I do remember back in 2002 -2003 walking in town especially on Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya Street was very harzadous especially for a male Kenyan youth. In those days the Central Police Station black maria would be on hand to sweep you off your feet and freedom only came at a price commonly referred to as “Chai.” I was fortunate to escape one or twice but i had friends who were not so lucky, who intimated it was better to have an encounter with thugs, since after you gave them what you had, they would leave you alone.
Fast forward to 2005, in my first job as i used to go visit a girl i liked in Ngumo. Due to the pressures of work and a not to healthy bank account the dates were always in the evening until about 10 pm when i would leave to catch a matatu to my Eastlands abode. The matatu would drop me at Kencom and i would have to cross between National Archives and Ambassedour to catch my matatu home. By then town was a different story, one where cops on patrol were there to provide security and prevent crime. I recall many a days having a cup of tea as the matatu was waiting for passengers in downtown Nairobi.
I do credit that to major General Ali who made Nairobi quite safe especially at night. In the run up to his replacement when everyone was baying for his head not even one person looked at the achievements he has had at the police force which are worth noting. Even civil society groups lead by Kenya Human Rights Commission could only talk about the bad thing, with one report after the other castigating the police. But for groups that are mean’t to be impartial they were rather silent when police were murdered in the hands of Mungiki.
As post election violence abated Major General Ali’s boys were there to help quel the violence as much as they are accused of excessive force. The buck unfortunately in this goes higher up to the different forces at the top who were instigating the violence, well known politicians. As a resident of Nairobi, Major General Ali has made the police force a better force than it was before and by and large has made Nairobi a safer city than it was before.
so to the nay sayers i say give credit where its due…i salute Major General Ali who didnt say much but got the job done.