Hello. I’m Kamal Kaur and I’m a Westgate survivor and for now that is all I’m going to talk about that tragedy. What I want to talk about is the insecurity in our country, especially in my city because that’s where I am affected directly.
Reports of crime, which almost always involve guns, seems to be the order of the day. Whether they are urban legends or not, I have no idea but I do know that after what we went through at Westgate, people can come into our turf when they choose to and do whatever they want. They proved it. Those are the terrorists that I’m talking about.
Then there are these thugs who have guns and access to motorbikes, stolen cars, police uniforms, security personnel uniforms, IDs of personnel who work in utility companies like electricity and water and goodness knows what else and turn up at your home to rob you.
The Westgate incident happened on a Saturday but the Monday earlier that week, I had two guys on a motorbike, wearing helmets, come to my gate and demand to be let in so that they could ‘finish some work that mzee had sent them to do’. I didn’t open the gate but spoke from the little space between the gate and the wall. When asked which mzee had sent them, they pulled out a gun. Yes. They pulled out a damn gun at me and in shock, I ran off. It was my first instinct. I ran to the outdoor security panic button and pressed it and in the interim they had gone off on the motorbike. This was at about 3pm. This is how daring thugs are.
The security company did come on time and even though they couldn’t do much at that time, they hung around to ensure everything was OK. With them came a uniformed policeman who took our gardener aside and asked him for his mobile phone number. I overheard this and asked him why he needed to ask for the gardener’s number. He looked shocked that I spoke in such a loud voice and I kept insisting to know why he needed our gardener’s number. Is there a law for this kind of thing?
I live quite near a police station and when I suggested we go there he brushed me aside and walked off. I complained about this but what could the private security company do when a guy with a gun in a uniform sits with them and calls himself a lawmaker behaves like that? He may not have broken a law but I felt violated. Why did he need the number? I’m not an isolated case. My friend’s sister was shot at around 1pm on a busy road in Parklands. What was that all about? Unprovoked! And then to top it all, al Shabaab turns up. We are so busy minding other peoples’ business that we have forgotten to look after our own turf first.
My eight-year-old son’s advice to the President and the Minister for Security is stop worrying about what Somalia is doing. Stay at the border and guard our country from there instead of going to their country to fight them. If a stranger came into our home and started attacking us, we retaliate by attacking back and calling security, right?
Simplistic views of an eight-year-old but I agree with him. Biased or not, he made sense to me. Let’s look after our own home before we go out sorting other peoples’ manenos. Fifty years on and we are still being ridiculed by the world when our own lawmakers can be so corrupt and turn against us to loot us.
I am angry and I feel very violated. If you have ever been robbed or have had a gun pointed at you or even shot at, I’m sure you will know what I mean. This is not the first time I’ve had a gun shoved into my face. I’m all for community policing and agree with the directive that these thugs should be shot on sight. They lost their human rights when they decided they could start taking lives to loot.