OPINIONPeople Daily

Police officers have duty to obey the law

As far as ambitions go, many parents tell their children to aspire to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, pilots, engineers, architects et al.

As far back as I can remember, I have never heard anyone tell their offspring to strive to become journalists but that is a story we must tell in detail another day.

For reasons that require no explanation, no sane parent will even go near telling the inheritors of their fortunes to become touts, or PSV drivers.

Just for kicks, no other job allows its folk to spew such nasty, vitriolic, filthy, obnoxious, appalling and nauseating epithets as these guys can do. Enough said for them, and they are free to come fry me.

I have also never heard of a parent telling their progeny to aspire  to become chefs. Just who do you think prepares all those finger-licking meals you gobble up in nice, four-star restaurants, where waitresses balance four food trays on one hand and sashay to your table as if they are made of eggshells?

By the same token, I have yet to encounter anyone who tells their children to join the police force, sorry service.

You see, the guys from Kiganjo, and of late Embakasi, were known for their menacing looks and the brute use of force to deal with even the most minor of offences.

Now they call themselves a service but whether much has changed is a story for another day. Youth tend to glamorise the work of the police as long as they see them in those black, or is it navy blue outfits they don on the day they pass out.

Come to think of it, why do they talk of passing out? Does that not imply slipping into a coma, fainting or such life threatening experiences?

English has this habit of getting sticky and complicated, even confusing. But back to our story. If you ask anyone who has had an experience with police officers, they will tell you they were not hosted to a picnic.

As social media has tended to teach us in the last few weeks, if you know, you know! Events of the last week reminded me of the days I thought I wanted to become a cop.

There is this clever crew of cops on the beat out there in Marigat, just last week, who thought they could chip in and supplement the public transport efforts to ferry peace-loving wananchi to Nakuru.

So, what did they do? They converted their Land Cruiser to a matatu. Not the way you imagine, touting loudly and all, but in a quiet, diplomatic way, just the way real touts should do, ideally.

Unlike the manner they go about their duties daily, these cops even allowed a little room for bargaining. For a trip that usually costs Sh200, they were perfectly willing to settle for Sh400, if you get the drift.

I actually thought these men in blue went to good schools, before joining Kiganjo. Who else would know that the law of supply and demand stipulates that if the supply is low, demand goes up and so does the price?

Potential travellers caught up in the traffic crackdown were pleasantly surprised when they saw the chance to ride in a police car, to a different destination other than a police cell. 

Of course, it was the height of irony that these ordinary folk saw no danger in riding in a vehicle without seat belts but that was beside the point, really. If the law is with you, who can be against you?

Of course, the crew of this particular vehicle was careful enough to ensure they did not drop their human cargo at the bus terminus. Only a suicidal fellow would do that in broad daylight.

So, if some cops can take over matatu tout and driver jobs, why did they become cops to start with? Would they want their job description altered?

Let’s put the questions another way. Did their bosses find out about this mischief? What did they do? Can wananchi expect this lop-sided philanthropy from other kindly members of the police service in the true spirit of Utumishi kwa wote? If not, why not?

I expect the rest of us to engage in this sort of mischief. But when it comes from folks expected to enforce the law, it begs the question: who is the law? All in all, cops are law abiding. Or are they?  Have a mischief-free week, folks! The writer is Special Projects editor, People Daily


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