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Chilling Crime in Nairobi: What Prime Time News Missed

Last night I was watching Prime time news on one of our local stations. As with all other days, there was a buzz word for the day. Yesterday's Buzz word was "hotly contested" or a variation, which was used to refer to several instances of Mayoral elections in different towns in the country. The news caster kept reminding the viewers that each of the elections was hotly contested. This was soon followed by a Swine flu head count in the country and onto other depressing news about crime here and there.

Of late, prime time news has been serving us tales of rising crime in Nairobi, together with the rising stories of Kidnapping, which a friend, Conrad Otieno, says that has been fueled by the coverage local media has been giving it. As we eat supper, we have been having armed robbery tales served for dessert. The same news has been mirrored in all Local media outlets.So far, we have been hearing of how crime has moved from the low income areas to the high income areas, and how MP x , CEO Y and other high profile people got car jacked. Police have even gone ahead to say that the crime increase in such areas is due to the crack downs in low income areas, where they say crime has reduced.

Well, that is what we call bogus coverage. Crime has shot up in all areas of the city, and has become chilling in the said areas that criminals are said to have moved from. A friend recounted a story of how they got car jacked (in a matatu ) last Friday.

The time was between 8.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., and my friend boarded a Toyota (nissan 14 seater at Utalii college along Thika road. He was on his way home from attachment at the mentioned institution, and he had just received a Ksh. 500 tip from his kind boss. The matatu proceeded to Githurai 45 roundabout, where it dropped and picked passengers. A group of men boarded the matatu, some at the back seat and others in the middle row of seats. As the matatu was exiting the round about, a man flagged the matatu in the middle of the road. As the driver slowed down, the man opened the drivers door, yanked the driver out and sped off with the vehicle. 3 of his colleageus then drew pistols and took over the vehicle. A woman who tried to scream was silenced with a slap, and the man in the driver seat pumped up the vehicles volume to loud music.

The matatu was then driven off the road to a secluded area in the "k.m." area behind Kenyatta University. In the area, the men then ordered the passengers out one by one, where each was slowly frisked and emptied of their effects. The female passengers were then taken aside one by one where they were each raped by the gang. The ordeal lasted till about 11.00 p.m. in the night.

On the weekend news, the dominating crime stories were how a minister was robbed at his home , and the prime ministers private office been broken into. No one was subjected to the horrid details of the above crime, or similar crimes that happened elsewhere in such areas.

The victims of such crimes are left traumatized for life, and exposed to sexually transmitted diseases. How many women and men suffer from the trauma of been raped(gang raped- there have been tales of men getting sodomized in such ordeals). How many people suffer from the trauma of experiencing their mothers and sisters been raped as they helplessly watch?

Crime is no longer about violent robbery, but now has lasting and permanent emotional scars. If it such dangerous to travel as early as 8.00 p.m. in such populous areas of the city, where is our refuge. We take console in our leaders been car jacked of their fuel guzzlers(which are later recovered) and loosing a few thousands from their bank accounts. They will be on Sunday news recounting their stories as we eat ugali milled from imported maize.

The ladies who were raped will not be on Sunday 9.00 p.m. news recounting the details as you eat your supper. Even if they were offered a chance to do so, will they have the courage to recount such horrific happenings?

Next time, before you buy that cheap phone/laptop with suspicious sources, think about what the owner went through before parting with it.

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