It was not decent for the owner of this decrepit bus to purport to ply Thika road offering passenger service transport. For the vehicle that had just stopped at the bus stage to pick passengers was one of those run down PSV that you occasionally see on the city roads. I was with a couple of commuters at the stage who had been waiting for close to twenty minutes for bus going to the central business district. I could not wait any longer and so my predicament forced the decision. I boarded the PSV against my wishes, paid my fare and expected to be in town with as little delay as possible. But in the twinkle of an eye, I realized that my hopes will be disappointed because a majority of people were voting with feet by refusing to board the PSV. As a result it kept moving and stopping at every stage to pick more customers ,the crew undeterred by their unenviable situation.
We were now screeching to halt at the following bus stage, when I saw from my side-window a lean tall man dressed like a hireling at construction site. What followed happened within blink of an eye. There was a scuffle as the man seized the conductor and declared in loud voice he had arrested him. Taken by ambush the conductor tried to wriggle free from his grip but the man was obviously stronger than him. The driver noticing the commotion alighted and came around. Fuming, he demanded to know what was going on.
“I have arrested him”, replied the man.
The driver looked at him to take stock of the man and asked,
“And who are to arrest him?”
“I ‘m a policeman based Kasarani police line”.
We were all taken aback. The two Matatu crew looked at the man and then each other and perceived the half-drunk fellow was an impostor out to bilked them of their money.
“You are not arresting anyone and I am not giving you any money” the driver defiantly told him.
Upon which the man said if the Matatu crew had the face openly defy him, he would take them to the police station.
“Rather!” retorted the driver, thinking the guy was would never dare step in police station. If he did, he would be handcuffed and thrown behind bar for racketeering.
We drove toward Kasarani police station, but when we just about to take the exit from the highway, we bumped into a traffic policeman in clean full uniform and shining boots. The matter was brought to his knowledge.
The man responded saying he was arresting the conductor for hanging on a moving vehicle. And added “I am a police officer’.
The look on police man’s face confirmed to us that man was indeed a policeman and they somehow knew each other.
In civilian clothes and off duty, the policeman asked the man what injury he had suffered at the hands of the bus conductor to make him to declare that he was a police officer. The man tried to lie but the restive passengers rallied behind the crew and rebuked him.
Sensing the situation could get out of hand the traffic policeman , explained in a calm voice that the man was his colleague and that he was on Islamic Idil Fittir fasting and that somehow this was pushing him on the edge. Thanks to the decent police officer, he pulled the man aside for a few words and let us go on with our journey!
What? Oh yes there are decent police officers in Kenya! However that does not mean there are no crooked officers in the police service like the cheat in this incident. Here was policeman, going through perhaps some rough patches in his life. But instead of being reasonable and fair, he was exporting his frustration to the innocent bus crew who had nothing to do with his domestic problems. It is said hurting people cause pain to others. But that is like an advertisement stunt for product that is worthless. Causing pain to others because you are hurting solves nothing, in fact it simply multiplies meaningless suffering.
So decency mean letting reason put limit to what you can or cannot do. If you compete with your opponents, expect two things only: victory or defeat. And it will be decent of you to accept defeat with fortitude just as we expect you to claim your victory with humility. It also means when you are stressed out, don’t spread that emotional stress to innocent people going about their daily chores and some with even greater cares than your own. If you are down, be patient and work your way out. Please sow some seeds of random act of kindness by not spreading the misery you have to others. All the hard knocks in life should purify and smooth the rough edges of your character. This only possible if you hang in there, ignoring all irrational impulses and forging ahead with hope.