Monday, 29 July 2013

Tales From The Business End of Violent Crime…

One night in 2001, at around 3 am, I drove into an ambush laid out by thugs in a Nairobi estate. They had laid out a makeshift “roadblock” of huge rocks and the way they had set it up, you didn’t see it until you turned a corner and you were almost driving over it.

Luckily, my instincts took over and I was able to stop just before I was going to hit the rocks and disable the car. I immediately started reversing furiously in a bid to get out of the tight corner, and while I was doing that, I saw a bunch of men armed with what looked to be some kind of crude weapons come out from behind nearby vibandas.

Suddenly, I heard a loud bang and the sound of breaking glass before something hit my face and almost knocked me out. I was able to complete the reverse manoeuvre, and in the process almost ran over one of the thugs.

I didn’t know what had struck me because my face went completely numb, I suppose from all the adrenaline that was coursing through my body at that time. But by the time I got back on the main road, I knew I’d been seriously wounded. At first, I thought I’d been shot, but I couldn’t be sure.

But what had actually happened was that a huge rock had been thrown through the driver’s window and hit me smack on the face in a bid to disable me and make me an easy target for either a carjacking or murder.

I could feel the welling of blood in my mouth, and I begun to spit it out all over the inside of the car. It turned out that I was also spitting out pieces of broken teeth, glass and rock.

Then I knew shit had gotten real.

I was bleeding badly and I needed to get to a hospital before I went into shock from blood loss. I drove fast and furiously (yes, pun intended) to The Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi. Long story short, I stayed at that hospital for three days, during which I underwent maxillofacial surgery, also referred to in medical terms as “when surgeons try to repair damage to your face so that women don’t look away in horror while presumably trying hard to keep down the vomit that’s rising fast to their throat”.

I had a torn lower lip, broken teeth and a fractured lower jaw from which they had to remove pieces of bone they couldn’t fix. I was lucky that not much else was damaged. I was luckier that I’d gotten away with my life.

In later years, I would be the victim of two carjacking incidents, the last of which took place this past weekend.

That wasn’t my first brush with violent crime. One day, when I was ten or eleven years old, I was leaving school from holiday tuition when I was accosted by three chokoras, or parking boys (for those readers that aren’t Kenyan, that’s homeless boys for you). They wanted my shiny new watch that I’d just bought with some pocket money I’d saved.

Now, that watch was my first real possession and I really, really liked it. So what did I do? Instead of handing it over, I tried to explain to these kids why I wasn’t feeling their vibe, so one of them removed a stained dagger – stained, presumably from all the stabbings it had done - from his pocket and held the business end against my stomach. Needless to say, I was unable to tell you the time that evening if you’d asked me!

In 1997, I was thrown off the railway bridge between K/South and Umoja estates by four thugs, who then proceeded to follow me down there and violently robbed me of money, a leather jacket and brand new shoes. At the end of the ordeal, I had a deep wound in the head for which I had to get a number of stitches in hospital.

The following year, at my younger sister’s graduation party, someone fired a gun in a botched robbery at a nearby eatery. The bullet hit a wall, ricocheted and grazed one of our guests on the head!

A month or so after that incident, one of my neighbours drove into the common parking area in the estate I lived in. The time was 7.30 pm. Two men, one armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and the other a pistol, approached the car and ordered the occupants out. The driver complied, but his wife, for reasons no one was able to explain afterwards, was unable to exit the car.

I could see her husband, who had been made to lie on the ground pleading with her to get out and let them have the car. In my mind, this appeared to play on for a long time, though in reality it was just a couple of minutes. One of the gunmen, the one with the pistol got into the car and attempted to start the engine. Because it had a cut out switch, it wouldn’t start. And presumably out of rage, or just pure douchbaggery, he put the gun to the woman’s head and

Holy Mother of God

Pulled. The. Trigger!

Just shot her at point blank range in front of all of us, her neighbours. And then they walked away like it was just a bad day at the office where someone had forgotten to load the printer with fresh paper and now everyone was pissed!

I was the first person to reach her. Her head was lying against the seat’s head rest and I could see the exit wound on her head. There was blood and white stuff which I assume must have been fragments of her skull and brain matter. I undid her safety belt, and together with other people removed her from the car and put her in another. We then drove as fast as we could to The Aga Khan Hospital (yeah, that hospital seems to receive its fair share of victims of violent crime).

