One fascinating thing about life in the village is that everyone is law unto themselves. Totally. The constitution is a term they have heard about occasionally, but have absolutely no idea what it is about. Though once in a while, they let the law poke its nose into their businesses, halfheartedly just for a show. They don’t like disturbing the area chief, he is left to handle more serious issues like why you were not watching your cow when it wandered into the neighbor’s farm and ate his maize plants.
The police to them is like the second kidney, sometimes, not sometimes, most of the time they question whether they really need them. This is not to say that there are chaos all over. There is sanity, in fact more sanity than you will find anywhere else, just without the laid down government ‘orders’. They just don’t understand why someone who doesn’t know how they live should tell them how to live.
A son will violently rob his mother of the money his brother from overseas sent for renovations, but the moment police launch an investigation into the incident, the mom slipped and fell and that’s how she broke her arm. The next week the son will commit another robbery with violence, and the mom will say the victim the gang had left for the dead had manhandled her under the influence and he (the son) had only slapped the victim for roughing up his mom. Dear Kidero, yours are pats on the cheeks. Real slaps land people in hospital for two weeks.
If you stay next to a drinking den, your crawling 18-month old baby will occasionally be given sips of the liquor and no one will see anything wrong with it unless you call the police on them. Then you become the enemy. Did I mention that your kid will sip the alcohol from the same glass as those foul-smelling, rotten tooth, miraa-chewing degenerates?
A bodaboda guy impregnated your class 8 daughter? Just whip him into unconsciousness, because he will boldly ask at the police station whether he raped her. They don’t see the illegality in having sex with a minor. Some small-time thug broke into your shop at night? Summon them during the day, and tell them to their face that you know they robbed you, and that ‘they will see’. Even if they die sixty years later, it will be said it’s because they robbed you, and no thief will ever rob you again. Because the few times that the law comes in to take its course, the suspects will sometimes even arrive back in the village from the station before you do.
If you are a village crook and have ever gotten locked up for more than three days, you will get life sentence, on the lower, if you go somewhere else where law is the order of the day. Trust me!
Some time early August, a village by the lakeside county of county woke up to the news that one Quinter Atieno had been murdered and dumped at their gate. Another mysterious murder, another cry for justice for the helpless. The man alleged to have murdered Quinter was arrested on the day the body was found. I’m told he is still locked up. It is claimed that he killed her because she had asked for FIVE HUNDRED KENYA SHILLINGS for her (their) son’s medical bill. That makes sense, if you’ve watched too many naija movies.
It is said that the suspect is a married man with children. It is rumored that Quinter had been sending abusive texts to the wife, demanding that she should be providing upkeep money so that her (Quinter’s) two kids could also enjoy the same comfort as the wife’s children. They were from the same father after all, that seemed her logic. Which brings another suspect into the picture, if you watch too much of Hawai Five-O and other crime investigative films.
But the bodaboda guy who is rumored to have carried the dead body and dumped it where it was found still goes about his business as usual. If you ask him about the allegations, he says his work is to transport and he transports as long as he is getting paid for the transportation. Basically, he neither confirms nor denies the allegations. But he is still free, and no one is treating him as an accomplice in a murder case. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable riding on a motorcycle that was used to ferry a dead body for dumping.