Posts Tagged ‘mob justice’

Another story based on actual events.


“I’m glad we finally got this shopping out of the way” said Cathy.
“Yeah,” replied Millie “now we can relax for a week.”
“I really don’t like going to that Mwimuto market.”
“It’s full of idlers and shady characters.”
“They are just guys looking for work.”
“Yeah, I know, but when they don’t have work they just hang around.”
“And when you pass them you feel like everyone is just looking at you.”
“Around Christmas last year I saw two men fighting there. I don’t know what they were fighting about. Other guys were just watching and cheering.”
“Of course – free entertainment.”
“I asked the woman who was selling to me: ‘Are they not going to stop the fight?’ She laughed. ‘Stop it?’ she said. ‘This is nothing. Last month, November, people beat a guy here to death. He was caught stealing from a woman. And that wasn’t the first time someone has been killed here. This one you are seeing is a small fight.'”
“Eh!” Millie exclaimed.
“I just go there coz the food is cheap.”
They walked a few steps in silence, Cathy carrying the basket of shopping.

“Please hold this strap we carry this basket between us,” Cathy said.
Millie transferred the paper bag she was carrying to her left hand and took one strap of the basket with her right hand.
Cathy held the basket with her left hand and her phone with her right.
They walked on down the path, Millie’s paper bag brushing against various shrubs that were growing against the perimeter wall of the estate that was on their left.

The sound of the running footsteps behind them made them turn and look back. They saw a young man running towards them. They moved to one side to let the man pass.
As he passed, the man struck Cathy’s right hand. Instinctively she drew it to her chest, dropping her side of the basket. The man stopped and lunged for the phone in her hand.
“Millie! Catch!” Cathy yelled.
She tossed the phone over the mugger to Millie, who had now also dropped the basket.
The man turned towards Millie and again lunged for the phone, slamming into Millie.
Millie tossed the phone in the air as she fell.
Cathy caught the phone mid-air and threw it over the estate perimeter wall. The man paused momentarily, then, to Cathy’s surprise, went after the phone, pulling himself over the seven-foot wall.
“Thief! Thieeeef!” Cathy started yelling as Millie got up and started dusting herself off.

The mugger, in his zeal to get the phone, had not evaluated his circumstances appropriately.
Nearby guards who had heard the commotion quickly apprehended him before he could climb back out of the estate.
Pursuing the phone over the wall had apparently been a bad move for the mugger.


Cathy and Millie, again carrying the basket between them, walked to the estate gate, about 20 metres away. The man was dragged to the gate between two guards, each holding him by his belt and hitting him with their clubs repeatedly. He already had a swelling above his right eye and his teeth were blood-stained.

More people gathered, many eager for some violence.
One man slammed the mugger’s jaw with the sole of his boot leaving a partial shoe-print. Millie, being a soft-hearted person, winced.
A young man came with a stick and landed three solid strokes on the man’s back.
A lady drove up in a shiny Audi, stopped and got out of the car.
“What’s going on?” she asked no one in particular.
“This guy is a phone thief,” someone said.
She moved closer to the mugger, who was half-standing between the two guards, his head hanging.
“You are a thief, eh?” she asked him.
He did not reply.
Two resounding slaps, one on each of the mugger’s cheeks, left the crowd stunned in surprise and tears trickling down the mugger’s face.
Without another word, the lady walked back to her car and drove off.
A few people laughed.
“Someone must have robbed her.” Cathy said to Millie.
“Has anyone called the police?” one of the guards asked.
“Yes, someone went to the station” a man standing nearby replied, before punching the mugger on the nose.
Millie winced again and Cathy looked away briefly.

The guards let go of the mugger and he fell to the ground as more kicks and blows landed on him.
“He will run away!” said Cathy.
“Let him try,” said a man. “We will see who is faster.”
It seemed the mugger thought attempting to escape would only worsen his situation, and he only lay curled up on the ground, doing his best to use his arms to shield his head from blows.

“Take him to Mwimuto!” someone said.
This suggestion elicited an immediate reaction from the man on the ground.
He scrambled to his feet and aimed towards a gap in the crowd.
The man who had dared the mugger to run kicked him in the chest and sent him falling backwards. The mugger raised some dust as he landed on his back.
“You think you are clever, eh?” Mr Dare asked the fallen man, kicking him yet again, this time on his ribs.

