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Category: crime and punishment (page 2 of 3)

A loyal friend to the end part ii

A troubling question

Babu put a few things in a small over night bag, locked up and joined Commander Ruby and Woolie by the car in the drive-way. They set off immediately with the skilled police driver picking the quickest way to get to the Nakuru highway. Babu was seated at the back with the commander. They would break into conversation for a while before settling back into long periods of silence. Woolie had realised that the police driver seated beside him was a quiet man who much preferred to concentrate on the road ahead than engage in small talk.

The police BMW X5 made light work of the smooth highway, effortlessly chewing up the kilometres. Woolie considered for a moment the irony of the situation. Barely six hours before he had been looking forward to enjoying the breathtaking views of the escarpment and the Great Rift Valley on the way to see Rubina. Now, he stared at the road ahead in silence, totally oblivious to the natural beauty around them. He wondered what awaited them ahead.

love you when you’re right,
love you when you’re wrong,
love you when you’re weak,
love you when you’re strong,


They were met at the hospital by a young nurse who showed them into a waiting room. He left and reappeared several moments later with a young woman who introduced herself as the house officer. She was the doctor who was looking after Rubina. She explained to them that Rubina had regained consciousness briefly. She had appeared to be quite agitated. She was trying to ask the nurse something but the words would not come out. She had suffered some injuries to her throat and was unable to produce any sound. The effort had proved too much and she had slipped back into unconsciousness.

“We have performed a full body scan and we are quite satisfied that there are no serious internal injuries.” continued the doctor. She looked at the commander and said, “If you like, we can now go in and see the patient.”

Nothing had prepared them for for what they saw when they entered the room. Their friend and colleague was wrapped tightly from head to foot in white bandages. Only her eyes were visible through a small slit. She was attached to tubes and wires that were keeping her going. Woolie was to recall later how he had almost fled the room in terror. Retired detective Babu and Commander Ruby both quite familiar with serious injuries, accidents and violent death were also quite shocked.

The nurse told them that all the vital signs were good and they should treat this time as though Rubina was just resting. He said that she had woken again and had tried to ask for someone whose name he did not quite catch.

“Was she asking for Woolie?”, asked the commander. “Or perhaps Babu?”

“Sorry, I don’t know, said the nurse, shaking his head slowly.” But it was not Woolie. It may have been Babu, but I thought it sounded more like Baby, Does she perhaps have a young baby?

“Certainly not!” was Woolie’s sharp reply. “ Where do you get such ideas from? She’s not even married, yet.”

The house officer looked up at Woolie and nodded in understanding.

The nurse said that one of them could sit with Rubina in case she woke but the rest would have to go. Woolie elected to stay so Babu and the commander went out into the bright sunshine. They were met at the entrance by the OCS, Inspector Makrahanish. As the commander made the introductions Makrahanish could not conceal his pure delight at coming face to face with the great retired Detective Inspector. “Honoured to meet you sir.” he said, shaking Babu’s hand.

“My officers are working round the clock to find the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Rest assured that we will catch them in the next few days.”

“Commander Ruby has told me that she is very confident that this will be so.” replied Babu, graciously. “May we see the crime scene?”

They drove the short distance to the scene of the attack in Makrahanish’s car. Babu and Ruby listened intently as the OCS explained how Rubina had been found by a man walking home from the pub.

“He is a well-known local guy and is not a suspect right now as his story checks out.” Makrahanish said, looking at his notebook. The matatu people say the lady alighted at her usual stop by the old church at 8.30 pm. The guy found her lying face down in that thicket there. It was just after 1.30 am. It rained heavily through the night, you see and that is why all this grass around here looks flattened down. Unfortunately we have no footprints and any blood there may have been has been washed away. I understand your colleague lost a lot of blood.”

“One thing bothers me, Babu.” Commander Ruby was gazing out into the distance. She turned to look at Babu. “I have to ask, where is Rubina’s father? Where is Peter Malo, dammit!”

“Let us go down to the farm now.” said Babu. “ Let’s see if we can’t find some answers there.”

To be continued

A loyal friend to the end part i

Bad news breaking

Lyrics: Loving you(M. Riperton R. Rudolph)

No one else can make me feel
The colors that you bring
Stay with me while we grow old
And we will live each day in springtime

There were times when Babu could be exceptionally irritating, Woolie thought, helplessly, and it was at times such as these. They were in Woolie’s small silver Nissan, crawling along Friday evening traffic, heading for the Haraka-Haraka Luxury Coach booking offices down town. Babu had suddenly remembered that he had an urgent package to send to his wife who lived on a small farm in the west country. He needed to get the parcel onto the overnight coach, which was scheduled to leave in thirty minutes. He cursed and swore, urging Woolie to drive faster, change lanes and undertake the matatus.

