? The mjengo job which people are going on and on about has a cap on the number of people it employs. You have no technical skill to speak off and walking to industrial area for a one hundred job makes no sense when you are thinking of buying maize meal. Besides, you are sixteen! Life is supposed to be easy when you are sixteen judging from your Facebook feed and the movies on TV. The hard part is one of those adults will show you how to make easy cash. People expect you to walk away from crime however they do not offer an alternative.
Someone has definitely failed this society but the blame should not be placed on a teenager’s shoulders.
Now, let’s talk about the part we ‘righteous folks have bypassed.
The basis of humanity is hinged on reform. It is why you take back your cheating husband, Why you still go to the same church where the father has molested young kids. Because if we did not believe in reform and second chances, we would be all blind from poking each other’s eyes out.
ASK YOURSELF: Why are we so dead set against these young boys reforming?
Because if we talk of reform we will be forced to talk about alternative forms of getting money. We will have to talk about youth unemployment. We will have to talk about our politicians robbing us blind and lord knows we do not care about politics! So we shelve the talks and revert to treating the symptoms. Yet we do not even consider other options for treating the symptoms. That is the main problem of focusing on symptoms.
If as a society we are shouting from the rooftop to Kill sixteen-year-olds we should be in the forefront talking about punishing forty-year-olds with swollen stomachs and offshore accounts. Accounts full of money siphoned from education funds for poor sixteen-year-old boys. Accounts full of foreign aid money that leads to National debt that keeps piling up year after year. This you know will definitely lead to the gap between poor and rich widening and the rise of crime. So in the next couple of years, your son may be that 16-year old’s bullet-riddled boy.
See, the cycle starts with the fat men and YOU! There is your disease! BUT we don’t want the disease, we have our Mara moja in terms of police guns and mob justice so why would we care about the disease?
Treating symptoms does not mean eliminating the disease, it simply enables you to ignore it until it finally kills you.
Make no mistake, it will kill you!