HOW ‘NAIROBBERS’ TEMPORARILY SHUT MY LIFE DOWN…!
“Hell’o John, let’s meet at…!” Ouch, that was my last word on my latest Phantom Z. Correction: from the latest make of Tecno I confiscated from another thief. Wait a minute. I did not mug it, but will tell you later here how I got to own a thief’s phone.
It was August 10, just two days ago, that I was robbed in a broad day light in a downtown street of Nairobi. This is not the first time I suffered from Nairobbery. The second last time I was mugged of a phone while entangled in a ‘wrestling championship’ for a matatu space at Buruburu, still in the same Nairobbing City, was in August 2007, just three months before Kenyans fought and killed themselves upto 3,311 while robbing election votes among themselves. And you think they would spare me a smartphone?
Let me not waste your time excavating that history, because we did it worst in Juba (robbing votes which were not yet cast), so that we ended up on their streets! But for the Nairobians, they did not go with my phone without a poem against their action that night.
But nigh were Nai robbers!
Now Nai can call not his sweetheart,
For phoneless he was made by their art.
Now Nai cannot buy Christmas for his babe and baby,
For moneyless they rendered him with their art.
At daytime, you are with Nairobians,
At nighttime, call them Nairobbers.
Keep or kick them off the Nile
Or they, Nai robbers:
Will give birth to night robbers,
Will give birth to Nile robbers!
Back to my 2015’s Nairobbers. They swooped on me at 3PM. In the middle of the street. Amidst a traffic of public motorcade parked bumper-to-bumper. In a dying snake slithering motion. And they made it!
I felt a smashing blow on my right ear, and I knew something was not right here. The second thug aimed at my laptop back on my left hand. I swang it but let go of the phone in the right that was twisted to a breaking point. The ‘right hand man’ followed the phone, sparing my hand for reinforcement of the left. I gave the left one a sweeping open-palm slap, and he leapt. I think the operation took 50 seconds, and my phone and the two meant melted into the sheering and jeering crowd.
“Thank God, your laptop survived!” one rescue volunteer tried to console me. But I was more bitter with the crowd than with the muggers. They chose to watch a free drama on me! Unfortunately, I was consoled by a policeman who passed with another bastard rasta of the lot. They pointed, that is one of them. They are known to be doing it here daily. When I followed the policed entourage, they told me the netted guy was a drug peddler. I left!
That was not the end of the nightmare (right word must be ‘daymare’). I rushed for manual communication, and the first group was the Debek’s team in our usual joint. They told me to rush to the police and the Safaricom to block and track the phone right away. I went. It was already 4. Queuing for half of that hour, I was told it was a wrong beginning. I should first have gone for the police report. I took off for it. Just to avoid the Nairobbers from using my phone to con my contacts.
At the Central Police, I was told to go back and report to the nearest police at the scene. I begged that it was rolling to 5 on the clock and Safaricom would close shops before I replace my SIM card to rescue my deals. Upto four deals were in town, with my guys cursing in a blacked out waiting. The police accepted to report my case there.
:Oh, there is a canteen outside there, go and bring an abstract form,” the constable pointed. I went round in rows of stern-looking plain-cloth ‘policemen’ or so. At the food canteen was a photocopier at the back. It was dead! The woman told me the cartridge was over and they had sent some girl to procure it. The girl took 30 minutes to return. They mounted the machine and gave me one copy after parting my way with my ten-shilling coin.
I lost 30 minutes of my time because somebody wanted 10 shillings from the public through the police. Why privatize this piece of service in the Kenyan police operations? Maybe, they did not put photocopying cost of the abstract form in their annual budget. I could blame them because it is also done bigger time in my country. I remembered Michael Makuei warning the media and public against demonstrating on the streets against the government. “Remember, we did not cater for teargas in our budget!” he frowned as usual. So who am I to exercise my democracy on the Kenya police for that bit of bureaucracy?
After queuing for another 30-minute time, I managed to record my statement and report the phone number for tracking with the CID. Sorry, I did not have the IMEI factory serial number of that smartphone. “Why?” I replied it was not mine. That it was for another thief who stole my 3 phones and a laptop in my hostel room in Kampala last May. The Makerere police united recorded the theft, and ordered the stealer to loose his own phone to me till the case was heard. He was released on bail awaiting my return from Nairobi.
No, that is not the right story. The boy’s mother is a Big One in the government of Uganda, and the police quakes every time she calls to confirm the status of her son’s case. Of course, the case is complicated because her son had confessed having taken two phones and my watch, whose picture he took of himself with it on making part of the exhibits at the police.
That picture, and all the contents of 32 GB of data, including all my 5 manuscripts (unpublished books) are gone with that smartphone in Nairobi. The other content of my literary work was taken by that thief, who later returned my laptop minus the Hard Disk! How come? No, wait. This is not the right avenue to tell the public that I am dogged by security thieves. What took place in Kampala, unlike this in Nairobi (maybe) was a data theft. Let me not compromise my case and my own security by leaking this sensitive info in my own blog, Weakleaks! here. I have another blog article soon to explain my experiences in the drama escapades of ‘Makerere II’ of my education, just between the months of March and June, 2015.
However, this serves to warn my petty ‘securicorats’, those volunteer informants who make their daily living on me (us)…where I am, what I am doing, who I am meeting, what is on my computer, on this blog, on my Facebook, on my emails, etc. You are squeezing yourselves into my life history, my live story, being recorded daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, in a title to be revealed sometimes during or after my graduation (Inshallah): ‘Condemned To Go To School’!
Back to the story of my Nairobbers, I left the police at 5.30 (from 4.30PM). I was now headed back to the Safaricom customer care centre. Dashing in 15 minutes to the closing time, 6.00PM, I met another hurdle. The features on my Kenyan ID card (refugee, of course) was not marching the national ID card. For example, the nationality shows ‘South Sudan’ on the National ID and ‘Sudan’ on the Refugee ID card. Why? I told them to ask the Kenyan government why they have not updated their data servers on my country South/Sudan. We had raised this to the relevant department two years ago, but we were told off.
The issue of our identity updates on all the world data is wanting. It is not only n Kenya that South Sudanese citizens are still labelled orally or in writing as ‘Sudanese’. Somebody must have not done their homework well. The Kiir’s ambassadors only have one priority, an emergency for that matter. And that is handling their bosses from Juba through the airports, hotels and back to Juba. The citizens for whom the embassies are placed abroad are a third party in the service.
What pissed me off was not all that I have narrated. The problem I always face in the police, across the borders, in other public places is the question of the burden of nationality. I am asked questions supposed to be directed to Salva Kiir or Riek Machar, or the top echelon of the national mess, for that matter. Why have you broken up your new nation? We hear Kenyans have been arrested in Sudan (to mean South Sudan)! Why are you killing your own people? and so on.
All in all, if we have not played with our nation, our lives, robbers, thieves, con artists, police, street families, etc. would not make money on us.
To all my friends and relatives, I have lost all your contacts. Please, contact me again on my same Nairobi number, it is now back on air!