Featured photo by http://sebastiankruger.org
Law enforcement officers are sworn to serve and protect the lives of citizens and it should have been so until the world happened! (Okay, I don’t know what that means). The documentary “Guns Galore” aired by Kenya’s Citizen TV some days ago showed us how exactly it can be. Purity Mwambia, an investigative journalist at Citizen TV has been undercover for the past two years finding evidence on the dirty job that’s significantly boosting armed crime in Kenya.
As per the report, it’s possible to get a pistol for as little as Ksh5000 ($50), an AK47 at Ksh10000. Not only that, she was able to get police uniforms for as cheap as Ksh1000. All these are directly provided by police officers. The report evoked diverse feelings from Kenyans, although most were more concerned about the safety of Purity Mwambia who would most likely be a target now, especially by the culprits she exposed. Well, the matter has been at rest for a while now so we can discuss it a little bit more freely (ts ts). What could be the cause of this twisted behavior?
As any Kenyan would, I blame the government first for this crime. As per the Kenya Admission report 2021/2022, the basic salary for a Kenya police constable is sh32,880 ($328.8). Of course, the amount increases with rank. However, this amount is only good for those working in rural areas where the cost of living is relatively low. Anyone living in Nairobi knows that it’s hard for a man or woman to survive with this amount for a whole month. It’s a nightmare if you have children to feed and educate. I think the salaries should be doubled or even tripled, just to reduce the temptation and so that the culprits have no excuse.
I can blame the government and give a million reasons but let’s now check our role in this, the role of our society and our values. In Kenya, it is so normal to bribe a policeman or any other person for favors. Citizens no longer see it as a crime because the law enforcement body and the judiciary is already cooked in this soup. You bribe a policeman to escape charges, or give a judge something small so that the ruling can be in your favor. It’s just the same thing in other fields, like sleeping your way up (you know what I mean). I know this happens in every country though some countries like New Zealand control it better than others. I would say it’s along this line that hiring out firearms and uniform to robbers became normal.
This is just an opinion of mine: I don’t thing this country or the world is going to get any better. Not because I’ve given up but we can all agree that we are witnessing wonders everyday. I would suggest that we all work on ourselves; to grow and make our lives better, to stop waiting on our government(s) to improve because it’s not going to happen. Stay happy and pray.