The law can back you depending on who sits in State House

Friday October 23 2020
riot cops

Anti-riot police officers fire teargas to disperse youths at the Kebiringo grounds in Nyamira County on October 8, 2020, where Deputy President William Ruto was scheduled to hold a meeting. PHOTO | CHARLES KIMANI | NMG


Recently I was in a taxi and the driver was driving fast. Zooming through Nairobi traffic as if his steering wheel was equipment for a Nintendo game. Just when we were about to get to my destination, he missed a turn, driving fast past the left turn he was to take.

Halfway through, he decided to reverse in the middle of a major road. It was so interesting because there was a police vehicle right behind us. I had noticed it a few blocks before.

I really thought that he would not try to make that move because of the police, since we try to behave decently in the presence of authority. Or because the police would hoot as he was reversing right into them. Or pull him over for making a traffic violation, but nothing happened.

He reversed the vehicle and forced a turn that should have been a three-point turn, into one big swerve, pushing a small car over the huge curb onto the right road. And on we went on our merry way.

That’s the tragic thing about the law and how it is implemented. There are moments that we apply the law and everyone does. Then there are moments when the law is broken depending on the situation. Like when we had the Covid-19 lockdown and we couldn’t travel from some counties unless you were offering essential services, but some people were able to pass through the roadblocks.

Now, with the political temperatures rising some political factions are not being permitted to gather while others have the freedom to. They can meet with women groups one day, and football teams the next. Though not practicing social distance or wearing face masks their meetings are considered safe.


While others are teargassed even before gathering begins, and the meetings are cancelled by police as they are said to be illegal.

The way we treat the law is like a lukewarm Christian. When one is cold, it’s easy to know because they don’t believe in Christianity. Or even when one is hot, there are certain matters, for instance, that you are fully aware they will not engage in and what their stance is. But a lukewarm individual is one who just flips from side to side, and for reasons always changing. And that is how we treat the law. Which also means, that not only are we not equal, the bar is constantly changing.

One day the law could be on the side of favour and with a turn of events putting you on the other side.

And our politics has shown us a great example, that in the end it depends on who is in State House and whether you are in their good books or not.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive Director, Siasa Place @NerimaW