They arrived at the office with just moments to spare. The man at the counter smiled as he recognised Babu and processed his parcel double quick, assuring them that it would be with Mrs Babu by 8.00am the following morning. Babu tipped him generously and they drove back to South B. It was Babu’s turn to buy the beers.

The bar was becoming livelier by the minute as thirsty punters streamed in, their long faces betraying the pains of the past week. Babu and Woolie were seated on tall stools at the bar. Babu took a long sip from a most satisfactory pint of Guiness, smacking his lips in delight. Woolie had decided to sample the new lager that some genius at the brewery had named ‘Mteja’. He invited Babu to take a sip. The old man put the glass gingerly to his lips and took a slow, long draught of the new drink. He held it in his mouth for a moment before forcing it down his throat, his face wrinkled up in an expression of deep agony. He looked at Woolie and said, “Mteja by name, mteja by nature. That stuff is disgusting.” He reached for his Guiness and gulped it down in one go.

“So, Woolie, have you heard from Rubina?” Babu asked after a short pause. Woolie shook his head, as an alarm bell started ringing in his ear. Babu was doing his fishing thing.

“Wow”, Babu continued. She’s been gone over four weeks, now. Don’t say you don’t miss her.” He had a funny smile playing on his lips. Woolie felt the heat rise in his face. He said, “Please Babu – no talk of Rubina tonight, please. I’d prefer not to discuss her with you, at all. Just imagine what she’d think if she knew we talk about her. Me and you, that is. It’s not on. She’s near enough your adopted daughter. I cannot have this convo with you!”

“Pah! Don’t pretend you don’t miss her. I know I do.”, Babu said. “She is going to be in Nakuru for the next nine weeks or so. That sodding case she’s on is difficult and it’s going to take ages. How come you don’t even talk of going up there some weekend to see her? Surprise her.”

“Surprise her?”, Woolie asked. Babu looked at Woolie and shook his head slowly. He said “Stop being such a pussy cat. Go on. You can drive up there first thing tomorrow morning. Look, it’s Saturday, see? Spend the day with her. She’d like that.”

Babu was on a roll. He said to Woolie “ Kwanza ebu ask Cleveland there to bring us some spicy chicken wings when he comes over. I’m going outside to fire my ka- pipe. When I return I’ll show you what to do about Rubina. Faint heart never won fair lady, au siyo?”

The evening wore on without serious surprises or undue excitement for Woolie. The good people in the pub had been fed and watered. Their formerly long tired faces now shone with euphoria and optimism. A result of good beer, fried chicken wings and very loud music.

That evening there was a new girl singing at the karaoke. The punters swore that her voice was identical to the mating call of the evening nightingale and had captured the hearts of most of the single men in the house when she sang “Loving you is easy ’cause you’re beautiful….” She had sung for two hours straight and then had mysteriously disappeared, just before the clock struck midnight.

Lovin’ you I see your soul come shinin’ through
And every time that we oooooh
I’m more in love with you
La la la la la la la… do do do do do

By the time the taxi dropped Babu and Woolie off at Babu’s bungalow it had been agreed that the two of them would be driving to Nakuru first thing in the morning; Woolie to spend the day with Rubina and Babu ostensibly to visit an old pal from Njoro who was looking for a sleeping partner to invest in some new technology enterprise. Woolie had a strange, elated feeling as he thought about the journey they would be making in just a few hours. It would be nice to see Rubina after all this time. He had already said good night to Babu who was standing at the verandah smoking his pipe. He found a duvet and some cushions and made his bed on the sofa. He undressed jumped onto the sofa and fell asleep almost immediately, aided no doubt by the evening’s drinks and some very happy thoughts for the following day.

Woolie woke with a start. He felt like it had just been minutes ago that he had fallen asleep. It took him a few moments to gather his thoughts. He remembered now why he was sleeping in a strange sofa. The knocking at the door was getting louder, more insistent. He put on his shirt and trousers and went to the front door. Across the hall-way and down the corridor Babu’s deep snoring seemed to vibrate the walls of the small bungalow. The time on the wall clock was 06:30. He opened the door and was nearly felled to the ground by a very agitated Commander Ruby Mwekundu of Regional Crime who stormed in, heading straight for Babu’s sitting room.

“Where is Babu?” She demanded. “Why is his phone mteja?” Before Woolie could answer, Babu walked through into the sitting room looking all smart and tidy. He smiled at Ruby and said “This is a pleasant surprise, Commander.” He turned to Woolie, “Fetch us some tea, Woolie, There’s a good chap. The Commander has some urgent news for us.”

