10 types of Kenyan police officers

Police car patrolling and using tear-gass to disperse Kenyans on Saba Saba Day, 7 July, 2021.  [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Waswahili say baniani mbaya, kiatu chake dawa. And so it is that while police officers are among the most scorned and dreaded professionals in Kenya, this undisciplined country would degenerate into anarchy and chaos if the men and women in blue laid down arms for a mere 24 hours. Here are ten types of cops you are likely to meet.

  1. The good cop

Solid as a brick, competent, intelligent and straight as an arrow, this is a jolly good fellow. Professional to the hilt, he or she knows the law, doesn’t cut corners, often goes beyond the call of duty and is brave, respectful, a good listener, humane and understanding. You never ever forget their professionalism and kindness – even when they get you fined or jailed.

  1. The criminal

A uniformed bandit who is armed and dangerous, he (they are mostly men) is on first name terms with drug peddlers, robbers, wash-wash operators and all manner of scammers. He gets a cut from everything they steal, hires his gun out to thugs and can be a hit man for hire. Lives beyond his means, loves booze and women and is likely to get murdered by his partners in crime.

  1. The seed dispersal operator

He has children within the vicinity of every police station he has served. The bugger has banged barmaids, school children and people’s wives, including those of his colleagues, seniors and juniors. If it is in a skirt, officer will hit it. He is likely to be bewitched, shot dead or strangled by kaswende and its relatives. His female version takes the Service motto ‘utumishi kwa wote’ to heart, spreading carnal knowledge within the station like a wild fire.

  1. The pervert

Preys on underage girls (or boys) and poor women in distress, including rape victims who come to him for help. If Satan had a human face, he is it.

  1. The Holy Joe

Pious to a fault, they are evangelists or gospel singers who preach the word at every opportunity. Don’t however be cheated: They will dispatch you to hell if they catch you in an armed robbery and you refuse to surrender.

  1. The celeb wannabe

Huge on social media, with a big fan base on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok. They are likely to be good looking singers or wannabe models with a keen sense of fashion. Their dream is to get the hell out of the Force.

  1. The bully

Dreadful fellows, and often not too bright, they get a kick out of pushing their weight around and harassing wananchi. They are poor listeners with anger management issues who hate their job and are inclined to get into shouting matches. Vicious and violent, they get into trouble when they harass or shoot someone who happens to know a big man. Occasionally, they get clobbered by angry motorists and matatu touts.

  1. The psycho

Most officers will hesitate to use force unless they must. Not this one. He will be the one castrating suspects in police cells, dunking their heads in barrels of water or opening fire in pubs because some drunk has winked at his favourite barmaid. Chances of him murdering colleagues, seniors or civilians are high. Mostly ends up in jail – or dead.

  1. The bribe addict

A businessperson not remotely interested in law enforcement, the uniform is a means to line his or her pockets. They will help you get away with murder – if the price is right. Sly and well connected, they get the most lucrative postings and climb up the ladder really fast while the good cop is mark-timing on the beat. Loaded like a gun.

  1. The faceless cop

Barely scrapped through the course in Kiganjo, cannot shoot an elephant if they were sitting on it, investigate the contents of their hind pockets or stop a kindergarten riot. Could be alcoholic. In sum, they are just there, and ‘Major’ obliges by assigning them the most nondescript of tasks – until they hit retirement age. 


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