23 March 2014


Ever been arrested? Either for the right or wrong reasons? Well if you have never, I beat you to it. Last evening to be precise. You may wonder why I’m so happy to write about it, just wait and see.

So, it’s Saturday evening, Skater Boy and I have come from training in Thika, we are now in Nairobi. We go at a hotel to have an afternoon snack as we watch a game. Here my already bad day got worse. See, I’m an arsenal fan and I had so much faith in Wenger’s boys for this game. Skater boy is a Manchester united fan (yeah makes the perfect couple). If you all watched that game you know too well how it went down. So, as we linger in there a bit longer as I drown my sorrows in food (we ladies know that food works so well, despite the source of sorrow). 

By the time we leave, it’s a bit dark. We decide to head to Central Park, which is at the center of Nairobi. The flood light at the center of the park is shining bright and the place looks too tempting. Wrong thought. Skater Boy and I are quite crazy, you see, so we agree to stand below the light and we start dancing. (Blame this on the “dance like no one is watching you”). It is a park, right? And people are walking past the park hurrying home. Us; no we had to. The day had been long and hard and laughter and fresh air was all we could think of.

We all know that all movies and books/novels list chasing each other across a field as a moment of…well, you know; a perfect moment.

Well, not in this one. We challenge each other to the nearest pathway and the winner gets to buy the loser some ice-cream (I was hoping to loose, but he beat me to it). At the end of the finish line that is the path, we find some people, cuffs at hand, waiting for us; talk about a bad victory reception. Just imagine Usain Bolt finding such a party at the finish line….sad.

So that is how we got arrested. We cooperated and they did not cuff us (thank God Skater Boy did not get very aggressive, you see, he is also a professional boxer). So we are taken under a tree where we find about 50 other Kenyans, some in cuffs. SB (Skater Boy) and I find ourselves a bench and we await the vehicle supposed to take us to a police station. We are all told that we were arrested for being in the park at “ungodly hours”. We are informed that people are not supposed to trespass the park past six; as he speaks, people are still passing by, but it seems like they had arrested enough people.

They tell us we will be taken to a police cell, expecting the men to resist so that they find a reason for arrest. Strangely enough, we all agree and we state that if the arrest is legal, we would like to record statements. They panic. See, these men introduced themselves as policemen warning us that they will fine us all. A lady at the back starts crying saying that her guy is not Kenyan, that he does not know the rules in Kenya. SB and I laugh. We take out our phones and start recording everything. We knew those guys were people extorting money from naïve and innocent Kenyans.

We pass by Kenyatta avenue round-about and our fears are confirmed. See, if you are to be taken to the police station/ county council cells, you do not turn right, as we did, and headed to Uhuru Park. Several of us started asking which police station we were being taken to and all we got was a “kuna wengine huku, mtakujiwa na lorry hapa” (there are other people here, a police lorry is coming to pick you up).

So we get to a place and find other 50 like so Kenyans sitting there, also waiting for the police lorry to come. Now, the retards that SB and I are, we go around greeting people asking them why they are there; all this time recording (thank you Sony Xperia for having a larger internal memory space). So by now it’s around 8 pm and no uniformed policeman has come. The leader of the gang tells us that they are willing to help anyone who does not want to go to jail. Here you see Kenyans who do not value their hard earned cash. Why do I say this? Some were giving bribes as much as 20, 000 to be let free. SB and I are still recording all this.

One of the “police men” suspects that we are doing this and asks us to sit in a secluded place. Thank God for friends who have friends in high places. I get the number of one of the anchors in Citizen TV and explain our situation and where we are being held; in a gated store area at Freedom Corner. The reporter gives Nairobi OCPD my number and he calls me. I explain the same thing and in a few minutes uniformed policemen are at the gate. Our other police panic and order us to get out, while those who want to “get assistance” to remain behind. We decide to go with the group that wants to be taken to jail.

Now we are two groups, half remained to “get assistance” and half of us knew our arrest was false and we wanted to get justice (and finish our recording). We demand to be taken to a police station. Instead of being taken to a police station, they start taking us upwards, towards All Saints Cathedral, several of our group run away and the fake police leave them. Now, funny is the conversation I heard between the uniformed police and the “police” who arrested us. This was actually a deal between the two!!! The other police even had walkie talkies that communicated with the actual police. Sad.

All this time I am informing the OCPD where we are being taken, and he gives an order for all of us to be released. Half of the group being “taken to jail” is let go. SB and I choose to remain behind. SB and I tell the remaining group not to give any bribes; our escorts hear us and we are pulled out of the crowd. At this point, we have gone round Uhuru Park and we are at Parliament road.  One of the “police” gets us aside to question us; why we were arrested, if we want any assistance. We tell our tale. He tells us he is forgiving us because we look innocent; we laugh.

He tells us to disappear and not get caught again, but we were not going to let him go that easily. We demand to see his police badge and he suddenly gets busy and his arms start shaking. SB and I look at each other and smile. He gets tensed up and gets his wallet out. He starts explaining to us that he is busy calling and we tell him we are patient. Now its a few minutes to nine. The uniformed police are busy taking bribes from other people in the group we were picked out from. The guy starts explaining how I don’t know who was killed where in the park, who was sleeping where and gibberish. We remind him that we are waiting to see his badge; he pulls out a number of cards and picks one out, one with his blood type, no name and no police number.

SB and I laugh and tell him that we know what they are doing and that he should let everyone go if he wants to be safe. Realizing that he has been busted, he gives an order to his people to let our group to go. They do. As we are leaving; His arms are still shaking. I tell him to be careful, some Kenyans are watching and they are talking. Our recordings are with us, a reminder of what innocent Kenyans go through.

It’s now 10 pm; SB and I walk into a hotel for coffee. Now his Manchester united game is over; and we never watched it. But they won, damn!! oh and I lost my precious ear rings in the process :-(

Now I am left to wonder; how many other people walk around masquerading as police men, extorting money from innocent Kenyans, as much as 10 to 20 thousand per person (real police men included)? And us Kenyans, when will we know our rights? Stop giving bribes for crimes you did not commit!!