Not So Humble Pie: An Egg In Face Moment.
That Kenyans find it hard to trust the police is no news to anyone young or old, and that they are nursing a rather sketch reputation is a well known fact but in the last 11 days or so this already ailing rep was further injured when Joshua Waiganjo’s jig as an imposter in the Police force was up.
Waiganjo leapt from obscurity to nationwide ‘fame’ when he was arrested in Naivasha on December 31st after he abused his ‘power’ at a night club threatening to arrest the bouncers and patron after they demanded his payment at the gate. To keep the situation from getting out of hand the real cops were called in. The genuine officers’ suspicions were aroused by the hand cuffs Waiganjo had on him.
His arrest brought to light what seemed at first to many like a cruel but worrying joke as it was discovered that he had climbed the rungs of the hierarchy to the assistant commissioner of police and thus exposing a weakness in the internal workings of the forces charged with our protection and making a mockery out of the uniform he falsely wore for close to a decade.Waiganjo whose alias was John Mwangi Maina attended high level meetings and functions and impersonating a senior administration police officer with the office of the president. The fake was once a police reservist:
The Kenya Police Reserve: A reservist has no official standing and was initially set up to assist the Kenya Police in maintaining law and order in 1948 and now only exists in rural areas.He has also been accused of impersonating the anti stock theft commandant on more than one occasion and acted as the Rift Valley Deputy Police boss. Waiganjo is also said to have dismissed 10 officers.
As if this were not enough of an egging in the face Waiganjo’s family added salt to the police forces fresh wounds by doing what any loving family members would do when faced with such allegations; take to the media in defence of their own His father Ibrahim points a firm and accusing finger at the police saying to all that will listen that his son’s activities were known by the police services administration. He went on to point an accusatory finger at the top most cop; the now retired Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere for his sons promotion. His family insists that Waiganjo was well known to the Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer and that the two were close friends; so much so that the PPO attended family functions with the now beleaguered Waiganjo.
This ushered in a torrent of denials from the higher echelons of the police force .With everyone distancing themselves from the splatter of egg in the face of vigilance house. None more so than Mathew Iteere who vehemently denying ever knowing the imposter. Saying that doesn’t ‘Know the said Waiganjo and have never met him in my entire life.’The police force then proceeded to eat a healthy slice of not so humble pie by choosing a more unconventional route to apology and veered off the beaten track when they chose to accuse the usual suspect: The 4th estate. Comparing themselves rather comically and in bad taste to a their naked mother who they say if found in such a state should not be tossed out into the cold night air but be cover with a blanket- so does this mean we as a nation are supposed to look away and cover your shame with said blanket?
A probe was swiftly ordered by the president to unearth the bogus police man’s true identity. The probe will delve into questions such as: are there more fake police men out there, if Waiganjo was on an official payroll, if he was given a government vehicle and establish what links if any he has with other senior police men. The results of which are expected on the 17th.
Waiganjo was charged yesterday with 12 counts including 4 of robbery with violence, being in possession of police uniforms, sporting full police uniform without written authority and impersonating an Anti-stock theft police officer. His day must have ended in all smiles however as he was released on a 4 Million shilling bond by Senior Principle Magistrate Esther Boke.
This admitted goof by the police not only raises numerous questions about the man but also serves to increase fears and anxiety about our safety or lack thereof. It has also served to show how potentially easy it is to impersonate an officer as was further proven when a former form 3 student was charged with impersonating an OCPD to obtain 90,000 shillings from MP’s via call and text to settle a hospital bill. The boy admitted to obtaining the money from two MP’s and sending a third an abusive text message when he refused to pay.
The ball is now firmly and squarely in the newly minted Inspector General David Kimaiyo's court; hopefully he can, solve the Waiganjo mystery while avoiding any more egg in face incidents of his own all while finally delivering on the way overdue security promise. After the dust settles on this embarrassment the hardest tasks by far for the inspector will be restoring the police force to anything resembling its long gone former glory and earning back the trust of a disgruntled and sceptical nation.