We had a slightly fraught evening yesterday when it was brought to our attention that somebody has been stealing. The lady who works in our house lost her salary from her locked room in the staff quarters. (She doesn't sleep there but has a private room for her rest times etc).
My first reaction was to ask, 'why was the money there?'
'I take what I need home, then keep the balance in my room here for safekeeping.'
The perpetrator had apparently been able to enter the padlocked room and then leave, locking the door behind him without anyone noticing. To be honest, though the door was locked, it would not have taken a rocket scientist to undo the screws around the bolt, then screw them back in again.
Blame was placed squarely at our night watchman's door. The gardener complained that many of his belongings that he'd left safe in his room when he left work in the evening, had also gone missing, bits of food, a new hat, 100 shillings bus fare. And I learned yesterday that this has been going on for about a year.
It was sad on a few counts. Sad that the lady that works in our house does not have a bank account - I feel slightly responsible about that - and that she feels that the safest place in the world for her to leave her cash is here, except it's not safe. More importantly, we like the night watchman. I don't like to think of him skulking about in other people's rooms at night like a fox. Having said that, it might be relevant that he hasn't asked us for a loan for school fees for quite some time.
'He'll have to be redeployed' I said to my husband.
Fortunately the night watchman is employed by an outside firm.
'What about the police?' he asked. 'What about trying to get the money back off him?'
'We don't have evidence. Don't say anything to the security firm, we don't want to get him in trouble.'
My prediction is that police involvement would result in overly harsh treatment of a hungry man who is pushing his luck.
'Please, please, please can we stop having night watchmen now?' I asked. 'It's too heartbreaking.'
'No.' was the response.
The replacement guy turned up.
'What tribe are you?' Our older housekeeper lady asked immediately.
I gently told her off but she shrugged.
'We always ask each other's tribe.' she said. 'It's fine.'
It seems things will never change.
Our very much ex-ex-ex nightwatchman who lives in Kibera, sent me a surprise sms a week or two ago.
'Good evening.i applied for US green card 2008.I've been lucky to win a permanent resident card in US!'
I must admit, I felt excited for him too - though unsure. I know about the green card lottery but am not sure how it works. A green card is one thing but presumably cash is needed to get over to the USA - and setting up a new life would be costly, plus, what about dependants?
Business managers we know complain that they often lose good, trained and qualified people to the green card lottery. It wasn't the first time I'd heard about a case like this.
The next text said;
'we r excited!yes I wish 2 go family, but then i want to find out requirements. i don't know where to start! send me your email address, I send, u read and advice us.'
But the next evening came the final message,
'i was at US embassy, gigiri. i went to verify docs i was sent. its FRAUD! US embassy has discovered & have list of Nigerians and r being tracked. it was a FAKE letter.'
Poor thing, I think he was gutted.
When a Nation Media news SMS came in via text message last night, stating that the ICC would definitely summon the 6 public figures perceived to be most guilty of masterminding post election violence to their courts - I was delighted. The announcement came earlier than expected and reading between the lines of the newspaper, caught everyone off guard. Kalonzo Musyoka has been busy with his shuttle diplomacy mission for months now, trying to wriggle out of Kenya being under the Hague's jurisdiction. Has he been pipped to the post? Last night I immediately had mental images of frantic phone calls exchanged between various politicians wringing their hands. Drama.
The 6 (see previous post) are due to appear at the ICC courts on the 7th April. Things are moving fast. If they fail to pitch, a warrant will be out for their arrest (not that that has made much impact on other wanted political personalities, I'm thinking Bashir?). Kenyan Civil society today called for the resignation of named MPs, there's rumour circulating that petitions by Kenyans supporting the ICC process now, collectively have over 800,000 signatures. But the corruption problem is so endemic that politicians still seem convinced that they are immune from justice forever. Or are they?
Combined with Wikileaks revelations hitting the paper most days, it makes for exciting times. In my opinion the ICC summonses are great news.