We knew she was dying; no one could survive a horrific injury like that, but what the hell were we going to do? Leave her to die in that car without trying to... I don’t know, do something?

She was pronounced dead on arrival.

This was the first violent killing of another human being that I had ever witnessed, and it shook me to the core! I could not believe what I had seen. It just didn’t seem possible that someone could be that merciless.

Oh, and did I mention that her young twin sons, who were about five years old were watching from a window in their house? And her daughter, who was just a few months old, was waiting for her mother so that she could suckle?

Just two weeks ago, I was woken up at 4 am by the sound of gunshots. They sounded like they were coming from right outside my gate. My neighbour called me to say that she was scared and her husband wasn’t home. I told her to gather her kids inside her bedroom, lock the door and holy shit do not peep outside your window. You know, just to avoid catching a really bad case of bullet-in-your-face syndrome. I hear it can really spoil your day!

The fierce exchange of gunfire went on for an hour and a half (remember this is happening right outside my gate, really interfering with my ability to go back to sleep!) before it stopped. Then we all came out of our houses to do a body count, only to discover to our utter disappointment that only two thugs had been shot.

Apparently, they had stolen a car elsewhere and had been chased by cops right into our estate, and because they were not familiar with the area, found themselves completely blocked and surrounded.

The estate I live in is not a joke. Everyone there is some kind of security agent, retired, or they just carry a gun for shits and giggles! Either way, you just don’t f@#&*%g commit crime! It’s kind of frowned upon.

Anyway, we found one of the thugs already dead. But the second one, man! This was a stubborn one. He just wouldn’t go quickly despite having been shot numerous times. He just kept rolling on the ground, bleeding all over our clean cabro and just simply... not dying!

We decided to smoke cigarettes (I don’t smoke) and talk about the Kethi Kilonzo saga while we waited for him give up. He asked for water, because apparently getting shot all over will make you really thirsty. One of my neighbours obliged him, but the water came out of what used to be his stomach and didn’t do him a whole lot of good. Eventually, he died.

In a rather hilarious incident, one of my friends found himself riding in the boot of his car twice in one week! Apparently, the idiots who carjacked him the second time didn’t get the memo that the deed had already been done to him.

There’s a law against being taken twice within a span of a few days. There is such a law, right? Right?


I really tried to get appropriate photos for this post, but I just couldn’t find any. The ones I found were, well... vomit inducing?

Monday, 8 July 2013

3 Ways In Which Homosexuality Is Kind Of Creepy

Now, I need to start with a disclaimer: I’m not a homophobe. Many dictionaries describe homophobia as the fear and hate of homosexuals and -

Oh, shit, I am a homophobe! No, just kidding!

Actually, I don’t hate homosexuals, and I most certainly do not fear them. But what I don’t get is how a man could possibly find another man sexually attractive. Honestly, that’s like the Six Million Dollar question I’ve had to grapple with all my life, and by that I mean since I discovered that girls were kind of nice to look at and to touch and to kiss and to – this is not some kind of porno entry, so look elsewhere you pervert.

But seriously though, like many heterosexual men all over the world, I find that I’m more forgiving and understanding and tolerant and maybe just a little, um… excited by thoughts of girl on girl action. This is a view shared by many men, right? Right?


Yeah, turn your backs on me you... betrayers! I know all your names. Also the woman's.

Is this a double standard? Absolutely. Do I care that I might be just a little bit of a hypocrite about this? Absolutely not.

My interest in the subject has been rekindled by the events in the US in the week that President Barack Obama - I shall call him by his middle name, Hussein, for the rest of this article just because - was visiting Africa.

For those of you that missed the story, the Supreme Court over there ruled that people in same sex marriages would now be eligible for the same federal benefits that are enjoyed by those in heterosexual unions. Of course with the rider that this would only apply in states where gay marriages are actually legal.

This formed the background on the call by Hussein to African nations to decriminalize homosexuality, and grant gay people the same basic human rights accorded to non-gays. This has predictably opened a whole new can of worms, with many Africans telling him to restrict his gay loving agenda within the United States, of which he is the president. And presumably not the president of The Rest Of The World.

I disagree with Hussein’s position on the whole question of homosexuality. I consider myself to be progressive and pretty open minded about many social situations that we have to deal with on a daily basis.