Ruby had a face like they had not seen before. She was angry, that was clear, but she was frightened too. She held her hands together to keep them steady and looked at Babu and said “ It is, I regret very bad news. I received this information just over half an hour ago, Babu and I have been trying to contact you on your phone. Rubina was attacked at around eight o’clock, yesterday evening on her way home from work. The attack took place less than 8oo metres from her Pa’s house in Sobea. The report says she was found lying unconscious having suffered terrible injuries and it is believed that the attackers (police believe there was more than one attacker due to the sheer number of injuries) had left her for dead.”

Babu had gone completely still and the commander continued, “Rubina is now at the general hospital in Sobea where she is in a critical but stable condition. She lost a lot of blood in the attack and the perpetrators cut her many times with knives on her arms, legs and back. They are keeping her under observation and have sedated her for the time being.”

The shock in Babu’s face was painful to watch. The commander shook her head and said, “I don’t think there is any doubt that it is Rubina. The police at the scene recovered some documents strewn around the area where the attack took place. They were able to identify her quite quickly and the OCS, a kind gentleman by the name of Makrahanish, placed a call to my office which was transferred to me. I have a car with a driver outside ready to take you to Sobea right away.”

The commander was looking at Woolie when she said “The hospital are giving her the best possible care and Makrahanish has assured me that they already have a huge man hunt under way. The monsters who have done this will not get very far.”

To be continued

The cost of Privacy and Betrayal

It was just over a month ago that The Daily Mirror newspaper in the UK published what it referred to as an apology to “all its victims of phone hacking”, saying that voice mails on certain people’s phones were unlawfully accessed “some years ago”.

Image from the Guardian

Image from The Guardian

The open apology continued: “It was unlawful and should never have happened and fell far below the standards our readers expect and deserve.
“We are taking this opportunity to give every victim a sincere apology for what happened.”
This was the first time that a newspaper that was not part of Rupert Murdoch’s News International had admitted to the phone hacking of voice mails, thus acknowledging what the Counsel representing claimants against Mirror newspapers had asserted: The hacking that took place at Mirror Newspapers was done on an Industrial scale; far bigger than anything that took place at the News of The World, which was closed down following hacking scandals.

There is clearly the sense of a desperate need to bring this sorry state of affairs to a swift conclusion. The Mirror Group has put aside a huge compensation fund to settle with the claimants. The media council and government continue to look into measures that can be taken to ensure that this sort of scandal does not happen again.

That is all very well. They think they have taken care of it with their multi-million pound compensation fund and their contrite words of apology. Idiots! The foolish press journalists, reporters and owners do not realise that sweet words and pound notes cannot undo the damage and the hurt that their illegal hacking of private messages caused to so many individuals.

The newspaper reports of these crimes continue to refer to the victims as ‘mostly celebrities’, almost as if this would be a justification for the gross invasion of privacy that took place.

We have now heard from the ‘celebrities’ themselves. It makes one think. Personal statements read out in court by the claimants shed light on the anguish and heartbreak that was caused by this shameless activity by the newspapers.

We have read statements from a former coach of the England team, a former footballer who has battled for years with alcohol abuse, we have heard from stars in the world of TV and Cinema. Each of their stories follows a similar pattern. They would read stuff in the newspaper which they had only shared with someone close. Stuff that they, and we, would consider private, which perhaps they had spoken about at a vulnerable moment in their lives. The effect too was the same. We would all have reacted in the same way wondering whom it was amongst the people that we cared about that was selling our private information to the papers. Suspicions, mistrust and breakdowns were inevitable.

So, how well do we as individuals guard information that we receive by virtue of our ‘privileged positions?’ Can you keep a secret? If a friend told you something interesting, something that you thought other readers would love, would you be tempted to share, sell or publish their story? Please don’t, my friend. That would be a betrayal. Just like that of those idiot reporters.

Stay well.

A state of emergency

10th Jan 2015

Dear Jaki,

Fred Msumari always told me that one should have a special someone to contact in the event of an emergency. I found some letters and also your email address amongst his things and I have nobody else to turn to.

My name is Binti Pepo. We are not personally acquainted and I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news. We travelled to Kerugoyes with Fred Msumari late last year to perform during the independence day celebrations at the invitation of the King Mwanalog II

See them fighting for Power

but they know not the Hour

On the evening of the 31st December 2014 the Royal procession was making its way back to the palace after the King’s successful Ndarabara ceremony high up in the mountains. Fred had been invited to go and watch the event. Just as they were crossing the Iron bridge, they were ambushed by masked insurgents bearing the dreaded Black Flag.

