We’ve been left at the mercy of daring thieves


A close-up of a thief's hand stealing purse from backpack

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • If crooks are bold enough to rob a policeman in broad daylight, just how secure are we, mere wananchi?
  • Only a fraction of these crimes make it to the media, a majority are known to only those in the vicinity of the crimes.

This week, I came across a video showing one of three men on a motorcycle snatching the phone of a policeman who was controlling traffic at the Roysambu underpass.

The policeman, who seemed to be having a conversation on phone since he was holding his mobile to his ear, got a rude shock when his phone was suddenly grabbed from him and the thugs sped off, expertly weaving their way through traffic.

The policeman made as if to follow the getaway motorcycle, but when he realised the futility of his action, he stopped. My initial reaction was to laugh when I saw that video, but not with mirth, with incredulity.

That video shocked me – such audacity! If crooks are bold enough to rob a policeman in broad daylight, to hell with the consequences, which may just include a bullet smack on their fleeing backs, just how secure are we, mere wananchi whose only weapon is fervent prayer against gun-wielding, wild-eyed, merciless robbers?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic rudely checked in and refused to budge, rendering many jobless and desperate, crime has spiralled out of control, people are getting robbed left, right, and centre – in traffic, in their places of work, on the streets going about their business, in their homes, online and via their mobile phones during the day and under the cover of darkness.

Thieves, robbers and their cousins have been having a field day. Not only this, not a day goes by before a gruesome murder is reported in the media. At the moment, the murder that Kenyan’s are talking about is that of Emily Chepkemboi, the Kenya Medical Training College student who was stabbed and suffocated to death in what could be a crime of passion. 

Robbing a policeman

There is also the unlikely story of Caroline Kangogo, the policewoman who is alleged to have shot and killed two men – a fellow police officer, and a civilian. At the time of writing this, the police constable was still at large.

Worth noting is that only a fraction of these crimes make it to the media, a majority are known to only those in the vicinity of the crimes.

But I was talking about the thieves who dared to steal from a policeman. There was a time when the word ‘police’ evoked respect, awe, fear - today, that word means little to many, which would perhaps explain why a matatu driver would be reckless enough to resist arrest and even go as far as exchanging blows with a policeman, even trying to fight off the colleagues who come to his rescue, all in the name of resisting arrest. There have been arguments to justify this defiance against the law and those that enforce it, but that is a story for another day.

That video really shook me because it signified that we are at the mercy of every type of criminal out there, that no one is safe in this country — even the police. That the law and those who enforce it have become impotent, in short, there is no haven to run to should we, God forbid, need protection from these wilful lawbreakers.

Some Kenyans, once the shock and disbelief of that incident sank in, made fun of it, advising the policeman to report the incident to the nearest police station, but the majority were too horrified to see any humour in it. May God have mercy on us.

The writer is editor, Society & Magazines, Daily Nation; [email protected]


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.