Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Angry mobs in Kenya

Sometimes I love Kenya, a country where an angry mob can form at any second for no other reason than it is fun to wave a ripped-off tree branch at the cops or form a roadblock from stones and burning tyres.

I was heading back from a city centre press conference this morning to catch a bus at the big stop near the GPO when I heard the unmistakable rumble of a mob voice. I couldn't really see what the commotion was about, as the usual massive crowd of wananchi had formed to stare, laugh and slap their thighs merrily. I was thinking maybe a thief, anti-government protest, possible some internally displaced demanding their rights.

Then a tow truck emerged from the crowd, pulling your typical Kenyan taxi driver white saloon car behind it. Pursuing the truck, armed with big sticks, were about 30 blokes, some of them in suits, screaming and shouting and trying to stop the towing. The cops were waving their big sticks back - fortunately none of the coppers had a gun, or there would have been shots fired. Off they went up the road, the angry mob chasing the car, the cops backing off in front of them, and the wananchi, literally hundreds of them, all pissing themselves laughing.

I don't know if they got the car back, but I was thinking it is exactly thist kind of thing I will miss when I eventually leave Kenya. I would love to see a mob of motorists chasing a traffic warden or tow truck up the street in the UK, but I don't see it happening.

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