The Imperial guards were outnumbered by the attackers who were heavily armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers. At the end of the shoot out it was immediately clear that the King was dead. Imperial guardsmen lay on the ground, dead or dying . The rest of the royal party surrendered and were quickly rounded up and taken to a prison camp deep in the forest. Fred Msumari was amongst those captured. Nothing is known about their fate to date and all we can hope is that no news is good news.

deadly insurgents

A State of Emergency was declared throughout the land on the 1st of January 2015. The leader of the uprising announced an end to the monarchy. He declared himself the interim president even as insurgents stormed the Royal Palace, smashing it up and looting everything in an orgy of destruction. We were all carted off to the City Women’s prison where we are held to this day.

Dear Jaki, please circulate this email and let others know of our situation. Ask our government to intervene and demand for our immediate release. You are our only hope. Do not ignore my plea for help.

Yours in hope

Binti Pepo

************************

12th Jan 2015

Dear Binti Pepo,

Oh dear, what a mess! Who are these idiots destroying peoples’ lives? We are getting some news coming through of the dreadful things that are happening. We stand in solidarity with the struggling people of Kerugoyes.

I am so sorry to hear about your situation. You are living a nightmare. The stuff that you hear and read about but never expect to have to live through. Thank you for getting in touch with me. Have you heard anything of Fred yet?

I have done as you asked and sent emails to everyone and anyone who has a chance of helping. I spoke to an official at the Foreign affairs Office this morning. They are very sympathetic but see many obstacles ahead; our fair Republic, as you know, has not recognised this new government in Kerugoyes. In fact we strongly condemned the unconstitutional manner in which they came to power and our High Commissioner was recalled for consultations last week.

We are holding meetings with activists and other people who know more about these things in order to publicise your plight and launch a campaign demanding the immediate and unconditional release of yourself, Fred and the other prisoners. I will keep you updated on that. Please let me know the minute you hear anything about Fred.

I pray that you may be strong and keep the faith

Jaki

captured on camera – 4th and final instalment

Caught on Camera – conclusion

Babu and his party made the journey to the hotel in just under two hours. The hired minibus was spacious and comfortable. The evening traffic was light to moderate and they had only waited half an hour for the ferry crossing. Continue reading

Captured on camera 3rd instalment

Caught on Camera – continuation

The story of the Man who caned The Politician continued to make ripples. Newspapers and social media were full of jokes and commentary providing a welcome relief from the real woes of day to day living.

Meanwhile, at 10:30 am at the down town offices of Uchoyo Property Developments, Gregory Uchoyo sat at his desk. He was staring at the newspaper photograph absently adding sugar to his milky tea. His sister, Baridi sat opposite watching him, unamused.

“You take too much sugar, Greg, It’s disgusting. Nkt. And why is the tea here always so milky?” She looked around the room, her lips curled downwards. Continue reading

Captured on camera 2nd instalment

Caught on Camera – continuation

Previously we read about the strange incident of a man in shorts who was so irked by the sight of a political personality enjoying himself as he danced happily with his supporters. The irate individual had walked up to the dais and struck the politician a couple of times with his walking stick.

This important story had made news headlines across the land with most newspapers carrying in-depth accounts and publishing many quality photographs. Continue reading

Captured on camera

The introduction

You have heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is used so frequently now that we accept it as a basic truth. It is almost a statement of fact like: The world is round. My own understanding is a simple one; that a picture can tell a story far better than a whole load of descriptive text.

This post is about a picture. You may have seen this picture, read about it or even seen a video about the events of the day that the picture was taken. To avoid issues of copyright I cannot post it here but nothing says I cannot tell you what has happened since. In any event you have the picture imprinted in your mind.

You may recall how a few weeks ago a well known politician was enjoying a lovely dance with his supporters when a man in the crowd got up waving a kiboko. The disciplinarian villager whacked the leader a couple of times before security personnel could restrain him. Nobody was seriously hurt during the bizarre drama and as it happened the incident made great news as a comedy piece drawing hilarious comments on social media.

The political leader graciously forgave his cane attacker asking for all charges against him to be dropped and the matter was soon forgotten. Or was it?

The man with the cane incident was like a small pebble that is thrown into a quiet pool. Ripple waves spread out in all directions from the centre touching the lives of many people in a way that nobody would ever have imagined.

to be continued

erstwhile kindly landlady(iii)

Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. ~Robert Brault

It was all settled. I would be staying for supper. It was a situation which, when I thought about it, was most excellent; Rubina was said to be a wonderful hostess and her house was warm and comfortable on this cold and miserable evening. I felt honoured to be asked to stay and I was also a little curious to find out what the evening ahead would reveal. I made myself useful and helped with final preparations, tidying up the sitting room while Rubina laid the table. Continue reading

Erstwhile kindly landlady (ii)

It was twenty-past ten when I finally got to the office on a cold, wet morning after the night before. What a night it had been. I was still trying to get my head around what I had learned from Rubina. Babu was standing at the office reception and he did his usual annoying thing of looking at his watch when he saw me. Continue reading

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