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An idiots guide to Nairobi and it's environment

At this juncture in time, when the City Council is thinking of making major City Roads a one way, we found it helpful to add some sort of guide around the city, based on past experiences.
Crossing the Road
In primary school, we were taught that to cross a road, you looked right, then left, right again, and cross if clear. Well, we revised the rules to make them well suited for the Nairobi environment.This rules are applicable in all city roads, even on one way streets.

  1. Look right,
  2. Look left
  3. Look right again1
  4. Look at the traffic lights
  5. Look at the Traffic policeman
  6. Look for any signs of trouble across the street2

If any 2 of the above are clear, You may proceed to cross the road.
1 You should look right on one way streets, since matatus are known to drive along the wrong side of one way street at high speeds, especially if the streets have little traffic.
2you may cross a street and walk into an armed robbery, or a "Riot police Vs. X" match , where you may become a bullet statistic.

Travelling past 10.00 p.m.
If driving on a Nairobi road past 10.00 a.m., it is advisable to keep speeds of about 100 Kph. Apart from reaching your destination faster, it lowers the risk of you been carjacked, which can occur in a number of ways such as:

  • A group of robbers , one disguised as a drunk pedestrian, might fake an accident, where you hit the "drunk pedestrian". After stopping, you might either get carjacked, or "advised" to take the guy you hit to hospital, then "pay" his "medication bill and a small compensation fee."
  • Robbers might throw a dead body(human or animal) in front of a moving car. In case you hit any body at late hours of the night, DO NOT STOP. Proceed to the nearest police station and report the incident. Police officers should accompany you back to the scene. If you don't know where the nearest police station is(or if far away), call the police once you are in an area you deem safe enough to stop for a call.
  • Robbers might decide to Ram you, block your way in an attempt to car jack you. The chances of them trying this reduces as your speed increases. In case of such a car jack attempt, it is advisable to stop and comply. Robbers are known to spray(with bullets) vehicles that defy such attempts, and also kill on any slight show of hesitation.


For passengers, make sure that you board vehicles at bus stops, and if possible, ones where they check passengers for fire arms. In case of a car jacking, comply, and don't try to talk robbers, unless talked to . When alighting , alight in a lit bus stop, preferably one where there is a lot of human presence. Deserted bus stops tend to be a prime target for both robbers and cops looking for bribes. When walking to your destination, observe for signs of robbers and police.Also use the most used path that leads to your home, even if longer(robbers way lay short-cuts more often, and most are usually conducively dark. Police regularly "arrest" everyone in sight in some areas at hours past 11.00 a.m., and especially on Fridays. In case of such an arrest, do not offer to bribe the police, but wait for them to ask for bribes. Don't hesitate to bribe, the alternative is to stay in a cell awaiting the next court day(a whole weekend) where you will be charged with drunkenness and possibly prostitution. Of course all drunkards will be sober by then. If you deny such charges, you return back to a cell to await for a case mention, which usually takes 14 or more days. In short, the justice system is quite screwed, a bribe is the best alternative out.

Tom Mboya street
This is a street that should be avoided as much as possible. Other than been a crowded one, it is the capital for small time crime. This is a street where you will encounter street boys who threaten you to facilitate those who aren't kind enough to donate their cause. Also on the same street, pick pockets will be after a piece of you, and again it might of one of those days that police have extra tear gas canisters that they feel like dispensing. Your car is also most likely to disappear off a parking lot in this street, or parts of it disappear. Maybe Tom Mboya cursed it on the day they assassinated him on the same street Tom Mboya was actually assassinated on Moi avenue, then known as Government street.

Miscellaneous
The cardinal rule of the city is that you should not accept unsolicited advice and offers on the street. They always turn out to be too good to be true, and have kept their reputation at that. such include offers to sell you mobile phones at throw away prices, request for help to secure money from an illiterate person etc.

As for robberies, fire arms are prevalent, and so is the urge to dispense them. To add on to this, the value of a human life is quite low in the city. In short, if you are unlucky enough to be caught up in a robbery, do not offer resistance. No one needs its and chances are that you will be shot in return for any resistance offered.

As much as possible, avoid walking into robberies. Nairobi robbers don't like been interrupted.

If you live in low density suburbs where most of your neighbors drive, your gate and the time taken awaiting for it to be open exposes you to a risk of been car jacked. Watch out for any one hanging about such areas.

Keep safe in the city.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Tom Mboya was assassinated on what is now called Moi Avenue & not Tom Mboya street.
Dennis Kioko said…
Thanks for the correction. stupid for me to post a link that I didn't really read. Correction made.

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