For example, I have no qualms about mob justice. In my book, if a thief is caught in the act, kill him dead. No apologies. If some idiot rudely cuts in front of you in Monday morning traffic, it’s ok to wait until you draw parallel to them, roll down your window and yell obscene unprintables about their parentage while presumably flipping your middle finger at them. As long as you don’t mind the risk that they might be over 6 feet tall, weigh about 150 kgs and might be in a foul mood because Monday. Perfectly ok.

But even a crazy old bastard like me has to draw the line somewhere, right? And mine gets drawn at gay-ism for the following personal reasons.

1.     Homosexuality Removes Procreation From The Equation
One of the main reasons for a sexual relationship, apart from the obvious one of having mad crazy sexing at the drop of a hat, is to have a shitload of kids (or maybe just one if you really hate them you selfish… person. Just kidding!)

Now, when you have two men doing it with each other (please note that I shall not be referring to lesbian sex for aforementioned reasons), no little babies are expected due to the serious lack of a womb, ovaries and other baby making equipment necessary for a successful conception.

Now, picture this: if everyone were to suddenly find their inner gay, how long do you think it would take for the human race to be extinct? Hussein knows this, which is why he lured one Michelle Robinson into his hetero-bed and proceeded to make two beautiful babies. You know, for mankind.

"A third one for the team, babe?"

(On a serious note though, with reference to people who are biologically unable to have children, this particular point is in no way, shape or form meant to be disrespectful.)

2.     The Family Unit Would Be Mangled Beyond Recognition
Hussein is openly encouraging the world to embrace same sex marriages, but my concern here is the kind of damage this does to kids of that union. For those of you that are slow in the thinking fast department, same sex sexing does not produce children, but couples have a choice of having kids through artificial insemination, adoption or straight up sex with a man (eew, in the case of lesbian couples). Whatever.

The point is that the family unit as we know it includes a father and a mother. In other cases, you have single parent situations where for a variety of reasons, one of the parents is absent. Fair enough.

But Holy Shit Two Fathers Or Two Mothers?

Please excuse my ignorance, but how exactly does this work? Doesn’t this make for some pretty messed up kids who have no concept of the distinction between male and female? Can someone give me a little education on this because I’m kind of having some trouble wrapping my head around this.

I don’t know how that photo got there.

(On another serious note, with reference to people in single parent situations, this is not about you.)

3.     Gay Sex Is Gross
And here, I am of course referring to dude on dude sexing. As you might have gathered as a running theme in this post, I’m a little conflicted about lesbianism – actually, no, I’m not. I just don’t want people to think I’m weird, which would then make probably most of the male population in the world weird. Whatever.

Yeah, back to Brokeback Mountain-ing. I once went to a karaoke club and got into a weird conversation with a dude about… teeth. See, he said he was a dentist and he… well, I guess teeth make for conversation fodder pretty much the same way as weather, right? I don’t know how we moved from teeth to him stroking my hand, but having never before encountered some gay lovin’ thrown my way, it took me all of two minutes to realize that I was being Holy Shit Hit On By A DUDE!!!

Needless to say, I have marks on my hand from all the scrubbing I did to remove the awful, awful feeling of violation and I immediately thereafter checked into a shrink’s for some good ol’… well, shrinking.

Actually, that last part is not true. I’m a well adjusted individual and all I had to do was make sure that in future, I’d have my gay-dar on. So heads up, gay dudes, if you as much as look in my direction suggestively, I will cut you!

With this.

I thought it would be fun to refer to Obama as Hussein, but it’s really just confusing, isn’t it?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Why Uhuru Kenyatta May Yet Be Kenya’s Most Badass President

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.

Man, this one, isn’t he just the nicest you guys?

He does well with crowds, wants to shake everyone’s hand, laughs loud and hard when William (you know, the other half of the “dynamic duo”) cracks jokes about his (Uhuru’s) one pack, has a warm relationship in public with his wife Margaret (he calls her Marge) ala Obama and Michelle, he pleads with MPs, senators, teachers and other people who want to derail his agenda to pretty please not do it please and he-

"Ati now that I'm the president's wife, si I can be called Mrs President? Ama?"

Oh, wait.

Do you remember back in 2011 when Raila Odinga threw a bitch fit about something President Kibaki had done without sending him a text about it, and MPs allied to Kibaki called a press conference to say some not very nice things about him?

Uhuru was so incensed that he was almost foaming at the mouth, and he was banging on the table and saying things like who the hell does Raila think he is and can’t anything ever get done in this country without his (Raila’s) say so.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you President Uhuru Kenyatta.

