Perhaps you have heard about a teacher in Central Kenya who was recently arrested and charged with four counts of ‘misuse of a phone’? Yes, that gadget that we are all attached to can land you in jail for what to me seems like trumped up charges.
So a male journalist was visiting an area for a story. He handed out his number to a bunch of people in the process and one of the guys who happened to be a teacher, sent him a text. The texts soon turned flirty and the journalist was so uncomfortable or threatened that he called the cops because that is what men do apparently when they are approached flirtatiously by other men. The police and this journalist then agreed to set up a date via text and when the teacher turned up, he was arrested and charged with misuse of a phone.
Now the cops cannot charge this man with homosexuality because they did not catch him in a homosexual act but they can charge him with misuse of a phone, tell his family and his bosses that he is gay, and in the process cost him very important relationships and his career. I should mention that the guy in question is 22.
Like you I am now wondering what misuse of a phone is. I am also wondering why the rapist who recorded and shared the ‘Mollis!’ audio was not arrested and charged. Also, is hitting on people a crime these days? If I said I want to rob a bank via text, is that enough for an arrest? Is the conspiracy on phone alone or the intention enough for an arrest? Can they prove I was not joking? What about the fact that the journalist and cops in this case are guilty of entrapment? Aren’t they also guilty of misuse of a phone?
I think this case is inherently discriminatory and that things only played out this way because it involves an alleged homosexual. If the journalist had been female, things would have gone very differently.
A woman walks into a police station, phone in hand and shows some flirtatious and maybe even racy texts to the cops and says help, I am being harassed! Please, I can just see the laughter and shaking jowls as the cop tried to contain himself. Can you imagine the questions they would ask? I’d like to think the cops questioned the male journalist, but I simply cannot see them getting involved in a set-up to arrest a man for sending what he thought were flirtatious texts to a woman.
As far as we know, this allegedly gay kid did not threaten the journalist – in fact he was led to believe his advances were welcome. Now life as he knew it has changed and his chosen profession is probably over. And yet all over the country there are male teachers who prey on young girls, go as far as getting them pregnant, and all they get is a transfer to another school.
Why don’t we focus on real criminals? Aren’t our prisons full?