…Continued from Episode 1
I spot a metro (matatu) and I hop in, telling the guy that he cannot arrest me. He stops the matatu from moving and now one of his other civilian-clothed fellow militia with his walkie talkie has arrived. The bus driver asks me to alight so that we do not inconvenience anyone. I comply and delete the photos that are causing problems, as this is the most prudent thing to do if the principle of subsidiarity is anything to go by. Of course, this increases the bragging rights of these chiefs of harassment from the #GovernmentOfSafaricom, as the new militiaman confirmed, “Hapa usifikirie ati unaweza toroka kwa matatu… haziwezi enda… wanatujua…” (Don’t think that you can run using a matatu here… it cannot move… they know us…) I ask the newest arrival for his ID when he asks for mine and, again, he has none. At this point I tell them I am not producing any identification if they are not producing theirs, as I have no way of verifying who they are in a City where conmen, muggers, and rogue police officers and county government officials roam the city scavenging for vulnerable citizenry to con, rob, and strangle out bribery.
A bystander citizen asks what the issue is as the others do what we do best when one of us is in a crisis – stay away, keep off, but look on. He tells them that issues with photography are a long-gone case and do not apply. Militiaman 2 mutes the bystander by telling him, “Hii kesi sio yako…” (This is not your case). They try to hold my hands and I tell them not to dare touch me as this is not their jurisdiction and they have no arresting powers. At this point, another one in a blue suit and a green tie appears and asks what the issue is. When he is told, he asks for my ID and I tell him that he has no right to ask for my ID when he is a civilian as I am. I also told him to identify himself and he declined – I reciprocated. All this time, the other two are still roger-roger tango-tangoing a contact who has refused to surface. They tell me to sit and I tell them I will stand.
The militiaman in a suit asks me why a) I deleted the photos and b) why I attempted to run by matatu. To his first question, I inform him that the zero 5 is my phone – personal property at that – and I have every irrevocable right to delete whatever I have on it. I told him that I could take a photo there and then and delete it at will. I also informed him that the most prudent thing they should do in a place where Safaricom has not put up visible “No photography” signage, but has managed to brand more than an entire kilometre of Waiyaki way, put up Blaze billboards in the wilderness where no one lives and where passers-by care not about blazing, and spent billions of shillings in advertising. To his second question, I told him that I was not running. My intention while crossing the road was to board a matatu and go home before I was rudely interrupted by people whose identity was just walkie talkies and “these people here know us” – it is what I was doing and I still intended to do. He retorts, “So umetumia mtu mwingine alafu ukafuta…” (So you have sent them to someone else and then deleted…) I responded, “That’s your own conspiracy theory you are concocting and you have a right to believe it…” This seems to mute him until he asks why I had taken the photos. I told him I am a blogger and I will always need photos for different blogs. I show them my website and he starts with the cliché sentiments of this is a security issue due to the way Kenya is today and that security begins with me blah blah blah – plagiarizing every possible statement he has heard about terrorism.
A tall AP with their usual wooden handle guns appears and… (Check out Episode 3)