If you thought Kenyatta I in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Moi in the ‘80s and ‘90s and later Kibaki in the first decade of this millennium were cunning little devils, you ain’t seen nothing yet with Kenyatta II!

I have a feeling that this president has yet to come out in his true colours. You know, what with him waking up in the morning and finding out that after putting out yesterday’s fires, today has more birthday gifts just for his attention! This guy just can’t catch a break.

But I’m beginning to see little signs of how his presidency might shape out. A few weeks ago when everyone was shitting their pants over whether this administration is committed to devolution, and senators, including those allied to the Jubilee Coalition were baying for the president’s blood, Uhuru invited all 47 governors to State House.

He then proceeded to grant them some of their little vain wishes like having vanity plates on their cars, diplomatic passports, more executive authority and other things I can’t even remember.

Wow, talk about divide and conquer! With that smart move, he had effectively crushed any hope by the senate that they would gang up with governors against the president and force his hand on the division of revenue bill (yeah, look it up elsewhere and find out what I’m referring to).

A day before teachers went on strike, the president asked them to sit down with his government and arrive at an amicable understanding. You know, when Uhuru asks you to do something in that Mr Nice Guy style of his, you kinda wanna do it because you think you’re doing him a favour.

Well, obviously the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) was not buying that shit and they went ahead with the strike. A week later, the Industrial Court has declared that strike illegal. Want to bet what’s going to happen next?

The government will order all public teachers back to work and anyone who doesn’t fall in line will get their ass promptly fired! Of course the president had nothing to do with the court’s ruling, but go figure. End of negotiations. That whole teachers’ thing is now dead in the water until they agree to sit down with Uhuru’s government and work out a new deal. Just like he wanted in the first place.

It would appear that President Kenyatta has figured out that for him to get anything done, if being nice doesn’t deliver results, a little bit of subterfuge might come in handy. And who can blame him? Being president can be kind of… sucky, to put it mildly.

Everyone wants something from you; they feel entitled and no one wants to give you anything back. So the president must sometimes do what the president must do. And if that means that sometimes you make decisions that may not necessarily be popular, that’s what you do.

Both Presidents Kenyatta I and Moi were tough men. They used intimidation and other crude means to get things done. That was badass. President Kibaki, ever the gentleman, would never soil his hands doing the dirty work. No, he had the likes of Francis Muthaura and later Francis Kimemia to do that for him, and then he would act like he didn’t know what was going on. That way, you couldn’t really blame him because you didn’t really hear him say anything, now did you? BAM! Pretty badass right there!

"Hapaaana! Mimi hiyo sijui!!!"

Oh, and what’s with people named Francis? Is it possible that just by being a Francis it’s likely that you’re, I don’t know, not a very nice guy? Just thinking out loud. Anyway…

Uhuru is a pleasant enough fellow. He laughs, cracks jokes and gets all in your personal space if you let him (yeah, he’s a hugger), wants to show people that he’s a regular Joe, appears modest in public…

But therein lies the badassery.

Because you think Uhuru has your best interests at heart (he probably does), it gets very easy for him to have his way with you. And if you’re a woman, I don’t mean it like that GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER RIGHT THIS INSTANCE!

What I mean is that on account of his personality, many people might find it easier to work with him. He’s not as difficult as Moi was. Apparently, any meeting with that retired president was a test in not shitting your pants because you never knew what mood you were going to find him in. This was a guy who could literally make you disappear!

With Kibaki, well, I guess he didn’t really say much, so you’d not know how your meeting went until later when you discovered you got screwed over. Silently.

I’m going to go ahead and assume that any meaningful engagement with Uhuru would presumably be held in the presence of beer, cigarettes (if you’re a smoker) and nyama choma or tumbukiza and he’s going to make you feel that all is right with the world and you’re definitely getting everything you’re asking for-

Oh, wait.

No you're not.

Because while he was busy caressing you with one hand, you liked it so much that you didn’t pay attention to the other hand until you got punched right in the face you idiot!

"Lol! Bet you didn't see that coming, did you?"

I guess it’s still early days yet to put a label on Uhuru Kenyatta the president, but one thing I’m absolutely sure about is that before the year is over, we will be looking at him and tut-tuting while presumably shaking our heads in unison and wondering out loud how much bigger balls can possibly get.