“Forgive me please!” the mugger said. “It is hunger that drove me to steal!”
“Hunger?” said Mr Dare. “Then why did you not steal the basket of vegetables?”
A punch to the mugger’s temple.
“Why did you not ask for money?”
Another punch.

“What’s going on here?” an authoritative voice said, coming from behind Cathy and Millie.
Two armed policemen had arrived. The crowd parted for them.
“This guy was stealing a phone from these ladies.” said one of the guards.
He pulled the phone from his pocket and gave it to the policeman who had spoken.

The mugger moved and crouched at the policemen’s feet. Cathy thought of a cat rubbing against its master’s legs.
“This is your phone madam?” the policemen asked Millie.
“It’s mine” said Cathy.

“Let’s go, said the policeman.
The other policeman cuffed the mugger’s hands behind him and stood him up.
The policemen, their captive, Cathy and Millie set off towards the police station.
The rest of the crowd dispersed, except for two or three people who trailed the policemen, perhaps hoping to get another chance to beat the mugger.
Cathy and Millie again carried the basket between them.

“We took our time,” the more talkative policeman said to Cathy, “hoping you would finish the job.”
“What?” Cathy looked at him, not understanding.
“You could have taken him to Mwimuto and finished him. These things of going to the station and to court are a hassle.”


I Googled ‘lynch mob Kenya’ Images. The images in the results were quite graphic.

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Someone on Facebook said something similar to the story narrated below happened to him.
Ken joined the queue for the bus at Ambassadeur bus stop. Nowadays, there were few incidents of grab-and-run phone theft, so he pulled his smartphone out of his pocket and went to Facebook.
Ken was being entertained by the various posts and comments by his friends when an old lady approached him and said “Excuse me. Sorry to disturb you, but I have just arrived from Nakuru and I cannot see my son who was to pick me. I do not have a phone. Can we use yours to call him?”
“Sure. You have his number?”
“Yes.” She handed him a piece of paper and Ken called the number that was written on it.
No answer.
“Let me try again” he said.
Still no answer.
Ken waited a few minutes and tried yet again, with the same result. By this time, the bus had come and Ken got in.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Being careful to ensure that his phone could not be snatched from the bus window, Ken went on Facebooking. He hoped that the old lady’s son would show up and pick her.
Some men talking loudly a few rows ahead of him caught his attention.
“Someone has picked my phone from my pocket!” said one of them.
“You had it when you go in?” asked his partner.
“Then maybe it’s still in the bus. Let’s call it.”
The guy took his own phone and dialled a number.
Ken’s phone rang. He did not immediately grasp the significance of the phone ringing, but as the eyes of the passengers turned on him, he realised that he was now accused.
“This is my phone!” he said, panic setting in.
“Thief!” said the man who had said that his phone had been stolen. “You are not even smart enough to switch off the stolen phone!” He charged towards Ken.
A slap across his face made Ken painfully realise that he was in real danger.
“This is my phone” he repeated as other passengers got up and started closing in to get a piece of the action as well.
This is how people die, Ken thought. He recalled seeing pictures of lynch-mob victims.
The man who had slapped him grabbed Ken’s phone.
“Get that thief out of my vehicle” said the bus conductor. “I don’t want blood in here”
Ken wanted to pee. He wanted to do Number Two as well. He could easily get killed out there.



“Wait!” said an authoritative voice.  The man who had spoken took Ken’s phone from Ken’s accuser.
“If this is your phone,” he said to the accuser, “let us switch it off and you switch it on and put in the PIN.”
Ken felt hope rising, as his accuser and his partner both began to shuffle backwards towards the bus door, uncertainty on their faces.
“Yes! Put the PIN we see!” echoed someone from somewhere in the bus.
The accuser’s partner reached the door and got out hastily. His friend followed closely, but someone landed a kick on his back that sent him face-first to the
pavement outside the bus.

“Those are scam artists,” said Ken’s rescuer. “They ask you to call someone for them, and they get your number that way. Then they follow you and claim their phone has been stolen. They say they want to call the stolen phone and then call your number and take your phone, with others actually helping them!”
“Yes” said Ken. “An old lady asked me to call her son for her just before I got onto this bus.”

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